The List Of Candidates To Replace Juventus Coach Luigi Del Neri(Goal.com)

Come the summer, Luigi Del Neri will no longer be the coach of Juventus. It may well happen sooner, but it won't happen any later. With 10 points to make up on fourth-placed Lazio, the failure to reach next year’s Champions League is looking increasingly like a foregone conclusion. Only a miracle of Castel di Sangro proportions would see them qualify now.

Del Neri will rightly pay for the inability to lead them to Europe’s top table by finding himself jobless. With his side having practically mirrored last season’s debacle under first Ciro Ferrara and then Alberto Zaccheroni, the supposed revolution which was to be led by sporting director Giuseppe Marotta has borne no fruit in terms of sporting success.

On the pitch they have at times been a shambles, with Del Neri playing his best player, Giorgio Chiellini, out of position to cover the fact that the club cannot boast two decent full-backs from a pool of seven in their squad.

Elsewhere, many of the club’s summer signings have fallen short of the mark: Leonardo Bonucci has been hit more than miss, but not by much, Fabio Quagliarella excelled but has been too badly missed since picking up a serious knee injury, and Alberto Aquilani has complemented Felipe Melo well in midfield but the club consider Liverpool’s €16 million asking price too steep to keep him on.

Men such as Simone Pepe, Marco Motta and Jorge Martinez have not lived up to the billing when called upon, and winter purchases Andrea Barzagli and Luca Toni have hardly started much better, with the jury still out on Alessandro Matri.

Amidst all the below-par performances, Del Neri has appeared clueless in the quest for answers. Though victories have been attained over Milan and Inter, the ex-Sampdoria gaffer has failed to muster the enthusiasm within his squad to overcome the likes of Palermo, Bologna, Chievo and – unforgettably – Parma.

If the inevitable does happen and Juve finish fifth or lower, by the summer of 2012 one of the grandest names in world football will have competed in only one Champions League knockout tie in six years. That kind of statistic will just not do, and the list of candidates being drawn up by the peninsula’s press is in keeping with the traditions of the club. A mix of ex-Bianconeri legends and current coaching behemoths makes for exactly the type of shortlist one used to associate with the club, and it is important that the Old Lady goes down a familiar road in the search for a renaissance. No more Del Neris. No more Zaccheronis. Now is the time for the management to choose wisely, or face yet more years in the doldrums.


Fabio Capello 64 Milan (twice), Real Madrid (twice), Roma, Juventus, England (current)

When Capello was first asked about taking the England head coaching role, he said he was the “right age” to move into international football, and has intimated more than once that the Three Lions job will be his last. But Don Fabio loves nothing more than a challenge. He’s already walked the same gauntlet twice with Milan and Real Madrid, so isn’t averse to attempting to recreate past success, but he may think twice before leaving his current post midway through a qualifying campaign.

Arsene Wenger 61 Nancy-Lorraine, Monaco, Grampus Eight, Arsenal (current)

One of the most revered coaches in world football today, the Frenchman has built a stunning reputation in almost 15 years at Arsenal. His haul of 11 trophies tells only part of the story as he has transformed a club notorious for their dour and functional approach to football into perhaps the second most watchable side on the continent. His failure to capture any silverware in the last six years has led to some question marks over his Arsenal future, and if Juve can pull on that thread they could well persuade him to take one last big challenge.

Luciano Spalletti 51 Empoli, Sampdoria, Venezia, Udinese (twice), Ancona, Roma, Zenit St. Petersburg (current)

A man known for his love of free-flowing football, Spalletti would likely jump at the chance of leading the Bianconeri. After taking Udinese to the Champions League, he turned Roma into the peninsula’s most eye-catching outfit, winning a pair of Coppe Italia at a time when they had no centre-forwards to speak of. Since being fired by the Giallorossi he has collected a Russian league and cup double to further boost his reputation as one of Italy’s best coaches. It is surely only a matter of time before he returns home for another tilt at the Scudetto.

Antonio Conte 41 Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta, Siena (current)

As a player with Juventus, Conte won it all. Fifteen trophies were collected in 13 years as a Bianconero, and his succession to the head coach role is widely seen as a question of when, rather than if. He was originally expected to take the job in 2009, as Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal coincided with Conte leaving Bari after leading them to promotion to Serie A, but a short stint at Atalanta followed instead and he is now leading Siena in their battle to return to the top flight. One of Juve’s true club men, this summer may be his time.

Marcello Lippi 62 Pontedera, Siena, Pistoiese, Carrarese, Cesena, Lucchese, Atalanta, Napoli, Juventus(twice), Inter, Italy (twice)

Having already won 13 trophies with the club in two previous spells, the lure to go back a third time will not be easy to turn down. His appeal with the fans is without question after they sang his name before the end of Saturday’s defeat. He also has a point to prove after a disastrous second shot at World Cup glory with Italy. Some have linked him with a technical director role should Conte taking the coaching position.

Gianluca Vialli 46 Chelsea, Watford

Having won a then club record five trophies in only two-and-a-half years with Chelsea, Vialli was sacked by the notorious Ken Bates before dipping his toe in deeper waters with English Championship side Watford. He explained that he wanted to measure himself “in a different reality” but it was one in which he failed. He has since become a much-respected pundit for Sky Sport, but memories of his glittering playing history with Juventus and the prospect of repeating such success could persuade him to have one last attempt at coaching before swearing it off completely as a career path.

Andre Villas-Boas 33 Academica, Porto (current)

The wildcard. If there’s one coach that seemingly every club in the world wants right now it is Jose Mourinho. And if they don’t want him specifically, they want somebody like him. Villas-Boas bears all the hallmarks so far, as he too was taken under the wing of the late Sir Bobby Robson despite boasting no professional playing career. He then worked under the ‘Special One’ himself at Porto, Chelsea and Inter before stepping into coaching in his own right. His Porto side's unbeaten league record this season with just nine rounds to go is one of Europe's most impressive returns.

















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