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Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri says he will not be returning to management until the summer, ruling out the possibility of taking over at Arsenal midway through the season.
The Italian – who won five straight Serie A titles during his time in Turin – has been out of work since the end of last season and is one of the main contenders to take over from Unai Emery full-time at the Emirates.
Freddie Ljungberg has been handed the role on an interim basis while Arsenal’s hierarchy assess potential candidates, though Allegri has made it clear he’s not available right now.
Asked when he intends to return to management, Allegri told ESPN: ‘In June. I don’t know if you can call it a sabbatical or not. ‘Giovanni [Branchini – Allegri’s agent] and I immediately came to that decision.
As soon as the relationship with Juventus came to an end the decision was to take a year out.’ He continued: ‘I had 18 years as a player and I’ve been in coaching for 16.
I stopped this year after 34. I’m happy. ‘I have a chance to reflect, go and talk to people, do things in my private life that I’m passionate about like going to the theatre, some art exhibitions, reading books.’
Making it clear that he will pick his next club very carefully, Allegri added: ‘Next year will be an important year.
Important for the choice I end up making and the need to be prepared for it. ‘After a year out and five years at Juventus, I don’t want to go back into the game and do badly. That would do my head in.’
One question mark hanging over Allegri is whether his English is good enough to manage a Premier League club, but the Italian has confirmed that he has been taking lessons.
He continued: ‘I am taking lessons here in Milan. 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.’