Even with names like Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola being thrown out there for the better part of the last month, the vast majority of the Italian media has been steadfast in their belief that Maurizio Sarri would leave Chelsea in order to be the next manager at Juventus.
On Sunday, Juve did name their next manager.
It wasn’t a surprise. Instead, it was what we’ve been anticipating for the majority of days since Max Allegri announced that he would not try and win a sixth straight title as Juve’s manager.
Juventus has officially announced Sarri as the club’s next manager, with the 60-year-old Italian being let loose of of contract with Chelsea after one season to make the return to Italy. Sarri has signed a three-year deal with the eight-time Italian champions, with a salary reported to be around €6 or €7 million a year, according to multiple reports in the Italian press over the past couple of weeks.
The club’s statement courtesy of Juventus’ official website:
After an excellent season on the Blues bench, in which he led the club to a third-place finish in the Premier League and reach the EFL Cup final. The ultimate high during his tenure in London was when he led Chelsea to the Europa League final, before going on to being crowned champions in his final game on the Blues bench.
Now, Maurizio Sarri has returned to Italy, where he has coached for the majority of his career. And from today, he will take over the reins at Juventus with a contract until June 30, 2022.
In Sarri, Juventus are obviously looking for more of an identity for free-flowing attacking football. Arguably the biggest gripe against Allegri was his quite conservative approach to games and defensive mindset once Juventus got the lead. Allegri only truly let Juve loose — especially this past season — when the situation called for it rather than having a high-pressure, high-octane offense centered around Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala.
While Sarri Ball hasn’t exactly won anything close to consistent silverware, it has consistently produced one of Italy’s most dangerous attacks year-in and year-out. It was Sarri at the helm when Gonzalo Higuain had his record-breaking season with Napoli. It was Sarri who was in charge when Napoli gave Juventus quite the title challenge two years ago.
But Sarri Ball does come with its faults — namely the fact that he rarely actually rotates his squad. And knowing how, at least for the time being, Juventus will easily have one of the oldest squads in Serie A, that’s not exactly something that is encouraging know that the club will obviously not lower expectations to compete on multiple fronts with Ronaldo under contract the next three years.
That will be the challenge for Sarri. How can a veteran manager like him, whose biggest trophy win as a manager is in the Europa League this spring, going to be the one to get Juventus over the hump? Well, in just a few months, we’ll find out if Sarri is going to be an improvement over Allegri or just the guy after the guy who won so much during his time with the Italian champions.