Serie A

Juventus: Pochettino, Deschamps and Inzaghi lead candidates

Juventus: Pochettino, Deschamps and Inzaghi lead candidates

MARCO BERTORELLO

AFP

The decision to part ways was mutual, with the Italian wanting a squad overhaul. Andrea Agnelli is looking at replacements but none will be an easy target.

After five seasons at Juventus, five Scudetti, four Coppas Italia and two Champions League finals, Massimiliano Allegri has decided to part company with the Old Lady.

The decision is believed to have been reached by mutual consent following a series of meetings between the manager, Juve president Andrea Agnelli and club directors Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici, with the end result being Allegri’s departure from Turin a year earlier than the length of his contract.

Allegri had considered a change of scenery last summer after Champions final League disappointment a year earlier and agonizing defeat at the hands of the same tormentor, Real Madrid, in the quarter-finals of the 2017-18 season, but the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo naturally changed the panorama somewhat.

The addition of the five-times European champion, whose pre-eminence in the competition added to Juventus’ vastly experienced squad was intended to tip the balance towards Turin this season, gave Allegri the chance to finally claim the one major club honour to elude him but defeat at the hands of Ajax ended Juve’s hopes. Despite another domestic title, defeat to Atalanta in the Coppa and the Champions League exit led to Allegri being questioned by a fan base that despite his incredible successes he has never entirely managed to win over.

As the dust settled on Juve’s season, the manager was of the opinion that a squad overhaul was required while the board felt that a chance of tack in tactics and approach was the right course of action after considerable investment in recent seasons.

As such, Juve will now have to scour Europe for a suitable replacement, a task that is fraught with some difficulty.

Zidane, Guardiola, Deschamps... all out of Juve's reach

The dream appointment of the Juve board, the fans and quite possibly Ronaldo himself is Zinedine Zidane, but the former midfielder recently rejoined Real Madrid after leaving last summer, a decision the Frenchman may now be coming to regret.

Pep Guardiola has ruled out a move to Serie A and as the Spaniard stands on the cusp of an historic domestic treble he has little need to leave Manchester City, where he enjoys the full backing of the club.

That leaves Mauricio Pochettino as the likeliest number one name on Juve’s shortlist, but as Real Madrid found when they were weighing up a move for the Argentinean, dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is an unenviable task. Pochettino has worked wonders at Spurs on a shoestring and has taken his side to the Champions League final and a top-four Premier League finish without making a single signing in 2018-19. Even for a club of Juve’s means, that is some calling card.

Another former Juve player, Didier Deschamps, is also seen as a possible replacement but his single season as manager at the club in 2006-07 did not work out very well, the Frenchman lasting just the one campaign amid reports of frequent clashes with the club hierarchy, although he did get the club back into Serie A after their demotion to Serie B for their part in the Calciopoli scandal. In any case, Deschamps is currently manager of World Cup winners France and in a good position to complete the double again at the European Championship next summer.

Other names in the hat are Simeone Inzaghi of Lazio or Sinisa Mihajlovic of Bologna, but they are perhaps not quite of the proven calibre Juventus seek to replace a coach who has essentially been a guarantee of domestic dominance for half a decade.

Antonio Conte can be considered a wildcard, despite his previous success at Juve. The former Italy and Chelsea coach was Bianconeri coach between 2011 and 2014 and landed consecutive domestic doubles in his first two seasons. However, he rarely saw eye to eye with Agnelli, leading to his 2014 departure to coach Italy.