Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has revealed that is continuing to learn English during his year off from football, which is sure to heighten speculation that he is preparing himself for a job in the Premier League next season when he returns to the game.
Allegri left Juventus last summer after winning five consecutive Serie A titles. He has been linked with jobs this season, but the Italian has now confirmed in an interview that it was always his intention to take a year off when his time in Turin ended.
“In June, I don’t know if you can call it a sabbatical or not, as soon as the relationship with Juventus came to an end the decision was to take a year out,” he told ESPN.
As a result of his trophy record in Italy, Allegri has established himself as one of the biggest managerial names in Europe. He has been linked with several Premier League sides at various times, including Chelsea and Manchester United, and more recently Tottenham and Arsenal.
Were he to move to England in summer, the clear and obvious job would be Arsenal, who sacked Unai Emery in late November. It has already been pointed out that Allegri’s English skills could be an issue, with Emery also finding communication to be a problem.
But the former AC Milan coach is having lessons and believes he is improving.
“I am taking [English] lessons here in Milan,” he explained.
“I manage to speak quite well. I find the listening part a bit more difficult. If I'm talking to someone who helps me out by speaking a little slower then I understand. I watch films [in English] and if I read something in English I understand it fine.”
Arsenal are rumoured to have already started interviewing their first candidates to find a new permanent manager and are said to be focusing on those who are currently available.
Allegri falls under that, although it remains to be seen whether he would cut short his sabbatical to take over before the end of the season. It is certainly plausible that Arsenal could leave interim Freddie Ljungberg in charge until the summer, although early results have not been promising.