EPL

How can Sarri take Juventus to the next level?

By Sports Desk June 16, 2019

Maurizio Sarri has landed the biggest job of his career having swapped Chelsea for Juventus and his planning for the new season starts immediately.

After taking the long road to the top of the game, instant success will be demanded of the 60-year-old former banker as Juve seek their ninth straight Serie A table.

Sarri's Napoli posed the strongest challenge to Juve in recent years and he will come up against fellow former Chelsea bosses Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti next term, with the Italians in charge of Inter and the Partenopei respectively.

Winning the league will be the least expected of Sarri at the Allianz Stadium, but what does he need to do to improve on the work done by predecessor Massimiliano Allegri?


Keep Ronaldo happy

Cristiano Ronaldo's first season at Juve was relatively successful - he scored 28 goals in all competitions including a Champions League hat-trick to down Atletico Madrid - but Sarri will hope there is more to come.

The 34-year-old was outscored by Duvan Zapata, Krzysztof Piatek and Fabio Quagliarella in Serie A, but, under Sarri at Napoli, Gonzalo Higuain plundered 36 league goals in the 2015-16 season and the new Juve coach will hope Ronaldo can achieve a similar return next term.

Of course, Higuain could well be back at Juve next season as, with Sarri gone after a single campaign at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are highly unlikely to trigger their option to either buy the striker or extend his loan for another season despite their transfer ban.

Juggling Ronaldo, Higuain, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala promises to be one of the major challenges facing Sarri.


Win - and with attacking football

Barring outliers such as a 6-0 mauling by Manchester City, results for Sarri at Chelsea were broadly good, but it was his style of football many fans did not like.

Although he brought midfield conductor Jorginho with him from Napoli, Chelsea supporters felt Sarri's side played too slowly in possession, dominating the ball but without incision.

It was strange, though, as Sarri built one of the most exciting teams in world football at Napoli, where Jorginho played the same role. Perhaps at Juve he will have players who are suited to a more entertaining style.


Decide Dybala's future

Should Sarri decide to keep Higuain at Juve, the player to lose out could be Dybala. Last season was difficult for the Argentina forward as he only started 24 league games, the lowest total of his four seasons at the club.

Dybala's relationship with Allegri was frosty and reports have suggested Sarri would be willing to swap the 25-year-old for Mauro Icardi, whose relationship with Inter broke down last term after he was stripped of the captaincy.


Establish new long-term defence

Juve have an aging squad and freshening it up will be on Sarri's shoulders as he signed a three-year deal. 

Andrea Barzagli has retired and, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci having a combined age of 66, Sarri cannot rely on the duo long term.

Daniele Rugani will likely enjoy more minutes in 2019-20 after starting 15 Serie A games last term, with the 24-year-old an obvious successor to Barzagli, but Sarri has big calls to make at full-back as well as in the middle of his defence.

Joao Cancelo is reportedly a target for Manchester City while Alex Sandro has also been linked with leaving. Reports have claimed the Brazil left-back could be offered to Manchester United as a makeweight, along with Dybala, in a deal to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin.


End wait for European glory

Allegri's Juve dominated domestically but they continually fell short in Europe, so there is no doubt where the improvements need to be made by Sarri.

Juve have not won the Champions League since 1996, losing five times in the final since then, while Sarri led Chelsea to the Europa League title last term.

Ultimately, it would not matter much if Ronaldo was unhappy, Dybala remains unsettled and the football was uninspiring were Juve to lift the trophy in Istanbul next year.

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