It is official, the Juventus website confirms that Conte will no longer be coaching the Old Lady in the upcoming season. I am simply left speechless after these news. I knew that Conte had very specific requests, and I was sure that the management was doing everything in their power to satisfy them. I thought the purchase of players like Morata and Iturbe were the coach's choices, and that in a few months Antonio will be putting pen to paper on a new deal. After all, he has been instrumental in the successes of the last few years.
With that being said, no player, or coach, or even president, is bigger than the club, and so it goes. From here, I only have left to say: Thank you, Mister. I wish you success, and I hope you can come back to Juve at some point, you'll be missed.
But the show must go on...
Making sense of the mercato
One thing that was gnawing at me was why were we waiting so long to finalize the deals. Conte always wanted his players to arrive before preseason. Sure, the World Cup was going to change things but with the exception of Evra, none of the players currently on Juve's radar had played on that tournament. With these news, it makes sense that the Iturbe, Morata, and Evra deals are all on hold. Should Juve go ahead with the deals or should they wait to see who will be at the helm? Given the cost of the transfers it would be wise to wait on at least one of those moves. I, for one, will tell Morata to wait a little longer while we sort things out.
More importantly, what is the meaning of this announcement with regards to Pogba and Vidal? The coach has been adamant about keeping the squad's star players for at least one more year. He went as far as saying, "Vidal is staying" a few weeks back. Does Conte know something we don't know? I really hope not. After this announcement, the team needs stability. Selling a leader like Vidal or an upcoming talent like Pogba are the opposite of stability and can only hurt us, specially this late into the summer.
Maybe Conte was not happy with the mercato, maybe Conte was not happy with the long-term plans, maybe Conte was not happy with Juve selling a big name this summer ... I don't know. But really, why wait until mid July to be without a coach? If this was a genuine risk, I wish the club and coach would've said their goodbyes two months ago. This move leaves Juventus in a very bad position. The new coach will barely have time to get settled before having to make big transfer market decisions. Moreover, the new coach will likely be arriving at Juve only a few days before the majority of the first team squad, giving him little time to prepare for pre-season.
I will always be thankful for what Conte has done, but resigning so late in the summer is a bad move on his part. He sometimes has made rushed comments that have come to hurt him or the team. I hope for his sake and ours that this was not one of those times. I know he has a reputation to protect, but if he was this serious about leaving, the coach and management should have had an earlier deadline to make this decision. If this comes as a result of a big name being sold, then the management should've thought more before agreeing to such a deal... we'll know if this was the case soon enough.
There are rumors about Conte being interested in coaching the National team. Although I really doubt he would agree to a position in which he coaches only a few times a year, this may just explain the reason for leaving at this time. Only time will tell.
Who is next?
The King is dead ... long live the King. With Conte gone, who will take care of the Old Lady and in what capacity? There are two ways of going about this: hire a coach who will carry the team for a year while we look for a worthwhile replacement, or hire a permanent coach. The former is hardly an option at Juve, but given the timing of this decision it may be the only option. Allegri has been suggested as a replacement and on my books he fills the role of a good coach that can carry Juve through the season but is unlikely to win anything of note. Other coaches who may be willing to come out of retirement for one year while the management looks for a long term solution are: Francesco Guidolin, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Jupp Heynckes. Although these are unlikely names I hope that the management considers them.
The other rumor is Mancini. I have never rated him highly and he has had issues with Carlitos Tevez in the past. With his cost and demands, he will likely be expected to stay for more than one season. To me he also fits the mold of a coach that can get Juventus into Europe but is unlikely to win us much. It is no surprise that he is never listed as a top coach.
I would really like to see Montella but he has a contract until 2017. Unless he has a pro-Juve clause in his contract, I doubt he will be moving anytime soon. Spalletti has a long contract with Zenit but if he can break it, he would be a welcome addition to the bench. Mircea Lucescu is another coach I would trust with Juventus, he has had a good track record in Ukraine and in Europe with teams that are not nearly as good as the Old Lady. Lastly, Deschamps, a proven champion who seems like he wants to take a second stab at the Juventus job. He is also under contract until 2016. All the names in this paragraph will be hard if not impossible to lure. They are all under contract and will leave a big gap at their respective clubs or national teams but they are well worth the try.
No matter who we get, the team is good enough to continue qualifying to the Champions League, the lowest objective forthe upcoming season. I would like Juventus to get a coach with good European experience, and for sure someone who has won something (unless his name is Montella). There are plenty of names out there, but luring them this late into the summer will be hard.
- Antonio Conte resigns as Juventus manager
- Tuesday 'the decisive day' in Juventus' hopes of signing Juan Iturbe?
- Juventus continue to chase Hellas Verona winger Juan Iturbe
- Juventus announce 27-man squad list for the beginning of preseason training camp
- Paul Pogba wins Young Player Award at the 2014 FIFA World Cup