On the 15th July Antonio Conte resigned as manager of Italian champions Juventus. The 44 year old had spent 3 years at the club winning 3 Serie A titles. The news seemed to initially surprise European football mainly with the timing being the main question. 1 day into Juventus’ pre season preparations and their summer has been turned upside down with Conte’s departure.
The motive of the resignation still isn’t 100% clear but there are two main theories. Theory one suggests that Antonio Conte is being lined up by the Italian FA to replace Cesare Prandelli who left his role following the World Cup exit. The national team have recently been linked with former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. He is available following his ill fated spell with Turkish side Galatasaray. The second theory suggests that Conte is upset with the Juventus hierarchy for considering selling star midfield duo Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. Vidal has been strongly linked with Manchester United in recent weeks in a deal that could be worth anywhere near £35-£45m. Pogba has been linked to several clubs, but the heavy interest is from PSG and from Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Conte’s public reason for leaving suggests he wasn’t motivated or had the energy to continue coaching a club where the expectation was so high. This did seem a surprising statement from a person who is known to be an innate winner.
What Conte’s departure could do to the Italian league is potentially level the playing field, Conte’s ability to lure good players to Turin was huge and now that has gone. This is proven as Juan Irtube has decided to join Roma from Hellas Verona even after it appeared a Juventus deal was close to completion. With Vidal and Pogba transfer speculation gathering pace too Juventus maybe taking a huge step back this summer.
Juventus replaced Conte a day after his resignation with a surprise selection. Former Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri who was sacked in January 2014 by AC Milan was unveiled as the new boss. The reaction to his appointment in Italy appears to be negative. He left Milan in the bottom half of Serie A before Seedorf steered Milan into the top 8. Allegri says he intends to win the Juventus fans over with “good results, hard work, respect and professionalism”
With Allegri at the helm, Vidal and Pogba potentially leaving the club and other Italian clubs improving their squads, the 2014-2015 Serie A season will be an intriguing watch.