Fabio Paratici Says Juventus 'Never Considered' Pep Guardiola

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2019

Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola stands on the touchline before the English FA Cup Final soccer match between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley stadium in London, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Juventus haven't spoken to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola about succeeding Massimiliano Allegri in the dugout next season.

Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici spoke to DAZN Italia and denied contact was made with Guardiola (h/t FourFourTwo's Adam Digby). Tellingly, Paratici said the Turin giants are prepared to wait for the end of remaining competitions, leading Digby to a couple of conclusions:

There isn't much club football left on the calendar for top-level football in Europe, bar the finals of the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League. The first involves a rumoured Juve target, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, while the second will feature Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Tottenham Hotspur chief Mauricio Pochettino.

Like Sarri, Pochettino has also been linked with a potential move to the Allianz Stadium this summer. The former is even said to have agreed a three-year deal to take over, per SNAI Sportnews (h/t Jordan Seward of MailOnline).

Meanwhile, Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato) reported Paratici met with Pochettino's brother in London recently to gauge the Tottenham man's interest in moving to Italy.

It's debatable whether either man would be an upgrade on Allegri, despite the 51-year-old's stock falling this season. Allegri is moving on after guiding Juve to five straight Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia wins.

He managed his last game on Sunday, a 2-0 defeat away to Sampdoria in the league. Despite ending with a defeat, Allegri described his time in charge as "five extraordinary years," per the club's official website.

While his trophy haul was impressive, Allegri's tenure was ultimately defined by the one prize that consistently eluded him. He couldn't win the Champions League trophy Juve have craved since last lifting it in 1996.

Defeats in finals against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Barcelona have followed. Two of those high-profile setbacks occurred on Allegri's watch, but this season's exit to Ajax at the quarter-final stage was arguably more painful.

The Bianconeri had invested heavily in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real last summer to end their Champions League woes. Ronaldo is a five-time winner and scored twice against Allegri's men for Real in the 2017 final.

Despite a fine first season in Italy, Ronaldo didn't help Allegri take the next step.

It left the manager wanting to refresh several positions in an ageing squad:

There were also questions about the style of play:

Sarri might solve the second problem since his enterprising Napoli team, led by Italy international playmaker Jorginho, pushed Juve in the 2017/18 domestic title race. Known for a slick and possession-heavy brand of play dubbed "Sarriball," the 60-year-old may bring the entertainment value back to the pitch for 34-year-old Ronaldo and Co.

Things haven't gone smoothly for Sarri at Chelsea, despite qualifying for next season's Champions League and reaching two cup finals, including Wednesday's Europa League showpiece against Arsenal.

Even so, Sarri has found it difficult to integrate key players, including midfield destroyer N'Golo Kante, within his tactics.

While Sarri is a known quantity in Italy, Pochettino might have more cache, especially if he wins Europe's top prize on Saturday, June 1. He's kept Spurs competitive despite not signing any new players in the last two transfer windows.

Admittedly, Pochettino has benefited from Tottenham's ability to keep a marquee squad together, with Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen having time to mature into top Champions League stars.

Whichever man is chosen to replace Sarri faces a tough task maintaining dominance of Italian football while trying to finally crack the code in the Champions League. It won't be easy to juggle those responsibilities managing a squad getting older in key areas.

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