Massimo Allegri, the current Juventus coach, caught the eyes of the masses in the 2014/15 season when he led Juventus to the Champions League Final.
Though it was hardly a result that shocked many, it brought Allegri and his managerial abilities to the attention of the big clubs, including Chelsea. The big question is whether he can have a big impact at Stamford Bridge, though.
Before coming to fame at Juventus, Allegri was an average midfielder, playing across Italy at small clubs, before hanging up his boots and going into management. He took charge of Aglianese in 2003, in Serie C2, a league equivalent of the English League One. From there he worked his way up the leagues, managing at Real SPAL, Grosseto, Sassuolo, Caligari and then AC Milan in 2010.
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It was at Milan that Allegri made his mark, winning their first Serie A title since 2004, beating local rivals Inter in both fixtures. But they were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, loosing to Palermo 4-3 on aggregate, and losing to Tottenham Hotspur in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
After his first successful season, Allegri led Milan to the Supercoppa Italiana title, over rivals Inter Milan on 6th August 2011. Yet this was to be the only success Allegri had during his Milan career, with the lows more than the highs, and a period of frustration followed. The beginning of the 2012-13 season led to frustration, with eight points coming from their first seven games. The only bright light to come from this was the fact Milan stuck with Allegri, and he got the best out of young players like Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Mario Balotelli. Milan finished the season in third.
Despite Berlusconi giving Allegri the vote of confidence, he was sacked the following January after much speculation.
Yet the Juventus board saw enough in this Italian manager to give him the benefit of the doubt and take him on, replacing the highly popular Antonio Conte, who had won three Serie A titles in a row, and had resigned to become Italy manager. With big boots to fill, Allegri had to make his own mark on the Old Lady.
What better way to do that than win the domestic double in his first season, and lead the team to the Champions League final. Juventus had not won the Coppa Italia for 20 years, but Allegri quickly changed that and made people forget about the Conte era, ushering the fans and the players into a new one.
Despite losing top players like Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez over the summer, he bought well – Dybala, Khedira and Mandzukic all arrived, highlighting his intent to further lead the club to glory.
After a difficult start to the campaign, Juventus have now won 11 matches in a row, and are two points behind a rejuvenated Napoli team, who are sitting pretty at the top of Serie A. Allegri was also recognised on the FIFA World Coach of the Year shortlist, although did not get to the final three. Yet it highlights just how far this coach has come, and it is no wonder he is being linked to bigger clubs across Europe.
If Chelsea miss out on Guardiola and Simeone, then Allegri should definitely be considered for the role. He has had his troubles at both Juventus and Milan, but he has overcome them, and with the support of Chelsea’s squad, could easily be a successful manager there.
Whether or not he would be given the time to build a squad and get acclimatised to the English League is another question all together.