Massimiliano Allegri officially returned today to the Juventus’ training ground as he bids to restore the Turin-based side to champions of Italy.
Juventus’ nine-year domination of Serie A was brought to a sobering halt last season under rookie boss Andrea Pirlo and they were blown away by eventual champions Inter Milan.
Allegri, who returns to replace rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, now has the tricky task of galvanising a team confused by the tactical intricacies of Maurizio Sarri and the poor communication skills of Pirlo.
After returning to the training ground on Wednesday, Sportsmail picks out seven areas that Allegri must fix and improve to get Juventus back on top.
Massimiliano Allegri gave a wave as he was pictured arriving at Juventus training ground
The returning boss has a number of issues he must sort to make Juventus champions again
GET DYBALA ON SIDE
Paulo Dybala is among the most interesting players to Allegri because of his technical ability.
Had Pirlo been kept on by chairman Andrea Agnelli then Dybala, who is in the final 12 months of his contract, would likely have been moved on.
But with Allegri’s return meaning it is him calling the shots, Dybala’s future now appears to still be in Turin.
Talks are ongoing for a renewal of his contract are that could be finalised prior to the 2021-22 season, taking him through until 2026.
The case around Dybala is the first of many problems that Allegri will have to manage given the limited time available to him prior to the upcoming season.
Allegri seemingly wants to place Dybala as the focal point of the team’s tactical plan and that should be enough to convince him to remain.
The situation of Paulo Dybala’s contract and future is among the issues Allegri now has to sort
SZCZESNY’S POOR FORM
The Poland international was the worst goalkeeper of this European Championships and was memorably the cause of a sensational own goal against Slovakia.
But above all else, Szczesny has never managed to convey that air of calmness to his team-mates at Juventus, both in Serie A and in the Champions League where he was guilty of numerous mistakes.
Juventus have a player now who, when he arrived, was seen as a top player. His issue is that now he will have to work extremely hard to be considered irreplaceable by Allegri.
Italy’s hero at the Euros Gianluigi Donnarumma has chosen to go to France to join Paris Saint-Germain but talk of him heading to Turin will unquestionably have destabilised Szczesny.
With that possibility now over, Allegri will have to coax much better form out of the Poland goalkeeper if they are to have any chance of getting back on top.
Juventus icon Gianluigi Buffon’s exit and the absence of a mentor to help him deal with the next season could hinder his much-needed rebirth under the returning Allegri.
Time is running out and Juventus desperately need the old Szczesny back.
Wojciech Szczesny had a disastrous Euros and Allegri now needs to eek out his best form again
JUVENTUS NEED A NEW PJANIC
Juventus problems in midfield arguably reared their ugly head when they decided to send Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona in swap deal for Arthur Melo.
Since that moment the club has lost a fundamental point of reference in midfield, failing to fill the void left by Pjanic with a number of questionable choices signed post-haste.
Arthur does not seem suited to play the role of playmaker and above all he does not appear physically 100 per cent intact.
Rodrigo Bentancur was guilty of a number of mistakes when he played in front of the defense last season and has seen his stock take a sharp decline.
Allegri’s first step will be to decide who to entrust the midfield to and Manuel Locatelli, a potential signing from Sassuolo this summer, could be the right man for this team in this moment.
TIME TO UNLOCK DE LIGT’S POTENTIAL
The first thing to say is that Matthjis de Ligt is destined for a brilliant career.
He was headhunted from Ajax, where he was captain, but has seen his improvement stifled in two years in Italy.
De Ligt is one of Juventus’ biggest signings of the last 10 years and Allegri will be under pressure to make him a jewel in the defence for 2021-22.
A mixed European Championships will not have done much for the player’s confidence, either.
De Ligt is a cross between Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, both of whom were integral to Italy winning the Euros. He is good with the ball at his feet but he is not a defensive playmaker like some of his predecessors in Turin.
The issue focuses on the fact that De Ligt’s development has slowed down under Sarri and Pirlo and Allegri will have to be at his best in bringing him back to the top of his game.
Matthijs de Ligt (right) is a rising star but he has seen his development stagnate at Juventus
WHAT TO DO WITH CRISTIANO RONALDO?
Ronaldo sparks great excitement in many people but Allegri is not one to be dazzled by the Portuguese’s star power.
Allegri has always claimed his admiration for a fantastic – but not indispensable – player and at 36, Ronaldo is not the long-term future of Juventus’ attack.
According to ‘La Repubblica’, Allegri actually suggested to president Agnelli the sale of Ronaldo but was ignored prior to his departure first time round.
The Portuguese, who will earn €31million in the last 12 months of his contract, was mooted with potential returns to Real Madrid or Manchester United but it now appears more likely he finishes his Juventus deal.
In Turin they could do without his exorbitant salary but given he struck more than 40 goals last season he is also seen as indispensable in helping Juventus reduce the gap to Inter and AC Milan.
Allegri’s key is finding a system that can maximise Ronaldo without being to the detriment of others, such as Dybala.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in the final year of his Juventus deal and Allegri needs to utilise his talents
Juventus have a very serious problem in the role of full-backs.
Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado simply cannot continue to play 40 games a year and Danilo alone cannot always be a reliable reserve.
At this moment Luca Pellegrini is primed to be promoted as deputy to Sandro on the left wing but many Juventus fans fear that the young defender, who grew up in Rome, does not have the right physique to cut it at a top club.
Left back appears to be an area the club are looking to strengthen but given the price of targets, such as Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, the search has reportedly slowed down.
Gosens costs too much and there are no ready-made players standing out to Juventus for the wing-back roles..
The idea of retaining Mattia De Sciglio is tempting to Allegri but the future of the left wing will depend on the offers for the 28-year-old.
Juan Cuadrado has been a reliable servant at wing-back but he cannot continue with 40 games
MORATA, WHAT NOW?
Alvaro Morata is Juventus’ greatest enigma but given he is not going anywhere, Allegri needs to figure him out.
Morata’s Euros was largely negative, his mistakes in front of goal destroyed Spain’s hopes and it led to his talent being questioned.
With Dybala set to be handed a more prominent role and no apparent landing spot for Ronaldo, who finished top scorer in Italy last season, it is unclear where Morata fits into the puzzle.
Federico Chiesa, a star at the Euros, and Dejan Kulusevski appear more appealing options in the wide areas of a 4-3-3 and Morata is at risk of being one of the main casualties of Allegri.
Morata spent last season on loan in Turin from Atletico Madrid and Juventus came to an agreement that he can stay for another year.
The 28-year-old scored 20 goals across all competitions for Juventus last season.
His form is scrutinised after every game but having had an up and down career, he now needs to step up and deliver when it matters most for Allegri.