Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has been mostly out of the spotlight for the last month or so after the Bianconeri completed the Italian double. Now that Juve have kicked off their preseason with a 6-1 win against amateurs San Mauro, he took the time to speak to the media about the club’s mercato, ambitions and more.
On the big Premier League offers for Paul Pogba and Leonardo Bonucci -
“I am calm about the English rumours. Anyone who has the opportunity to leave Juventus has to consider things very carefully, because right now Juve are among the top four European clubs.
“This is not a selling club that just lets its players go. Pogba belongs to Juve and at the end of the day he too will want to win another Scudetto and hopefully the Champions League.
“We have grown in terms of appeal and awareness of our own capabilities. So far our market this summer has been eight out of 10, bringing in players of international pedigree like Medhi Benatia, Dani Alves and Miralem Pjanic.”
This of course led to questions about Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain (read our reasons why we should and should not sign the player) -
“I just hear chatter, but I am a Coach and focus on my team. On August 31 we’ll see where we are. The club focuses on the transfer market and always does it very well.
“Of course great champions are always welcome, because to compete at the top you need quality players.”
He expressed his satisfaction with the work done by transfers guru Beppe Marotta so far -
“Dani Alves has experience and technique. With Stephan Lichtsteiner we’ll have an important push down the flanks.
“Pjanic plays in front of the defence or as a trequartista. He can do everything because he knows football perfectly well and therefore has no problems playing in any zone of the pitch. He’s also only 26 years old, so can improve even more.
“We know Paulo Dybala already, he has great skill and a very clear objective: to become one of the best players in the world.
“Now, saying that we need another two or three players is unfair, especially as I don’t want to talk about transfers, but the club is working well and knows we need alternatives.
“Is this the strongest Juventus squad I’ve had? Every team is different, but this one is very strong and I am fortunate to be training great champions.”
Allegri also spoke about the change in mindset since his arrival at Vinovo two years ago -
“From my first day in charge there have been some big steps forward. This Juve has grown in terms of self-belief. The first year there was this cosmic level of pessimism and a frightening degree of negativity based around the fear of not even getting through the Champions League group phase, but from there we went on a journey that grew our confidence.
“A side that is coming off a lot of success has to begin again with the right mental strength, without arrogance.”
The manager also showed a softer side talking about when international players were expected back in camp -
“Italy didn’t deserve to go out and those are the defeats that can really hurt you. But football is also wonderful because it gives you the opportunity to get right back up and win again.
“If I see someone is wiped out, I’ll give them a little more vacation time. With no Super Cup (to be played over the winter break this season), we will have more time. Lichtsteiner, Mandzukic and Dani Alves report on the 25th (of July), August 1 is the Azzurri contingent, Khedira on the 5th and on the 7th the two Frenchmen, including Pogba. “
He finished off talking about Higuain again, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Argentinian chose to come to Juventus -
“Pjanic said he wouldn’t be surprised if Higuain chose Juve? Well, this club now has a different appeal, so it’s an understandable attitude.
“It’ll be a difficult season, because the bar has been raised in Italy and Europe. Do I see euphoria among the fans? Euphoria is the spice of life, without it you don’t work well.”
Speaking of Pjanic, the new player looks right at home here with Dybala doesn’t he?