Juventus are limping towards their season objectives – but is the damage done for Massimiliano Allegri?

Juventus are two games away from achieving what Massimiliano Allegri views as their objectives, but is that enough to earn the coach another season in charge?

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In just a few days’ time, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri could be sitting back with his feet up, toasting a job well done.

For months now, the Bianconeri coach has insisted that his objectives for 2023/24 are to return to the Champions League and win the Coppa Italia.

Not everyone agrees with that level of ambition, of course, and the way this dreary Juve side is limping over the line this season means those achievements won’t impress many.

But over the next 180 minutes, both boxes could be ticked.

Juventus are two games from a ‘successful’ season

Gatti Juventus home
Juventus’ Federico Gatti celebrates. [@juventusfcen]

Sunday’s clash with relegated Salernitana has been described as a “match point” by Allegri, as victory would guarantee a top-five finish and Champions League qualification.

Three days later, Juve travel south to Rome to contest the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta.

Would a trophy and a top-five finish make this a commendable season? Possibly, in the eyes of some, but it certainly seems unlikely to quieten the uncertainty surrounding Allegri’s future.

A group of Juventus Ultras have backed their coach inside the stadium and out, holding up a banner this week that read: “Mister Allegri you must stay, we want to go to the Club World Cup with you!”

The Bianconeri have qualified for the new-look FIFA-run tournament in 2025, but even if some Ultras want Allegri to lead that charge, there are plenty of Juve fans who have raised opposition.

Allegri has one more year on his current contract in Turin, and he is the highest-paid coach in Serie A by a distance, taking home €7 million per year net. Comparatively, Simone Inzaghi is on €5.5m at Inter and Stefano Pioli earns €4m at AC Milan.

It’s easy to understand, therefore, why those opposing Allegri feel they have the right to expect more than this dreadful end to the season; Juventus have won three games out of 16 in all competitions since the end of January.

But, as former AS Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi pointed out this week, the financial factor might be enough on its own to keep Allegri in a job.

“I think he will stay this year too, because he has a lucrative contract,” Petrachi said. “To leave, one either gives up money or is given an incentive to leave, I don’t know what plans Juve have, but here is a coach who earns more than €7m net a year.

“Unless Allegri has another international team ready to give him that salary, I find it hard to think of Juve dismissing him, paying another coach who doesn’t earn much in the end, because in the end they don’t hire just anyone.”

Be that as it may, Juventus’ shocking divebomb in form from Scudetto contenders to a team risking finishing outside the top three has damaged Allegri’s reputation.

Juventus’ style could still be Allegri’s undoing

It hasn’t only been the results, but the style of play too.

The draw against Roma was about as open a game as they have been involved in in recent memory, and even midfielder Weston McKennie admitted after that “it was a little more fun today.”

While Allegri’s view on his side’s ambitions for the season has remained consistent, his own take on what next season holds is a bit tougher to gauge.

Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic celebrates. (@juventusfcen)

He spoke in Rome about the future, leading some to wonder if his words were in reference to leaving the side in someone else’s hands next term, with Bologna mastermind Thiago Motta the most-linked candidate.

“Looking to the future, the club will evaluate the squad, but there is a great base to build from, also from the individual characteristics of the players,” Allegri said. Those comments led Allegri’s former charge Andrea Barzagli to suggest he’s as confused as everyone else about how things will play out.

“I have the feeling that Juventus will change, but who knows, perhaps the Coppa Italia could make them change their mind,” he told DAZN. “I have this feeling, but I haven’t talked to anyone.”

This will-he won’t-he saga is likely to play out for a few weeks yet, but the next week will at least clear one thing up – whether Allegri has achieved his stated aims for the season or not.

Time will tell if completing those objectives will be enough to earn the coach the right to see out his final year, or if the damage has already been done in this dismal second half of the season.

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