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Exactly one year ago it seemed impossible to imagine Juventus back at the highest levels of Italian soccer. The Italian giants seemed to be in the middle of the perfect storm of crises, from a financial scandal that forced the club's former board to resign to a handful of individual issues affecting the current roster, everywhere Juventus fans looked, the wheels seemed to be coming off.

But a funny thing happened at the same time the circus descended in Turn. Massimiliano Allegri, in his second stint on the sideline, never stopped working, demonstrating a steadfast belief that this team had the potential to overcome the issues it faced. And you know what? He was right. 

Juventus are now competing with Inter for the Serie A title and will face the Nerazzurri on Sunday for the Derby d'Italia that could be a crucial turning point for the 2023-24 season. Let's take a look back at how the club and Allegri made this turn around happen. 

Former Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, one of the masterminds behind the first Super League project in 2021, was the one that in that summer called Allegri back to the club, two years after his departure. Allegri became a more crucial figure for the club after signing a long term deal until 2025, with more power inside the club especially after former director Fabio Paratici left the club to sign with Tottenham. Allegri obtained what he wanted and ended up fourth in the league in his first season in charge, but things changed dramatically in November 2022 when the whole club's board resigned after Juventus went under scrutiny by prosecutors for false accounting and market manipulation.

Chaos reigns in during the 2022-23 season

After a long trial after multiple charges and points deducted, overturned, and then deducted again during the 2022-23 season, Juventus faced a 10-point deduction in the standings for the capital gains scandal but also avoided further deductions after reaching an agreement with the Italian sports justice bodies in which the Italian club had to pay a fine of €718,000 for the salary maneuvers case, but also then declined to appeal the 10-point deduction they had been assessed. Later, in the summer of 2023, UEFA banned Juventus from competing in the European competitions in the 2023-24 season, after the Bianconeri qualified to play in the UEFA Conference League after ending up seventh in the table. Without the points deduction, Juventus would have qualified to play Champions League soccer last season, ending up fourth with 72 points last year. So despite all the controversies the team remained competitive. 

Despite the chaos and the off the pitch issues, Allegri kept his positive attitude and trusted that his team was built to win the title during his comeback at the club. His attitude changed and he embraced the roll of the underdogs of the league, despite a roster that sees players such as Adrien Rabiot, Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic among others. In the summer of 2023 the new board appointed former Napoli sport director Cristiano Giuntoli, who became the man in charge of restructuring the team, despite the financial issues following the ban from UEFA that forced Juventus to not play European competition this season.

Making the best of what they had

Giuntoli was honest with the media and the fans since his first day at the club, and openly spoke about Vlahovic as a potential candidate to leave Juventus in the summer. This is why he was also part of the discussion with Chelsea for a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku, but after initial talks the English side decided against signing Vlahovic. The Serbian striker, who arrived from Fiorentina in winter 2022, had a difficult season last year due to some injuries that affected him, and not many believed that he could be back at his level as he's showing every single game now. 

Because of all the difficulties, Juventus had to work with the players they already signed, and called back some loanees like United States men's national team midfielder Weston McKennie, who is now one of the key players of the team. Allegri worked well with what he already had, and was able to improve the defensive performances of the team, the real secret behind the success of the current season. In fact, Juventus have only conceded 13 goals in 22 games so far, and only Inter have conceded less (10 in 21 games). 

The 2023-24 season started, but new scandals emerged and again affected the club. Italian anti-doping prosecutors confirmed that they are seeking the maximum ban of four years against Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba after he tested positive for heightened levels of testosterone after a game against Udinese in August 2023. Since returning to Juve as a free agent in the summer 2022, Pogba has only played in eight Serie A games across the last two seasons on top of a police investigation into alleged extortion attempts against him involving older brother Mathias. Pogba is currently not available and not training with his club, waiting for a decision and the sport trial that should take place in the coming weeks. 

On top of Pogba's scandal, Juventus had to deal with the one of Nicolò Fagioli, who is suspended until May 2024 after the Italian midfielder admitted he personally placed bets on illegal platforms on soccer games. The 22-year-old reached an agreement with the Italian FA Prosecutor for a 12-month suspension, with five months being commuted to "alternative prescriptions." Fagioli will basically miss the rest of the 2023-24 season, but he faced a longer suspension (at least three years) but decided to collaborate with authorities after he was investigated and saw his ban reduced, similarly to what happened elsewhere with Sandro Tonali, who will also miss the rest of the 2023-24 campaign with Newcastle for the same reasons. 

Despite that, Juventus are at the top of the table now, only one point behind Inter. This is a tremendous success, especially considering what the club had to face in the past twelve months. From the capital gains trial and the former board resigning to the suspensions of two key players on the current roster. Apart from what will happen on the field between today and the end of the season, it's almost certain that we will have Juventus back in the UEFA Champions League next year, which, given all the upheaval is a remarkable accomplishment. But winning the Scudetto would probably be considered as one of the most incredible and unexpected achievements in the club's history. If they beat Inter on Sunday, there's a real chance they could pull it off.

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Sunday, Feb. 4 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
  • Location: San Siro -- Milan, Italy
  • Live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: Inter -125; Draw: +240; Juventus +380