Zidane, Inzaghi and Pochettino the Leading Candidates to Replace Sarri at Juventus
The Bianconeri dispensed with Sarri’s coaching services hours after crashing out of the Champions League – but who will they turn to next?
Out of work since being relieved of his duties at Tottenham, Pochettino is understandably among the favourites to be installed as Juve’s next permanent head coach.
Having cut his managerial teeth at Espanyol and Southampton, the Argentine transformed Spurs from Premier League also-rans to Champions League finalists despite very little investment being made in the squad.
A proven performer at the top level and currently without any ties, it is not difficult to understand why many have the 48-year-old at the top of their list to replace Sarri.
However, whether Juventus would be willing to sanction a deal satisfying his salary demands is another question.
A Serie A winner with Lazio as a player, the former striker has proven to be a success in his first post as head coach of a senior side.
Originally promoted from the Lazio’s youth side after Marcelo Bielsa’s incredibly short stint at the club, Inzaghi has guided his charges to two Supercoppa titles and one Coppa Italia in his four years at the helm.
Having finished Serie A in fourth place in 2019-20, Champions League football awaits the 44-year-old Italian next season even if Juventus do not make a move.
A Juventus icon following five trophy-laden seasons in Turin, Zidane is never far from discussions at Continassa when those in charge are looking for a new head coach.
Indeed, it is understood that the Real Madrid boss is high up on the Bianconeri’s wish list but it would take some doing to prise the Frenchman away from the Santiago Bernabeu, where he is under contract until 2022.
Still, with Zidane having won three successive Champions League titles during his time in the Spanish capital it is easy to see why the Juve hierarchy remain keen on bringing in the club icon.
While he also lined up for Juve’s arch-rivals AC Milan and Inter during his playing career, Pirlo’s four-year stint in Turin saw him become a club legend as he pulled the strings from deep in midfield to help the club to four successive Serie A titles.
Now, having completed his coaching badges, the World Cup winner is currently in charge of Juventus’s Under-23 side as he begins his foray into management’s.
And while 41-year-old may lack dugout experience at the top level, it has not stopped those in charge giving consideration to offering him the top job
Maurizio Sarri’s predecessor, Allegri has been out of work since leaving Juventus at the end of the 2018-19 season.
During his five-year spell with the Old Lady the 52-year-old won the Scudetto in every season he was in charge, as well as guiding the club to two Champions League finals.
However, despite the presence of Mr Champions League himself, Cristiano Ronaldo, in his final campaign, the Italian could not guide the club to European glory and thus may not be particularly high up Juve’s shortlist.
Yet another club icon, Conte’s time as Juventus manager was littered with titles and accolades, including Serie A coach of the season in each of his three years in Turin.
The 51-year-old is currently overseeing a rebuilding job at Inter, however, tasked with dethroning his former club and returning the Nerazzurri to perennial title challengers.
He has, though, recently expressed concern with Inter’s chief decision makers, citing a lack of protection for his players and pointing to a lack of vision from those at the top of the food chain.
Gian Piero Gasperini
Another winner of the Serie A coach of the year award, ‘Gasp’ is hugely well respected in Italy due to the exciting style of play employed by his Atalanta side and the fact that he led the club to the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Appointing Gasperini would undoubtedly see Juve’s recently laboured play dramatically altered, but questions have been asked of whether the coach’s high-risk, ultra-offensive 3-4-3 system would be as effective at a larger club given his tactics inevitably lead to conceding goals.
Affectionately dubbed ‘Mini-Mourinho’ by former goalkeeper Tim Wiese, Nagelsmann is already an extremely well-respected figure despite his tender age of just 33.
Currently on the books of RB Leipzig following a successful spell with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann could be considering his options after losing chief goalscorer Timo Werner to Chelsea.
A transfer to Juventus would doubtless see the young coach add silverware to his CV, but whether the Bianconeri would be open to moving for a man who is younger than star player Ronaldo is up for debate.
Roberto De Zerbi
In his two seasons with Sassuolo, De Zerbi has led the side to 11th and eighth in Serie A, most notably recording high-scoring draws against Inter and Juventus in the 2019-20 campaign.
The 41-year-old’s previous coaching roles have not always been so successful, however, with his time at Palermo particularly poor as the club recorded seven consecutive defeats and failed to win a single point at home across three months before he was sacked.
Given his background and how well he appears to fit in with his current side, a move to a club of Juve’s stature might be too soon for De Zerbi.
A winner of two Coppa Italia titles and one Supercoppa Italiana with Roma, Spalletti has been without a coaching role since leaving Inter at the end of the 2018-19 season.
During his seven years with Roma – made up of two separate spells – the 61-year-old guided the capital side to five second-place finishes in Serie A, demonstrating a respectable level of consistency.
Such an attribute would likely bring some order to a chaotic Juve side, but the Italian’s relatively poor record in Europe could well see the Old Lady look elsewhere.
One of the most well-respected managers in world football, Wenger is widely credited with improving English football with fresh, new ideas during his time in Arsenal’s dugout.
A winner of three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, the Frenchman left the Gunners in 2018 after 22 years of service and took up a role as FIFA’s chief of global football development.
He has, however, recently stated that he would be open to a return to coaching under “optimal conditions”, despite now being 70 years old.
Capello has coached Juventus before, but saw the two Serie A titles he won with the club stripped away after the 2006 Calciopoli scandal.
A return to the dugout in Turin would present a chance to put those honours back on his CV, but given his announcement in 2018 that he was resigning from coaching and the fact that he is now 74 years old, Capello’s appointment seems unlikely.
A winner of four Serie A titles with Juventus as a player and the man who took the club back to the top flight following their demotion to Serie B in the wake of Calciopoli, Deschamps has proven his managerial acumen at virtually every team he has coached.
Success at both Monaco and Marseille was followed by the former defensive midfielder’s World Cup victory in 2018 with France, to whom he remains under contract until 2022.
Having lifted international football’s most-coveted trophy as a coach, the chance to return to his former side and aim for Champions League glory may well be of interest.
Currently on the books of Dalian Professional in China, Benitez’s list of honours is a long one, with the most notable of those being Champions League success with Liverpool in 2004-05.
The Spaniard’s previous stints in Serie A saw him lift the Supercoppa Italiana and the Club World Cup with Inter, although disagreements with the board ultimately saw him leave the club just six months into his role.
More success was enjoyed at Napoli, but the Italian press have rarely painted Benitez in a positive light, meaning Juve may swerve him to avoid any further fan unrest.
Please share your views on the comment section of the site