There may have been strong interest from the Premier League, but all comments made this weekend by Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri point to the fact he will remain in Turin for another season. It is no surprise that the coach is so highly sought after, given the fact that this term the Bianconeri boss became the first man in Europe’s top-five leagues to win four consecutive league-and-cup doubles.
Since his arrival from Milan at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign, Allegri has also reached the Champions League final in two from his four seasons in charge, an incredible feat even if Juve failed to lift the trophy on either occasion. The sheer dominance of this side on the domestic front may lead many to think that those wins have been straightforward, but this year, in particular, has been anything but for Allegri.
As Napoli finished the season with a 2-0 win over Crotone, the Partenopei finished with 91 points, the first side ever to have crossed the barrier of 90 without having won the league. However, Juve won 30 of their 38 matches in 2017/18, finishing up with 95. However while Napoli tailed off at the end of the campaign, Allegri’s Juve marched on regardless, the coach constantly adapting his tactics and lineups in order to remain competitive.
In 219 total competitive matches in charge of the Old Lady, the intelligent tactician used 206 separate starting XIs and frequently outfoxed opposition bosses by switching formations several times in a match through a series of well-thought-out substitutions. However, a recent Netflix documentary that went behind-the-scenes at the club revealed an obsession with winning the Champions League for the first time since 1996, the only real way to demonstrate that this side is truly among Europe’s most elite clubs.
A real desire to lift the highly-coveted prize with Juve is clearly the reason why Allegri – who has repeatedly revealed a desire to manage an English side – is reportedly set to extend his contract with Juve to 2021 after a meeting with club officials this Monday morning. Yet with Napoli and Roma steadily improving, there is still much work to be done to even secure the league title again next year, let alone win the Champions League.
With Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Kwadwo Asamoah confirmed as leaving the club this summer, and perhaps more to come, Juventus must repay the loyalty of the coach by securing some truly world-class signings this summer. Emre Can is expected to make the move from Liverpool, but every defeat that has really mattered to Juventus has exposed a lack of a genuine star player in the midfield that can really make the difference.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio would be ideal in this role, and the Bianconeri should be ready to pay whatever it takes – likely in excess of £90 million – in order to secure his services. Allegri, for his part, must be ready to be bold in his team selections, the boss often a little tentative when it comes to the introduction of new signings.
Negative tactics have cost his side on a few occasions this term, and the coach needs to be less cautious in unleashing the full potential of his side. Sometimes – such as the 3-0 win over Barcelona last season or at the Bernabeu a month ago – he has done just that, but only on these rare occasions have supporters genuinely seen a game-plan that would be worthy of a Champions League win.
But these are the only minor criticisms of a tactician who has achieved so much. Juve’s record proves that they are on the cusp of greatness, and Max Allegri is the right man to steer them over the finish line.
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