Milan (AFP) – The prospect of Massimiliano Allegri following Chelsea manager Antonio Conte to the Premier League appear on the increase as Juventus travel to Cagliari on Sunday looking to tighten their grip on Serie A.
Conte led the Turin giants to three consecutive league titles before Allegri took over the helm when former Juventus midfielder Conte took charge of Italy for Euro 2016.
Juventus hold a seven-point lead on title rivals Roma with Napoli in third at nine points adrift and Allegri is well on his way to securing a record-setting sixth consecutive scudetto.
But already, rumours are swirling.
Allegri confirmed weeks ago he is learning English and when asked specifically about reported interest from Premier League clubs he said earlier this week: “I’m not confirming and I’m not denying.”
Reports suggesting Allegri could be the long-term replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal might be premature, but they appeared the same day Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri denied having met Juventus officials. Sarri, who steered Napoli to second spot in his first season in charge last term when former club striker Gonzalo Higuain hit a new league record of 36 goals, has a new contract until 2020 waiting to be signed.
But he said: “I don’t have time to think about the (new) contract. All I can tell you is I’ve called my lawyer to find out whether to sue the person who wrote that I met with (officials from) Juventus.
“This is completely false.”
With or without the rumours, Juventus look unstoppable in Italy.
Allegri’s men swept aside a battling Inter Milan to win 1-0 last week and moved further ahead with a 2-0 win at Crotone, postponed due to the Italian Super Cup final, in midweek.
Inter are still smarting and host Empoli hoping to get back to winning ways without the triple attacking threat of Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic.
Croatia midfielder Perisic was shown a straight red card for insulting the referee and was banned for two games.
Icardi was handed the same sanction for launching a foul-mouthed tirade at the referee, as well as kicking the ball at him, without hitting him.
Inter have appealed the sanctions and are expected to have an answer before Sunday’s afternoon kick-off, when coach Stefano Pioli will also be without Brozovic after he suffered a broken toe in Turin.
City rivals AC Milan travel to Lazio on Monday buoyed by a precious 1-0 midweek win at Bologna, with nine men, which ended a run of three defeats.