Can Juventus Afford NOT To Sack Max Allegri? – Forbes

Has the time come to change who’s in charge?
There is no denying it. Max Allegri is under immense pressure and – with no club football for the next two weeks – that is only going to intensify as the spotlight turns fully onto the underperforming Juventus boss.
How bad is the situation? With 2-1 defeats to both PSG and Benfica, the Bianconeri have lost their opening two Group Stage games in the UEFA EFA Champions League for the first time ever.
In Serie A, things look equally bleak with Juve gaining just 10 of a possible 21 points thus far. They have won against Sassuolo and Spezia, and have been held to draws by Sampdoria, AS Roma, Fiorentina and Salernitana, while this past weekend saw a stunning defeat to Monza.
It has to be said there are some mitigating circumstances, with injuries robbing the Old Lady of Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba, two players capable of changing any game at any moment.
But the level of talent that remains is still far greater than almost every opponent they have faced so far this term, with Sassuolo, Spezia, Sampdoria, Salernitana and Monza hardly jam packed with quality.
Dušan’s dark days
Meanwhile, Fiorentina sold their best player to Juventus nine months ago, and the sizable difference between Dušan Vlahović’s production in Tuscany compared to Turin is a great place to start any analysis of Allegri’s approach.
In 2021 alone he scored 33 times in Serie A, a tally which put him behind only Felice Borel (41 goals in 1933) and Gunnar Nordahl (36 goals in 1950) for goals in a single calendar year.
Ahead of the move, he was rightly being compared to Erling Haaland, with the Manchester City striker being the only other player born after 1999 to have scored at least 40 goals in Europe’s top-5 leagues.
Yet while Haaland has 14 goals in just 10 appearances since moving to England this past summer, Vlahović has 13 in all competitions since joining Juve last January. He cuts an increasingly isolated figure up front for the Bianconeri, getting very little support from his team-mates and almost zero service.
Style council
That brings us onto the style of play, although even using the word “style” is a misnomer, there is very little to appreciate about how this team goes about its business. According to statistics from the WhoScored website, no fewer than 11 Serie A sides have had more possession than Juve’s average of 49.1%.
Considering their opponents thus far – again, that’s including games against Spezia, Sampdoria, Salernitana and Monza – that has to be concerning. Allegri’s safety-first approach was discussed in this previous column, and it continues to fail week after week after week.
And let’s not use Ángel Di María’s red card on Sunday as any sort of alibi, as again the statistics simply do not support that view. Indeed, in the 40 minutes of action that both teams were playing with 11 men, Monza had enjoyed more possession (56.4%), shots (7-6), had passed more accurately (85%-78%), completed more passes (215-166) and had more corners (3-1).
That is a newly promoted side playing its first ever season in Serie A and a team who, before this Sunday, had managed just one point – from a draw against Lecce – in their opening six matches.
Yet they were able to outplay, outthink and outperform Italy’s biggest club, with former Juve player Raffaele Palladino enjoying his professional debut on the bench. That’s right, the Bianconeri lost to a team who only appointed their Coach last Tuesday, with the 38-year-old having three years of experience in the youth sector.
Disgruntled Exes
Need any more evidence of Allegri’s failings? How about the words of Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann when he was asked about Matthijs de Ligt’s early struggles back in July?
“I spoke to him after training and he said the session was his hardest in four years,” the Coach told reporters. “It was hard, but it wasn’t that hard. I’ve heard in Italy it’s then not easy to stay fit.”
Meanwhile, last week De Ligt compared the work he has been doing at Bayern compared to Juve. “Both approaches are tough,” he told Kicker, “but in Italy it’s more about tactics and the system, and less about intensity, even less about sprints.”
It is a similar story at Liverpool where Arthur Melo has made just one sub appearance lasting 13 minutes since moving to Anfield on deadline day. Speaking in the video above, journalist Guillem Balague expressed concerns over “how long it will take him to adapt to the pace of the Premier PINC League” and that fear has certainly been realised.
According to this report, the Brazilian has “requested to play matches with the U21 team, is doing double training sessions and has rejected the chance to take a few days off over the upcoming international break” in order to get up to speed.
Off the pace
What makes these two cases even more worrisome is that the same lethargy and lack of intensity can be seen in the team-mates they left behind. After starting matches brightly, Juventus are clearly instructed to drop off and keep the opposition in front of them, at which point they are bypassed like training cones as a steady procession of players line up to pepper their goal with shots.
Again, according to WhoScored, just eight Serie A sides have allowed opponents more attempts than Juve’s average of 12.9 per game, an unsustainable figure for a team with lofty aspirations.
Manuel Locatelli is far less effective for Juve than he is for Italy
The official Serie A website shows that things get no better at the other end of the field, with only four teams – Spezia, Monza, Hellas Verona and Lecce – managing fewer shots on target than Juve’s meagre tally of 25 in the first seven rounds of action.
Only five have earned fewer corners, whilst that lack of physical fitness once again shows itself in terms of the “km run” statistic. Those figures show that Juve’s leading man in terms of distance covered in Manuel Locatelli with an average of 10.541km per game, which is only enough to see him ranked 36th in Serie A.
No other Juventus player cracks the top 50, and for context, Inter’s Marcelo Brozović leads the list, followed by Sergej Milinković-Savić of Lazio with AS Roma pair Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini both in the top 10.
Sack time?
All of those issues point to one man, the man whose job it is to bring the best from his players, to find a system that masks their flaws while accentuating their quality. Instead, the current Juve boss is doing the opposite, overseeing the complete regression of players who thrive away from his set up.
The logic goes that the Bianconeri cannot afford to part ways with Allegri, who reportedly earns €9 million ($8.98m) per year until June 2025. “Changing technical guidance would be absolutely madness,” CEO Maurizio Arrivabene replied when asked about the Coach’s future before the Monza game. “Max doesn’t just have a contract, he has a programme to develop over four years.”
Yet 18 months into that “programme,” it is not just hard to see any improvement, it’s clear that the team has regressed from the one Andrea Pirlo left behind, despite the club spending heavily on the very reinforcements demanded by Allegri.
Back in 2019, when this same dire, dull, disappointing Juve limped to the Scudetto, Allegri was replaced and the club turned first to Maurizio Sarri and then Pirlo in an attempt to modernise the playing style.
Then those experiments failed and they went back to their former boss in hopes he would steady the ship but, rather than modify his approach, they are now stuck with an Allegri who is even more entrenched in his outdated views.
So instead of counting what it would cost to sack him – at this point he would be owed roughly €25 million ($24.95m) – perhaps it is worth asking if the inverse is true; can Juventus afford NOT to replace him?
Despite being dumped out in the last-16, The Swiss Ramble report above shows that the Bianconeri made €73 million ($72.8m) in revenue from the Champions League last term, and their current form suggests that missing out on the top four is a distinct possibility.
Allegri is a safety-first, defensive obsessed Coach, yet his side have just three clean sheets in nine games. He is in charge of a team so paralysed by fear that they play with no suggestion of inventiveness or creativity.
He has taken the deadliest striker in the country and turned him into a bystander, seemingly only on the field to serve as a reminder of just how badly his stock has plummeted. If the situation continues, how long before Vlahović is asking to move on just as De Ligt did after seeing a similar lack of progress?
The #AllegriOut movement is in full voice, and with Thomas Tuchel and Zinedine Zidane both available, it has to be said that all the evidence suggests that would be the right move.


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