Antonio Conte has led Juventus to a second successive Serie A title, but could the Italian be lured away from his beloved Turin in the summer?
Having won the Scudetto without losing a single match last season, such an achievement was always going to be hard to follow this term. But although they have lost four matches this time round, the Bianconeri have delivered again having wrapped up their 29th title on Sunday courtesy of a Arturo Vidal penalty against Palermo.
With three more games to play, Juve are just a point behind their total tally of last season. And if they pick up maximum points against Atalanta, Cagliari and Sampdoria, they will break their club record of 91 points which was achieved under Fabio Capello in 2005/06, although they were stripped off the title due to the Calciopoli scandal.
Conte, who has already tied up the free transfer signing of Spain international striker Fernando Llorente, will now be setting his sights on an attempt at the Champions League next season. Despite all their glory at home, this is an honour they have only ever won twice, which is a surprisingly small number considering the size of the club.
There has been speculation over the future of the 43-year-old in recent weeks, with Chelsea and Paris St Germain both said to have added him to their list of potential options. And although his preference would be to remain at Juve, where he also spent 13 years as a player, he could consider other options unless their ambitions match his own.
“Antonio Conte the man wants to stay 100%,” said Conte, who won 20 caps for Italy as a midfielder. “Then there’s the professional who, as usually happens at the end of the season, needs to sit down and speak, out of respect for the fans, for the club, for the players.”
Conte knows that whilst his side are dominant in Italy, they are still some way short of being the best in Europe, as he openly admits: “We must be very realistic to see what we are capable of doing and where we can end up. I remember the moment we went out against Bayern Munich [in the quarter-finals], we were inundated with criticism from people saying we weren`t up to the task. Every now and then in football you have to sit back, relax and admit the other team was stronger. We doff our hats to Bayern.”
So when he sits down with president Andrea Agnelli, he will likely seek assurances that he will have cash to spend in the summer so he can add to the Llorente capture. Otherwise, although his current contract runs for another two years, he may decide that his best chance of winning the Champions League lies elsewhere.