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Safe Option Of Allegri Doesn't Give Juventus Best Chance Of Progressing Following Conte Exit

Thursday 17th July 2014
There was a manager exit in the Serie A as boss of current Champions Juventus, Antonio Conte leaves the club just a day into pre season training, Harry De Cosemo takes a look at what this will mean for the club.
It was disappointing, but hardly a complete surprise.  On Tuesday evening, a day into their pre-season training regime, Antonio Conte and Juventus parted company by 'mutual consent'. The decision closed the book on 16 year relationship between the two, one of the most successful in the club's recent history. His replacement, former Milan boss, Massimiliano Allegri.

Conte joined La Vecchia Signora in 1991 from Lecce. He went on to captain and make over 400 appearances for the most successful team of all time in Italian football before his retirement in 2004. Maintaining a place within a team that at different times contained the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Nedved, Edgar Davids and Alessandro Del Piero showed the world exactly what this energetic and combative midfielder was all about. He would return to the club seven years later as manager, to establish a rebuilt Juventus side, recovering after the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal of 2006, which saw the end of their dominance that Conte the player had helped shape, as kings of calcio again.

From the moment he arrived in 2011, Conte won three Scudetto titles while playing a brand of attacking football, contrary to the stereotypical Italian style, that encapsulated his era at the helm of the Bianconeri. He left the club with only year remaining on his contract, after speculation over his future over the past year, but he walks away from an institution that is in much better shape than he inherited three years previously.

When Conte was tasked with cleaning up Luigi Delneri's mess, Juve had just finished seventh.

Now, thanks to building a squad around the likes of Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and of course Andrea Pirlo, Max Allegri has the tools to go very far at the club. Shrewd transfer business, along with the free-flowing football, appeared to be Conte's forte. It remains to be seen whether the squad will stay together, with Vidal being heavily linked with joining Louis van Gaal's Manchester United revolution, while Pirlo was released by Milan at the age of 32 in 2011, under Allegri.

Though he signed a new 2-year contract at the end of last season, something Juve seemed incredibly happy with.

Max Allegri is not a bad coach. Far from it, in fact. Having left Cagliari for the San Siro and Milan in 2010, he inherited a squad full of experience, big names and big egos, including the notoriously fiery Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and led them to their 18th Scudetto in his first season. His man-management skills have been questioned despite this, but things only started to go downhill when club owner Silvio Berlusconi ordered a clear-out of the established names to cut costs and invest in younger players. The likes of Ibrahimovic, Pirlo and Thiago Silva departed, all without immediate and adequate replacements. It may have ended in disaster for Allegri with the Rossoneri, but the current set up in Turin is more like the one he inherited than the one he left behind in Milan.

However, perhaps the best way to describe this move it a security blanket. The timing of the Conte announcement in relation to the one of Allegri's appointment was a matter of hours, which either suggests that Juventus were prepared for the developments having pinpointed him as a target, or they had looked for the first man available fit enough to do the job. On the face of it, there were two immediate candidates; Allegri, and Roberto Mancini. The latter's previous relationships with Internazionale would mean it would be very hard for him to take charge at the Juventus Stadium.

It's hard to say that either are a step up from Conte. His domestic record cannot be beaten by either Allegri or Mancini, and all three have struggled to assert themselves on the European stage, which means it is hard to see Allegri reinstating Juventus to their status as a European super-power.

For Conte, there is an obvious question. The Italy job has been vacated by Cesare Prandelli after another awful World Cup showing, a second straight failure to make it out of the group stages. Andrea Pirlo said before the tournament that it would be his last in a blue shirt, but later retracted those comments, saying that if the new manager still wanted him, he would oblige. If Antonio Conte stepped up, the likelihood of seeing Pirlo in an Italy shirt again would surely increase.
Harry De Cosemo
19 years old, Newcastle season ticket holder. European football enthusiast and aspiring football writer. Currently doing a Journalism degree at Teesside University. You can follow me on Twitter: @harrydecosemo

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