Amidst all of the uncertainty surrounding Massimiliano Allegri's future at Juventus, one thing is clear: should the current coach depart, Miralem Pjanic would love to see Luciano Spalletti take over.
The Bosnian midfielder may have cut his ties with Roma last summer, after the Old Lady enacted his €32 million buy-out clause, but he retains a strong emotional connection with his former boss.
The inside of Miralem Pjanic's locker. His photo with Spalletti. pic.twitter.com/PWwQDaH9Ra— Vassita (@Vasso_Cenation) February 21, 2017
However, the 26-year-old might not have to hide his enduring love for Spalletti for much longer, with Juve having now made the Roma boss their first choice to replace Allegri should he decide to leave Turin at the end of the season.
Diego Simeone has long been Juve's dream replacement but the Argentine still has a year to run on his contract with Atletico Madrid and is far more likely to return to Inter, whom he represented as a player, rather than link up with their most hated rivals.
Spalletti, by contrast, will be available this summer, having refused to commit himself to a new deal. The 58-year-old has revitalised since returning for a second stint at the Stadio Olimpico last year, steadying a ship that had lost its way badly under predecessor Rudi Garcia before then re-establishing the Giallorossi as Juve's principle title challengers.
Roma would like Spalletti to renew his contract but he insists that the short-term nature of their present arrangement is actually best for both parties. "Last year they fired a coach and had to keep paying three years of his contract," he has pointed out. "I’m doing them a favour!"
He's also rather shrewdly moving himself into the perfect position to take the Juve job should it become available, all the while publicly insisting that Roma will sack him anyway if he does not lift either the Coppa Italia or the Europa League at the end of the current campaign.
"If I don't win something, it means I won't done any better than my predecessors and, as a result, I'll have to go home," he reasons.
However, Turin is his more likely destination, even though there are those who wonder if Spalletti is really the right man for Juve given his relatively modest trophy haul within the Italian game.
The Bianconeri are obsessed with trophies and Spalletti has very few of them, having claimed just two Coppe Italia during two stints in Rome spanning just over five years.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that during his first spell with the Giallorossi, he was competing in a very strong Serie A featuring perennial Champions League contenders AC Milan and a dominant Inter. His second stint, meanwhile, has coincided with Juve's greatest ever era of domestic dominance.
Furthermore, Spalletti has European experience - a much-admired quality at Vinovo - having won two Russian Premier League titles during his time in charge of Zenit, whom he twice led to the last 16 of the Champions League during his five years in Saint Petersburg.
Juve even considered hiring Spalletti before appointing Antonio Conte as coach in 2011 but were unable to free him from his contract. Thanks to the Tuscan, there are no such obstacles this time around.
Indeed, should Bianconeri CEO Beppe Marotta fail to convince Allegri to see out the final year of his contract, he will happily turn to Spalletti, with whom he previously worked at Vicenza at the turn of the century.
Juve not only believe that Spalletti can win in Turin, but that he can do so in style. Many pundits believe that Roma are, on their day, the best footballing side in Serie A, with their coach having already proven himself an innovative tactician and an excellent man-manager.
It was Spalletti who inspired Alex Ferguson to implement a more fluid attacking formation - the one which won Manchester United the 2007-08 Champions League - after being taken aback by the Italian's famous 4-6-0 line-up, which transformed Francesco Totti from a gifted trequartista into the most prolific goalscorer in Serie A.
Spalletti has also handled the very tricky problem of how to handle Totti's retirement wonderfully well, proving he knows how to deal with big players - and even bigger egos.
More recently, the ex-Udinese coach has rebuilt Edin Dzeko's confidence after a dismal debut season in Rome, while at the same time entrusting Radjan Nainggolan with an attacking midfield role that has resulted in the Belgian scoring more goals than ever before.
All of this merely underlines just how integral Spalletti has been to Roma's resurgence and why they want to keep him. However, their hopes of doing so appear to be diminishing and it was telling that club president James Pallotta made the rather unusual move of criticising his coach's formation change after the surprise Serie A loss to third-placed Napoli a fortnight ago.
"I think we might’ve outsmarted ourselves," the American argued. However, while Spalletti may have got his tactics wrong on that particular day, he is managing his potential exit plan beautifully. It might not be long before he and Pjanic are in a position to make more great memories together!