Didier Deschamps told journalists he has resigned as coach of Juventus and the latest reports place Marcello Lippi back on the bench.
There was immense confusion over the tactician’s future after Italian television reported on Friday night that Deschamps had tended his resignation in protest at contract talks and differing transfer policy.
Although the club released a statement this afternoon denying that was the case, all the comments since then have suggested their rapport has come to an end.
Deschamps left the Stadio Olimpico following today’s 2-0 win over Mantova without entering the Press room, but Sky Italia journalists say he told them he had quit.
"There has been no precise message from the coach, we only saw the news in the papers," said Juventus director Jean Claude Blanc.
"We had a discussion and we must clarify it. The dialogue with him has always been good and we will talk again to clarify our positions. Juve only comment on official news and this is not in that category. We continue the dialogue with Deschamps to plan the future, with or without him."
The Bianconeri have earned promotion and today mathematically secured the Serie B title, but disagreements with director of sport Alessio Secco over new signings seem to be the key.
"We have not discussed any contractual figures with him," continued Blanc. "There is a path for Juventus and its employees must follow that. Who is with Juve must respect that common goal and we have discussed that with the Coach and most important players."
The latest reports suggest that World Cup winner Lippi will return to Turin next season after his one-year sabbatical. It would be the third spell on this bench, as he was in charge of Juventus from 1994-99 and again from 2001-04. "Lippi? For the moment we are only focused on resolving the issue at hand, then we will see," added Blanc.
Meanwhile President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli was "surprised" by Deschamps’ decision to resign. "Deschamps will meet with director Jean Claude Blanc later this evening and they will clarify this problem," said the President.
"There are strong stories circulating that he wants to hand in his resignation. We were honestly surprised, as the last we knew in his Press conference this week he said he wanted to stay with Juventus," added Cobolli Gigli.
The reason for this sudden turnaround could well lie with Lyon, as Gerard Houllier stepped down on Friday and Deschamps has long been one of the favourites to take over. "We are discussing extending his contract, because Deschamps was meant to be an integral part of our three-year plan."
While the Spanish media claimed that Fabio Capello would be returning to the Juve bench, that seems highly unlikely considering Cobolli Gigli’s damning statements in the past criticising the way he walked out following the Calciopoli scandal. "Capello back here? I think that would be very difficult," said the President. That option was also today fiercely contested by the fans at the Stadio Olimpico.
[Juve clinch promotion]