Luigi Del Neri is poised to take over the reins at Italian giants Juventus after stepping down from Sampdoria on Monday. After months of speculation of who will take on The Old Lady, the former FC Porto boss is the man in the frame to take the coveted hot seat which was left vacant following Ciro Ferrara’s dismissal earlier this year.
The Bianconeri have had a torrid campaign. They crashed out of the group stages of the Champions League and saw their Scudetto title challenge fail to take off. Ferrera was axed back in January after a Coppa Italia defeat to eventual winners Internazionale and was subsequently replaced by Alberto Zaaccheroni until the end of the season. A Europa league exit also followed at the hands of Fulham despite having a healthy aggregate lead over The Whites.
Juve’s season was compounded as they failed to qualify for next season Champions League and finished a disappointing seventh place which also saw them miss out on a Europa League play-off spot next term by four points as Napoli pipped them to the post. They will now have to play a 3rd qualifying round tie at the end of July, just two weeks after the World Cup final to advance to the play-off rounds. Their end of season form was nothing short of mediocre as they lost four of their last seven games.
Ironically Sampdoria, the club managed by Del Neri has qualified for next seasons Champions League after a fantastic campaign for the Genoa club where they will join fellow Italian sides Milan, Roma and Internazionale in European footballs holy grail.
The 59 year olds win percentage last season in Serie A was very impressive as he recorded 50% in his one and only season with The Blucerchiati.
Now he’s poised to wake up a sleeping giant and bring back the glory days to The Vecchia Signora that has won twenty-seven league championships. Speaking to Turin based newspaper Tuttosport, the former Chievo boss is under no illusion that a club of the size of Juventus has to start achieving once again.
“Juve represents a point of departure or even one of arrival. At a club like Juve you are forced to carry great objectives.”
“I will have to be demanding with the players, with the club and with myself. It’s always a club that makes a coach great, not the contrary. If they have acquired me it’s because they know me.”
“In football, you win not because of a formation but thanks to organisation, winning mentality and quality.”
Stated the Italian.
Meanwhile speculation has mounted over Gianluigi Buffon’s future in recent weeks with a move to the Premier League being touted by some quarters of the media. The Italian number one has been at Juventus since his record breaking £23million move from Parma nine years ago. A record fee that is still intact to this day for the transfer of a goalkeeper. Del Neri knows that his new number one is fundamental to building a positive future for his new employers as he aims to keep onto one of his star names.
Del Neri said:
“I hope so (Buffon staying).”
“I will speak to him. Gigi is Italy’s goalkeeper. It wouldn’t be easy to replace him.”
“He is someone who can give a lot on the pitch and in the dressing for the ambition and the hunger for victories that accompanies him. Buffon and Del Piero represent a lot as you can imagine.”
Juventus are expected to officially announce the appointment of Del Neri later this week.