What is the best thing to do after a disastrous season? Simple, go shopping. Unlike some of the illustrious clubs on the other side of the English Channel, Bianconeri have a stable financial structure and money is available. Some of the unreliable media sources like Tuttosport have suggested a transfer kitty of 80 million Euros. But the loss of Champions’ League gate money and subsequent loss of prize money will dent the budget. It should still be around 40 million Euros nonetheless.
1) Andrea Agnelli
He is not a player, so what? This is one area where reinforcements were desperately needed. Andrea may just be the perfect candidate. Finally Juve have a president with the right name. Someone whose name doesn’t sound like a Jennifer Lopez film or is actually a tennis expert who knows zilch about football. The Agnelli family has done a lot for the club. Right from Edoardo in 20s to Gianni in 50s. Another Agnelli can steer the club to its former glory.
Does Andrea look a bit like Mr Bean?
THT Verdict: Hard to say whether he will really succeed or not. This is not the best time for a young president to take over. He has a famous nickname that will get him support from club staff initially. Moggi and Nedved both have given thumbs up to him; Juve fans will hope he lives up to the hype.
2) Giuseppe Marotta
This guy is not a player either. He is a transfer guru. Possibly the most important man in an Italian club hierarchy. He replaces Alessio Secco, who was originally a guy related with media affairs at Juventus. He is a terrible, terrible, terrible transfer director. No football acumen at all. And he replaced one of the best transfer gurus in history – Luciano Moggi.
Marotta has an impressive CV. He is good at his job, one of the best in Italy with Pantaleo Corvino & Marco Branca. He has made some very shrewd transfers in Sampdoria in last few seasons; – Cassano, Pazzini and Palombo to name a few. Atleast this guy knows what to do.
Can he rebuild the Juventus Empire?
THT Verdict: His record is good. His first and most important job will be to get rid of the deadwood in the squad. Once that is done, the real rebuilding begins. Overall he is a good catch and a step in right direction.
3) Luigi del Neri
The Old Lady in her 85 year history of hiring coaches had never fired one. The incompetent management broke that record by firing 2 coaches in 2 seasons. It was clear Zaccheroni wouldn’t last. So in came Gigi del Neri. Del Neri’s selection is questionable.
He has no experience in managing a big club and his biggest achievements till date is 4th place with Sampdoria, a good run with Chievo Verona. He has rarely done well in big games; in his long coaching career he has just beaten Juventus once. He favours a 4-4-2, not particularly well suited to current squad. He might work well with Marotta, as he did in Sampdoria.
Del Neri has a tough task at hand..
THT Verdict: While Internazionale went for a coach who has won a UEFA Cup & Champions League trophy with different clubs, Juve went for a strictly middle tier coach. Shows the gulf of ambition between the two clubs. It might be argued that even Lippi didn’t coach any big clubs before joining Juventus but Del Neri does not give a lot of assurance. Judgement on him can only be passed after the team has played a few games.
4) Fabio Paratici
Paratici had been Marotta’s eyes and ears in Sampdoria. He was also their chief scout and has a pretty good record in that department. A host of changes in backroom staff was made, as Marotta brought his people. The declaration in Juventus’ Official site can be found here.
Juventus formalized the new assignments concerning Sport Department that will be under the guidance of Sport Department General Manager Giuseppe Marotta.
Fabio Paratici will be the Technical Area Coordinator and Doctor Fabrizio Tencone the Medical Staff Chief. Sport Assistant has been confirmed Francesco Gianello. Mauro Sandreani will continue his commitment as Observers’ Coordinator and Gianluca Pessotto will still be Youth Department Organization Chief. Matteo Fabris will be the new Team Manager.
Trainer Luigi Del Neri will be helped by trainer assistant Francesco Conti. In his staff also the pitch assistant Maurizio D’Angelo, the goalkeepers trainer Claudio Filippi and athletic trainers Roberto De Bellis and Luca Alimonta.
THT Verdict: Bringing his own team will ensure that Marotta can work without hitches. The same team propelled Sampdoria’s recent success & can do the same for Juventus.
It’s the crazy season again. Everyone from George Bush to Pamela Anderson will be linked with Juve. Since strikers are needed, all the strikers out there are linked. From somewhat realistic rumours like Pazzini, Dzeko or Aguero, to downright laughable like Berbatov. Since del Neri will play a 4-4-2, the search for wingers has been stepped up. AZ’s Mousa Dembele, Angel di Maria, Juan Vargas are few names that have been thrown up. Banfield’s young sensation James Rodriguez was strongly linked at some point too. Sampdoria’s Reto Ziegler was rumoured to join in. Some of the more outrageous rumours have Del Piero going to UAE and Fabregas coming to Turin in exchange of Buffon. In defense Mattias Cassani and Simon Kjaer have been linked. Buffon being linked with EPL clubs was most annoying. Thankfully both Gigi & his agent squashed the rumours.
Top-5 rumours Juventus fans would like to materialize:
1) Jonathan Zebina to Fenerbahce:
Fans hate him, he can’t play, he is always injured. No thanks and bye bye. The Turkish club reportedly can pay 4 million Euros.
2) Milos Krasic coming in:
Pacy, skillful, can run for 90 minutes. Krasic is everything the current team lacks. CSKA are asking for 15 million Euros. Some sources have said it might be a done deal, but nothing confirmed yet.
3) Grygera to Ajax:
If Gregory van der Wiel leaves for Bayern, then Ajax might recall their former right-back. Grygera has been very ordinary in Serie A. His poor form reached it’s climax when he made three mistakes to gift Siena 3 goals in a 3-3 draw.
Possibility: Low, everything depends on van der Wiel.
4) Iaquinta to Tottenham:
While Vinny is a good squad player, Juve needs better strikers. His physical style might suit EPL and he wouldn’t mind sitting on bench.
5) Aguero/Dzeko/Benzema/Pazzini coming in:
All four strikers have been linked. Tiago (who did well in Atletico on loan) and cash is the offer for Aguero. Dzeko may want to move to a bigger club. Benzema has been below par in Real, Higuain just got an extension so he will get a higher priority. Pazzini has been linked in the past too.
Will this man sport the black & white jersey ?
Top-5 rumours Juventus fans would not like to materialize:
1) William Gallas coming in:
No thanks. Over the hill, slow in his tackles, a hindrance in dressing room. Not another has been defender like Cannavaro.
2) Chiellini to Real Madrid
Chiellini is the single most important player in Juventus right now. Forget transfer, the guy should be given a salary hike and a new contract for next five years.
Possibility: Will never happen.
3) Berbatov coming in
Lazy, can’t score, looks disinterested in the game. Despite the fact that Berba is blessed with sublime skills, he is not needed in the current system.
4) Diego to Bayern Munich/Bundesliga
Attacking players have often suffered in first season in Italy. Platini, Nedved, Zidane the list is long. Diego did decently in his first season. Definitely deserves a chance.
Possibility: Moderate, he wouldn’t fit in del Neri’s 4-4-2.
Will the Atomic Ant stick around ?
5) Giovinco to Bari
Can’t blame Giovinco, can you? He has talent but for last 2 seasons, none of the tacticians have managed to find him a spot in the starting eleven. He has been impressive most of the times he got a chance. The co-ownership deal to Bari will be a loss to the club. He is a youth product and has been part of Juve since he was a child. He deserves better.