Alrighty then, picture this if you will…
It all started with Aurelio De Laurentiis’ tweet “Benvenuto Max, adesso siamo tutti Allegri” followed by an emotional phone call between Gonzalo Higuain and his former mentor Maurizio Sarri. And after mass hysteria on social media, the teams finally moved on to the formal announcements:
Napoli’s press conference:
While Tommaso Starace was going to miss bringing espresso to his now former boss (who would inevitably light a cigarette to go with it), even he could fill the buzz in the air. This appointment felt like the next step in Napoli’s evolution. While the partenopei had the longest streak of qualification to European competitions in Serie A, the club was ready to become a consistent winner- even at the expense of champagne football.
President De Laurentiis spoke first
: ”This is a very exciting moment for the club, today we want to show our ambition to the entire world by introducing our new manager Massimilano Allegri, someone who received offers from numerous prestigious clubs in England and who has dominated on the national level in the past few years.
“Last season we tried doing something truly historic, some would say even cinematic. We wanted to win our first title in over 25 years while also ending the stereotype that Serie A is boring and defensive- we made enormous sacrifices to keep the band together and bring back Koulibaly, Ghoulam, Jorginho, Mertens and Insigne. I thank them for believing so much in our project that they all agreed to make the scudetto pact with us.
"I know many of you mocked us for our approach in Europe, but we wanted to have no regrets in a pursuit of a Serie A title we knew would mean so much to our fan base and even to the league as a whole.
“But now we are taking the pragmatic approach we took by focusing solely on the Italian league a step further- we decided that if we can’t beat Juventus on our own, we’ll just take their manager by making him an offer he can’t refuse. I know what you are thinking, I can assure you he and Ambra Angiolini didn't wake up with a horse’s head on their bed- we just offered Max Allegri the opportunity to go down as one of the greatest Italian managers ever- winning here, especially against his former team, is likely the only way he’ll be mentioned alongside the all time greats”
Allegri then made his statement
: “It’s true, I had a few offers to go to the Premier League in recent years, but my Tuscan accent just wouldn't sound as good in English- and believe me I tried it out during those courses I supposedly took. All joking aside, since many kept saying that I was winning in large part because of what Conte had left me in Turin, and previously because of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva at Milan- I decided to come here by the Amalfi coast to show everyone I can anywhere in Italy”
A reporter then asked if he planned on changing his defensive style to make it more appealing for Napoli’s great attackers to stay long term: “Well that would almost defeat the purpose of me coming here no? I really enjoyed competing against Sarri, but unless you have a squad like the one Sacchi had at Milan or Pep Guardiola currently leads at Manchester City, it’s almost impossible to do so- especially when facing a team built to win like the Juventus I coached in recent years”
Juventus’ press conference:
Many of the reporters huddled up before the press conference were wondering if this move was more surreal than Juventus paying Gonzalo Higuain’s massive exit clause. While there wasn't a general consensus, they all agreed that the bianconeri in recent years had certainly kept them on their toes when you also considered Bonucci’s transfer to Milan.
President Andrea Agnelli stepped up to the podium
, before making his statement he mocked his new manager Sarri for looking so awkward with a shirt, tie and blazer rather than his trademark jump suit: ”Thank you for coming today, I’m sure many of you are shocked by this appointment but we had already given you plenty of hints in recent years.
"First we signed Sarri’s favourite player Gonzalo Higuain, we then shifted our focus from our defence to offence by adding Douglas Costa, Bernardeschi to an offence that already featured Dybala, Mandzukic and Cuadrado.
"By adding the best offensive mind in Italy we also want to make it less likely that are best offensive players will want to leave in the near future, especially the player who likes to wear a mask after scoring a goal.
“We gave you another big hint with our decision to get closer to our fans across the world by significantly bolstering our social media’s imprint. Of course we did so mainly to bolster our brand internationally, but this is also an effective way to listen to our fans’ feedback. We kept hearing that winning wasn't enough, and that we had to do it while applying attractive football.
"Our fans were very clear, they were frustrated by the approach we displayed in most matches so we took action bringing in Sarri.
“Once we decided to move on from Allegri because quite frankly, his style was too boring for our fans, we knew that we wanted a great offensive mind while also maintaining our tradition with Italian managers. Since the 1970’s we’ve only had two foreigners lead out our team from the bench, and while we now have many international stars on our squad, we wanted to stay with the Italian school at least at the coaching level."
Sarri takes the stand: “I’ve only had to dress like this for Napoli’s Christmas party since my days as a bank manager, when I would work on numbers during the day and with amateur players at night. But it’s important, I know I’ve been very rough around the edges with some of my statements with the media, but now I want to try to fit into the Stile Juve.
“I’m also looking forward to working at a club with significant revenues, as you know I have a financial background- and it was getting tiresome to have to explain to journalists that the reason I wasn’t winning had nothing to do with my coaching philosophy, but simply a matter of competing against a much richer opponent. So now that the tables have been turned, I wish Allegri the best of luck."
After his opening statement was out of the way, Sarri was asked if he planned on tweaking his offensive style now that there were higher expectations for him to deliver trophies: ”I’m glad you asked, I haven’t decided what exactly I’ll do. I could try to build my version of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City here in Vinovo, or I could go another route.
"Someone told me about this dopey article on how my Napoli was like Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns, what a ridiculous comparison, but that gave me an idea- D’Antoni recently changed his style, and now he has an NBA ring with the Houston Rockets after unseating both the Warriors and Lebron James- maybe I’ll follow that path”
This is a pure work of fiction, but if you know where first line of the article comes from then one thing is for certain- we could be friends.