At first glance, Juventus acquisition of Maurizio Sarri as their new coach appears to be something of a marriage of convenience.
Despite enjoying success on the field, fans and media in England never really took to the Italian during his time at Chelsea, while Juventus need a steady hand at the wheel after Massimiliano Allegri’s exit.
It works out well for all parties, in spite of Sarri’s somewhat chequered history with the Bianconeri and their supporters – much of which will be if not forgotten then put in the past if can bring continued success to Turin.
After several seasons of overperforming on limited resources in comparison with those around him with Empoli and Napoli, Sarri showed what he can do when given a seat at the top table.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) June 20, 2019
He isn’t returning to Italy with his tail between his legs after a disappointing maiden campaign at Stamford Bridge – despite what some may have you believe.
In his only season in England, he delivered his ultimate remit of bringing Champions League football back to the Blues with a third place finish in a tightly-contested top half of the Premier League table.
Sarri also reached two cup finals. He came within one penalty shootout and an arrogant Kepa Arrizabalaga strop of ending Manchester City’s treble dreams in the League Cup, while delivering the Europa League with a win over Arsenal.
If there were any doubts about his abilities as a tactician before, they should be dispelled now and he is the ideal man to replace Allegri in the Allianz Stadium hot seat.
Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino would have been dream arrivals but they were never really available to Juventus and of the names remaining, Sarri was certainly the leading contender.
For all of the concerns about his Napoli history, his determination to stick to his philosophy and the fact that he just doesn’t seem a ‘Juventus fit’, there are more reasons to be positive about Sarri’s appointment than negative.
Quite simply, he is too good a coach and this is much too good a team for any kind of meltdown – much as fans of the rest might be hoping for it.
Good ball-playing defenders such as Leonardo Bonucci will feed the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi in midfield to get on the ball and make Sarri’s system in the first half of the field work.
He has players there who should be suited to what he wants to do and that is without even mentioning the fact that a man who likes to get the ball forward to do damage will have arguably the world’s best striker at his disposal.
This Juve side are a well-oiled machine. They didn’t flinch when Antonio Conte’s time in charge ended in tumultuous fashion.
The hard work simply continued under a new coach and you would expect that to happen again under Sarri, despite the concerns some may have about his suitability for the role.
In truth, that may be more wishful thinking than anything else for fans of fellow Serie A sides or simply neutrals who want to see the Bianconeri relinquish their crown after winning the Scudetto for eight straight seasons.
Sarri should be able to keep the domestic success the Old Lady supporters have been accustomed to going but it is the pursuit of their bigger goal that does raise eyebrows somewhat with his arrival.
He may have finally won the first major trophy of his career last season by guiding Chelsea to continental glory but they were by far and away the biggest hitter in the Europa League and it was no major surprise to see them win it.
Winning the Champions League will be a whole other ball game and he has no track record to speak of when it comes to showing that he is the man to end Juve’s long wait for success in the competition.
After all, that is what he is going to be judged on. Cristiano Ronaldo’s window is only open for a short time and he represents the best chance the Bianconeri have of getting their hands on the big-eared trophy.
The man who made his name in the financial world should continue to stockpile the domestic trophies for Juventus – just don’t bank on him pulling off the win they all want.