Both Antonio Conte and Gian Piero Gasperini are rumoured to be on Juventus‘ agenda to potentially replace Max Allegri next season and Lorenzo Bettoni reflects on who would be a better fit for the Old Lady.
Far are the days when Allegri seemed to turn everything he touched into gold as Juventus are experiencing another tough start to the season with just two wins in nine games across all competitions.
The blame is also (but not solely) on the Tuscan tactician under who the Bianconeri completed their first trophyless campaign in 11 years in 2021-22. Max had won 11 trophies in his previous five-year spell in Turin.
Juventus have decided against firing their coach, but Italian media are filled with rumours about Allegri’s long-term and short-term potential successors.
The 12 games remaining before the World Cup break will be crucial to learn his future as Juventus could change their stance on the coach if they are eliminated from the Champions League and find themselves too far from the top of the table in November. There were even more speculations this week as ex-Juventus star Claudio Marchisio wondered whether the Bianconeri are waiting for the long-winter break to sack their boss.
All Italian media see Paolo Montero, currently in charge of Juventus’ U19 team, as a potential short-term replacement for Allegri, if the club and the Italian tactician part company before the end of the season. Under this scenario, the Bianconeri would need a new coach for 2022-23 to begin a new chapter.
Early rumours see Conte and Gasperini as potential candidates for Allegri’s throne. Conte’s contract with Tottenham runs out in the summer and reports in Italy suggest the Italian tactician is in no rush to discuss an agreement with his club.
The 53-year-old seems pleased with Tottenham’s transfers and is aware that Spurs would offer him a more substantial transfer budget over the years than Juventus, who are eager to cut costs and are expected to announce a €250m loss for 2021-22.
The former midfielder is a Juventus legend and although his rapport with the club is described as ‘excellent’ there are still issues with president Andrea Agnelli who already vetoed his return in 2019.
Conte is a familiar face in Turin, but it remains to be seen how fans would welcome him after his two-year spell at Inter during which he always played in Turin behind closed doors. Every club hiring him knows that his impact is immediate, but there are no guarantees over his long-term stay at the club. Conte is very demanding in terms of transfers but wants to see the same ambition and determination he has in the club and his group of players.
Juventus know his methods well having won their first Serie A title in the post-Calciopoli era under their ex-star. He went on to win three in a row before leaving one day into the 2014-15 pre-season, beginning his tense relationship with Agnelli. He is a winning coach, one of the best in the world at the moment and his appointment would bring stability at the Allianz Stadium short-term. However, long-term, the club may face the same troubles as in the past, including Conte’s struggles in European games.
Gasperini is also a familiar face in Turin. Not only was he born and raised in Grugliasco, just a few kilometres away from Piedmont’s capital, but he is also a former Juventus player and youth coach.
He was not as successful as Conte while playing for Juventus as he came through the club’s academy, but never made his senior debut. However, he spent almost ten years in the club’s youth sector preparing for the beginning of his professional coaching career in 2003 with Crotone.
His Atalanta side has been one of Serie A’s most entertaining teams lately although they failed to qualify for a European competition for the first time in five years in 2021-22.
Gasperini’s attacking-minded style and counter-pressing have made La Dea one of the best teams in Italy and it’s no coincidence that they are the current table leaders with Napoli, the only two unbeaten clubs in Italy in the first seven games.
There are two main concerns about Gasperini: the first one is that he dramatically flopped in his only season as a coach of a top club. He joined Inter in 2010 after another impressive spell at Genoa, but he was sacked after just five games where he collected one draw and four defeats. This is not the same Gasperini. He has evolved as a coach, to some extent, even more than Conte.
This Atalanta side is been perhaps less spectacular, but way more solid having conceded just three goals so far, never in away games. Gasperini himself has a different status after gaining consistent results in Italy and Europe over the years.
The second matter of concern has perhaps more to do with Juventus than Gasp. The coach would bring a new mentality and new methods at Juventus, something that the club has already experienced with Maurizio Sarri in the past.
There were many reasons why Sarri only lasted one season at Juve, one is that veterans including Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci (now the captain at the Allianz Stadium) never really accepted his tactics pushing to sit deeper and have a more balanced approach to games.
Sarri and Gasperini have different personalities and tactical ideas, but Gasperini would bring something different to what Juventus players have been accustomed to so far, which would force them to change their attitude and be more open to new ideas.
It has to be noted that Gasperini would work with a younger group of players, so more prone to accepting different views, and way fewer veterans now that Gigi Buffon, Chiellini and Cristiano Ronaldo have all left the club.
All in all, it doesn’t sound like Conte would be a Minestra riscaldata – a heated soup – as we Italians describe players and coaches unsuccessfully returning to their ex-clubs. Most likely, the Tottenham boss would bring results in Turin short-term, but the long-term stability is uncertain. Gasperini on the other hand should have been accepted by the club and the players knowing that his project could take some time to take shape.
For now, those are just ideas and Max Allegri has the task of turning things around at Juventus knowing that more poor results before the World Cup or another trophyless season in charge of the team with the highest wage bill in Serie A would mean the end of his second spell in Turin.