Massimiliano Allegri

Who are the favorites to replace Emery at Arsenal?

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Following news of Unai Emery’s firing as Arsenal manager, the club announced that its search for a new manager is already underway.

[ MORE: Unai Emery fired by Arsenal ]

With the Gunners set to face Norwich City in Premier League action on Sunday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), interim manager Freddie Ljungberg is almost certain to take charge of at least one game before Emery’s successor takes the reins.

According to reports, Arsenal had previously contacted Jose Mourinho as a potential replacement for Emery, in the event they decided to make a change. Following Mourinho’s appointment as new Tottenham Hotspur boss a week ago, some figures at Arsenal are said to be upset at missing out on the Portuguese.

[ MORE: Emery: “We are better than we are showing” ]

Below is a look at the current bookmakers’ favorites to replace Emery at Arsenal, listed in the order of who is favorite.

  • Massimiliano Allegri (unemployed) – The clear-cut favorite, at almost even odds. The thinking here would be that Allegri is a proven winner (five Serie A titles and four Italian Cups at Juventus), but so was Emery when he was hired (three straight Europa League titles). He’s been out of a job since leaving Juve at the end of last season and has been linked with every major managerial job since then.
  • Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – Unlike Allegri, Santo is a proven PL manager, only he comes without the same (read: any) winning pedigree of the Italian. After guiding Wolves to the EFL Championship title in 2018, he then took them to a seventh-place finish (and UEL qualification) in the PL last season.
  • Mikel Arteta (Manchester City, assistant) – Previously an Arsenal player (2011-2016) and now an assistant under Pep Guardiola, Arteta has been linked with a number of high-profile jobs in the last two years, including Arsenal back when Emery was hired. For him, it’ll likely hinge upon the succession plan at Man City: Guardiola never stays at one club for too long, so does Arteta believe he’ll be given a chance to take over?
  • Mauricio Pochettino (unemployed) – Pochettino has long since claimed he will never manage two clubs — Barcelona and Arsenal — out of principle after managing rivals Espanyol and Tottenham Hotspur. Alas, the bookmakers can’t help themselves from stirring the pot in north London.
  • Rafael Benitez  (Dalian Yifang) – Potentially a very sensible, if slightly underwhelming, option. Reports have him leaving China very soon, at the end of the Chinese Super League season. If nothing else, Benitez would get Arsenal defending and make them highly functional, if lacking the kind of flair that fans have come to expect.
  • Carlo Ancelotti (Napoli) – Somewhat out of left field, but potentially available for no compensation after a rough start to his second season at Napoli (seventh place, 15 points back of leaders Juve).
  • Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) – Forever tabbed a long-odds option, because the bookmakers need an English name to add to the list.

Who are the favorites to replace Pochettino at Tottenham?

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Mauricio Pochettino was fired by Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday in a shock move by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

Who’s next?

[ MORE: Pochettino paid the price for Levy’s mistakes ]

Spurs host West Ham United in a massive London derby this Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and it will be intriguing to see if the new man in charge will be in the dugout.

Tottenham must already have someone lined up, or at least someone in mind, to pull the plug on Pochettino after his five year spell in charge of the north London club totally transformed their fortunes.

Some huge managers are the early frontrunners for the now vacant position with Pochettino’s close friend, Jose Mourinho, the overwhelming favorite to take charge of Tottenham. Eddie Howe and Brendan Rodgers have both been linked with the position as they continue to work wonders at Bournemouth and Leicester City respectively, although it would be tough to imagine Rodgers would leave Leicester given their incredible start to the season. Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo is also a contender, but given the financial backing he has received he may stay at Molineux for the time being.

[ MORE: Social media reacts to Poch exit ]

Looking to Europe, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is a name which keeps cropping up, while Max Allegri is out of work and he ran a tight ship at Juventus, plus he has not been hiding his desire to work in the Premier League. Julian Nagelsmann has only just taken charge of RB Leipzig so it would be strange for him to bail out on that new project, while Rafael Benitez could certainly be lured to return from the Chinese Super League but that would be a left-field choice.

All signs point to Mourinho or Allegri…

Below is a look at the current bookmakers favorites to replace Pochettino at Spurs, listed in the order of who is favorite.

  • Jose Mourinho – Red-hot favorite. Knows how to win trophies and is the short-term solution. Is he the right man to take Spurs to the ‘next level’ whatever that is?
  • Massimiliano Allegri – Did a wonderful job at both AC Milan and Juventus and is capable of building strong defensive teams which also have attacking flair. Currently out of work and is keen to work in England. If it’s not Mourinho, has to be him.
  • Eddie Howe – Out of the contenders currently in the PL, Howe seems the most likely. He may have taken Bournemouth as far as he can and this would be a natural progression. Tough to see it happening though.
  • Brendan Rodgers – If Leicester weren’t second in the PL table he’d be the leading contender. But with the Foxes flying, tough to see Rodgers leaving them on the cusp of a historic season.
  • Erik Ten Hag – Has said he wants to stay at Ajax until the end of the current season and Bayern Munich are chasing him hard. An outsider.
  • Julian Nagelsmann – As we mentioned, just arrived at RB Leipzig and the young coach is ambitious but seems keen to remain in Germany. For now.
  • Rafael Benitez – This would make sense for a short-term appointment to steady the ship as Benitez has so much experience and he’s won trophies. Spurs would have to pay him a ton to leave China and this just doesn’t seem like the right time in his career or the right move for Spurs.
  • Nuno Espirito Santo – An interesting outsider as Wolves have been superb over the past three seasons since he arrived in England. Like Pochettino when he arrived from Southampton, Santo is a manager on an upward curve. That worked out pretty well for Spurs last time…

Reports claim Allegri linked with Manchester United, Spurs

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The international break can be a slow time for news, but what to make of multiple reports claiming that Max Allegri is in discussion with a pair of struggling traditional Premier League powers?

Tuttosport claims that Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have interest in hiring the Italian manager, adding that United has had “intensified” contact with him.

[ MORE: Monster deal for Mbappe? ]

Noise out of Old Trafford continues to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while there is no real buzz that Mauricio Pochettino is on the verge of leaving Spurs.

The 52-year-old Allegri has won Serie A once with AC Milan and five times with Juventus, claiming a Serie C title with Sassuolo in 2007-08.

Is there anything to it? He’d be a great hire for either side. In United’s case, he’d be a marked upgrade on their current boss.

Allegri to leave Juventus

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Massimiliano Allegri will be stepping down as the head coach of Juventus.

Allegri, 51, has won five-straight Serie A titles with Juve but has come up short in the UEFA Champions League, reaching the final in 2014-15 and 2016-17 but lost to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

In a brief statement on their website, Juve confirmed that Allegri “will not be on the Juventus bench for the 2019-2020 season” and have called a press conference for Saturday where Allegri will speak alongside club president Andrea Agnelli.

The former Sassuolo, Cagliari and AC Milan manager has enjoyed a glittering spell in charge of Juve, winning five league titles and four Italian cups with a record-breaking four-straight domestic doubles from 2014 to 2018, but his aim was to lead Juve to their first UCL title since 1995-96. He came up just short in that quest, but with Juve spending wisely and building off their veteran defensive base, they have been a mainstay in Europe’s elite over the last six years and their model has been admired.

With Cristiano Ronaldo now on board, Juve spent big to try and clinch UCL glory this season but they were knocked out of the competition by upstarts Ajax at the quarterfinal stage.

Allegri didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when it came to the recent comments regarding Juventus striker Moise Kean being subjected to racist abuse in a Serie A game, and with the pressure building on him following Champions League failure, now seems like a natural time to part.

What next for Allegri?

He has been linked with the biggest jobs in Europe in the past, with Manchester United and Arsenal long-time admirers of the no-nonsense Italian coach. It remains to be seen where he will land but after his success at Juve there’s no doubt he won’t end up at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Allegri asks for lifetime bans after Kean racially abused

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Leonardo Bonucci didn’t exactly have his teammate’s back after Moise Kean was racially jeered following a goal in Juventus’ defeat of Cagliari.

Kean, who is black, scored an 85th minute goal to give the Serie A leaders a 2-0 lead.

The player was then racially abused by fans, with teammate Blaise Matuidi understandably offended and angry. And whereas Juve manager Max Allegri said fans needed to be banned for life when caught doing such things, Bonucci thinks blame lies on both side.

[ MORE: Messi, Suarez stun Villarreal ]

His comments are stunning stuff but also not out of character with the backwards racial incidents sometimes on display in Italian football. From Football-Italia:

“Kean knows that when he scores a goal, he has to focus on celebrating with his teammates. He knows he could’ve done something differently too,” Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia.

“There were racist jeers after the goal, Blaise heard it and was angered. I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn’t have done that and the Curva should not have reacted that way.”

50-50? We have to hope something’s been lost in translation.

Allegri did say that Kean shouldn’t have provoked the fans, but said, “That, of course, does not mean the idiots in the crowd and the way they reacted should be justified.”

Now you might agree, in a sense, that Kean provoked angry comments. But this wasn’t him being called a simple profane name or shouted that he stinks; There’s no excuse for tossing racial barbs in 2019. No excuse.

Kean, for what it’s worth, is understandably not in an apologetic mood, taking a page from Raheem Sterling.

 

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The best way to respond to racism 🦍 #notoracism 🚫

A post shared by K M B 9 🦍 (@moise_kean) on

To recap: In Bonucci’s book, spreading your arms on the touch line after being booed and getting monkey chants is cause enough to hear racial slurs. Cool, cool.

Can you imagine if Gareth Southgate or one of Sterling’s white English teammates hedged in their criticism of racial attacks on Sterling over the international break? Hardly, which is a true indictment on Bonucci and also something much larger than him.

See the goal after a description of the abuse, which came after Kean was booed all night.