After five successful years in Turin, Massimiliano Allegri has called time on his tenure at Juventus. The Italian won the Serie A in each of his five seasons at the club. He also won a host of domestic cups. The Champions League proved to be the major hurdle for him, as he reached the final twice, only to come up short against Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, and it seemed as though the tide was turning in Europe. Ronaldo was coming off a string of Champions League trophies in Madrid. The Portuguese got off to a flying start in Turin, but Juve fell apart in the Champions League. Allegri made his departure official in a press conference recently, and he got emotional. The Italian will not take a sabbatical and wants to start coaching come next July.
It was a joint decision, and Juventus have their eye already on the replacement. Their designs are not public, and speculation is rife about who will succeed Allegri. Here are five managers who can start next season in his place.
5. Antonio Conte
Before Allegri’s departure, Conte was rumoured to be close to joining Inter. A return to Italy was likely for him, and Milan looked to be the destination. But the recent developments in Turin could change that.
Conte is a revered figure there after his highly successful time at Juve. He played there for more than a decade and was captain there as well. But he is arguably better known for his managerial achievements at the Old Lady. In his four seasons at the club, Conte won the Serie A in all of them. His Juve side was by far the best in Italy at the moment and started a domestic monopoly which Allegri continued.
Conte managed Chelsea after Juve but has been out of work since last season. His relationship with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli turned sour in 2014 when he departed. But the likes of Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici are on his side, so that could pave a way in. It will be interesting to see how he uses his preferred 3-5-2 with this Juve side, or if he will adjust to the 4-3-3.
4. Eusebio Di Francesco
Di Francesco impressed in his time at Roma, but he was fired this year after their Champions League exit in the Round of 16. He was not entirely to blame, as Mochi and team president James Pallotta were guilty of poor management. They have let vital players go in recent transfer windows without acquiring proper replacements.
A high-octane attacking style is his philosophy, and we saw that in the Champions League last season. More often than not, he has managed to balance his side on both ends. He managed Sassuolo before Roma and guided a promoted side to mid-table security. Di Francesco has never had great resources at his disposal, which is something he would get at Juve.
3. Simone Inzaghi
Inzaghi is one of the bookmakers’ favourite to take over from Allegri, and it is easy to see why. He has been with Lazio since 2016, and he has impressed in the Italian capital. Just last week Inzaghi led his side to a Coppa Italia triumph. Despite the joyous occasion, Inzaghi expressed dissatisfaction about his treatment.
He also has the attacking philosophy Juve fans would like to see. It is less likely that Lazio would allow him to leave. But if Inzaghi makes his mind up, they will find it hard to keep him in Rome. He has played with Pavel Nedved before, and he is a childhood friend of Juve director Fabio Paratici. These connections could smooth the path if he decides to leave Lazio.
2. Jose Mourinho
Since leaving Manchester United in December, Mourinho has been out of work. He has worked as a pundit in that time, entirely abstaining himself from any probable rumours. The Portuguese has coached in Italy previously when he was at Inter. He delivered a treble in 2010, and Juventus will love to get their hand on that elusive Champions League trophy.
Mourinho has been a serial winner throughout, though recent years have dented his reputation somewhat. A subpar tenure at Old Trafford followed his disastrous last season at Chelsea. But his previous success trumps these bumps, and he is one of the best managers available for the job. If he gets the job, how his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo pans out will be intriguing to see.
1. Mauricio Pochettino
Pochettino is on the top of the world right now. Despite no spending whatsoever in the summer, he has led Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League final. Even if Liverpool beat them there, his achievement can’t be understated. Spurs’ new stadium has meant that Pochettino has had less budget, but that could be the turning point for him.
He has voiced his frustrations on that numerous times, and he needs Daniel Levy to sanction new players. If Pochettino gets no guarantees, he could leave London in the summer for greener pastures.
“What I think is I’m not open to start a new chapter with no plan or a clear idea,” said Pochettino recently. If that situation persists with Spurs, they could lose their key players, and even worse, their manager.