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23 Mar, 2021 12:00

Juventus ‘priced out of big-name replacements like Klopp and Guardiola’ if club legend Andrea Pirlo is shown the door – reports

Juventus ‘priced out of big-name replacements like Klopp and Guardiola’ if club legend Andrea Pirlo is shown the door – reports

Andrea Pirlo could pay the price for Juventus' tepid Serie A title defense but the club reportedly fear that underwhelming finances will rule them out of catching top potential replacements such as Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola.

Pirlo, 41, seems destined to become the first Juve boss in a decade to fail to bring the Italian top title to the club's Allianz Stadium, with the Old Lady now 10 points behind runaway leaders Inter Milan with 11 games remaining on the seasonal schedule. 

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Legendary midfield playmaker Pirlo played 164 times in the black and white of Juve, helping the club to four of their recent run of Scudetti, but his stewardship of team affairs has been blamed in some quarters for Juventus' often underwhelming performances. 

Further pressure was heaped on Pirlo last weekend when they suffered a dispiriting 1-0 home defeat to Serie A strugglers Benevento, as well as their recent ousting from the Champions League at the hands of Porto.

According to Italian publication La Repubblica, Pirlo retains the support of chairman Andrea Agnelli in the short term - but club insiders are nonetheless concerned that their financial affairs will rule them out of approaches for top targets such as Klopp and Guardiola, should they show Pirlo the door.  

This comes after Juventus announced losses of more than €113 million ($155 million) for the first six months of the 2020-21 season.

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It is thought that Pirlo's job remains safe until the end of the season but the La Repubblica report states that if results continue to trend downwards, Pirlo could be relieved of his position and his assistant Igor Tudor could be installed as a temporary replacement.

With Klopp and Guardiola ruled out, Juventus bosses are thought to have turned their attention to the trio of Gian Piero Gasperini, Luciano Spalletti and Simone Inzaghi to fill the managerial void.

Gasperini has impressed as boss of Atalanta, a team who have performed significantly above expectations across the past two seasons. Experienced boss Spalletti is the man credited with guiding Inter Milan to what would be their first Italian title since Jose Mourinho achieved the same feat in 2010.

Inzaghi, meanwhile, is the boss of seventh-placed Lazio.

Former boss Massimiliano Allegri is thought to have ruled out a return due to a poor relationship with some members of the club's hierarchy.

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Pirlo, though, knows that he has a fight on his hands to ensure that his first managerial appointment doesn't end in the ignominy of his ousting from the club at which he is considered one of its best-ever players. 

That stars on April 3 against Torino - and then through practically every game until the end of what has been a thoroughly disappointing campaign for a team to whom success has become second nature.