Massimiliano Allegri returned to Juventus’ training site today in a bid to regain the Turin-based club’s status as Italian champions.
Juventus’ nine-year Serie A dominance came to an end last season under rookie manager Andrea Pirlo, when they were thrashed by eventual champions Inter Milan.
Allegri, who replaces rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, now faces the difficult challenge of rallying a club befuddled by Maurizio Sarri’s tactical subtleties and Pirlo’s poor communication abilities.
Following returning to the training ground on Wednesday, Sportsmail has identified seven areas in which Allegri must improve in order to restore Juventus’ dominance.
Massimiliano Allegri waved as he arrived at Juventus’ training site. The returning manager has a number of difficulties to address in order to reclaim the title. GET DYBALA ON SIDE Paulo Dybala is one of the most intriguing players to Allegri due to his technical skills.
Dybala, who is in the final year of his contract, would have been moved on if Pirlo had been retained on by chairman Andrea Agnelli.
Dybala’s future now appears to be in Turin, with Allegri’s return implying that he will be in charge.
Negotiations for a contract extension are ongoing and could be completed before the start of the 2021-22 season, extending his contract until 2026.
Given the limited time available to Allegri ahead to the upcoming season, the situation involving Dybala is just the first of many issues that he will have to deal with.
Allegri appears to want Dybala to be the focal point of the team’s tactical approach, which should be enough to persuade him to stay.
The future of Paulo Dybala’s contract is one of the concerns Allegri must now resolve. SZCZESNY’S PERFORMANCE The Poland international was the worst goalkeeper in the European Championships, and was famously responsible for a sensational own goal against Slovakia.
Above all, Szczesny has never been able to instill such calmness in his Juventus teammates, both in Serie A and in the Champions League, where he has made several errors.
Juventus now has a player that was regarded as a top player when he first arrived.
His problem is that he will now have to put forth a lot of effort in order to be considered irreplaceable by Allegri.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy’s Euros hero, has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain, but speculation of him joining Turin will undoubtedly have destabilized Szczesny.
With that chance gone, Allegri will have to cajole far better form from Poland’s goalkeeper if they are to have any hope of regaining their lead.
The departure of Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon, as well as the lack of a mentor to guide him through the coming season, could stymie his much-needed comeback under Allegri.
Time is running out for Juventus, and they sorely need Szczesny to return.
Wojciech Szczesny had a poor Euros, and Allegri now needs him to reclaim his best form. JUVENTUS NEED A NEW PJANIC Juventus’ midfield troubles undoubtedly surfaced when they sent Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona in exchange for Arthur Melo.
Since then, the club has been without a core point of reference in midfield, having failed to replace the vacuum left by Pjanic with a slew of dubious signings.
Arthur does not look to be suited to the job of playmaker, and he does not appear to be in perfect physical condition.
Rodrigo Bentancur made a bunch of errors last season while playing in front of the defense, and his stock has dropped dramatically.
Allegri’s first decision will be to entrust the midfield to someone, and Manuel Locatelli, a prospective summer acquisition from Sassuolo, could be the appropriate man for this squad right now.
TIME TO UNLOCK DE LIGT’S POTENTIAL The first thing to say about Matthjis de Ligt is that he is destined for greatness.
He was recruited from Ajax, where he was captain, but his development has been hindered in Italy for the past two years.
De Ligt is one of Juventus’ most important signings in the previous decade, and Allegri will be under pressure to turn him into a defensive gem for the 2021-22 season.
A mixed European Championships is unlikely to have boosted the players’ confidence.
De Ligt is a cross between Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who were both instrumental in Italy’s Euro 2016 victory.
He can play with the ball in his hands, but unlike some of his Turin predecessors, he is not a defensive playmaker.
The problem is that De Ligt’s growth has slowed under Sarri and Pirlo, and Allegri will have to be at his best in order to get him back to his best.
WHAT TO DO WITH CRISTIANO RONALDO? Matthijs de Ligt (right) is a budding star, but his growth has stalled at Juventus.
Many people are enthralled by Ronaldo’s star power, but Allegri is not one to be charmed by the Portuguese’s star power.
Allegri has always professed his adoration for a great – but not vital – player, and at 36, Ronaldo is no longer Juventus’ long-term attacking option.
According to ‘La Repubblica,’ Allegri suggested selling Ronaldo to president Agnelli before he left the first time, but he was disregarded.
The Portuguese international, who will earn EUR31 million in the final year of his term, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid or Manchester United, but it now appears more probable that he will conclude his Juventus contract.
They could do without his hefty salary in Turin, but given that he scored over 40 goals last season, he is viewed as crucial in helping Juventus close the gap on Inter and AC Milan.
Allegri’s goal is to devise a system that maximizes Ronaldo’s performance without sacrificing others, such as Dybala.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in the final year of his Juventus contract, and Allegri must make the most of his abilities. FULL-BACK PROBLEM Juventus has a significant full-back dilemma.
Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado can’t keep playing 40 games a year, and Danilo can’t always be a dependable backup.
Luca Pellegrini is in line to replace Sandro on the left flank, but many Juventus fans believe the young defender, who grew up in Rome, lacks the necessary physique to succeed at such a high level.
The club appears to be attempting to reinforce their left back position, but due to the high cost of targets such as Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, the search has apparently slowed.
Gosens is too expensive, and Juventus has no ready-made players for the wing-back positions.
Allegri is tempted by the prospect of keeping Mattia De Sciglio, but the left winger’s destiny will be determined by the offers made for the 28-year-old.
MORATA, WHAT NOW? Juan Cuadrado has been a steady wing-back, but he can no longer play 40 games.
Alvaro Morata is Juventus’ greatest conundrum, but given that he is unlikely to leave, Allegri must figure him out.
Morata’s Euro experience was generally bad; his errors in front of goal shattered Spain’s aspirations, and his ability was questioned.
It’s unclear where Morata fits into the puzzle, with Dybala poised to be given a bigger role and no clear landing position for Ronaldo, who was Italy’s leading scorer last season.
In the wide spaces of a 4-3-3, Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski appear to be more tempting possibilities, and Morata appears to be one of Allegri’s key casualties.
Morata spent last season on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, and the two clubs have agreed to extend his loan for another year.
Last season, the 28-year-old scored 20 goals for Juventus in all competitions.
With an up-and-down career, his form is scrutinized after every game, but he now needs to stand up and perform when it means most for Allegri.