After enduring one of its worst seasons in recent history, Juventus have moved swiftly to make some much needed changes. Former captain, Antonio Conte has been appointed the new coach, while the club has snapped up two quality players on Bosman deals. TheHardTackle takes a look at the club’s transfer activities.
Incoming players – Official
A World Cup winner, a veteran and a man familiar with the concept of victory, Pirlo has arrived at Juventus on a free transfer, in an attempt to restore leadership, creativity and experience to a side that has lacked focus and mental strength in the past two years. Whilst the midfielder’s ability on the ball can only be described as mesmeric when he directs play, holds on to possession and picks out key passes, his method of play and creativity craves a style of football neither Juventus or new Coach Antonio Conte are familiar with. The new tactician has been known to play an elastic 4-4-2 formation, which morphs into a 4-2-4 in attack, calling on the midfield duo to be dynamic in order to perform a supporting role.
Pirlo’s ingenuity can only be fully appreciated in a three man midfield and his slow movements and intricate dealings with the ball would suffer in a vigorous formation that counts pace and quick passes as the foundation of its philosophy.
As such concessions will have to be made by the new coach, in order to fully exploit the complete range of skills Pirlo possesses. Whether that be switching to a 4-3-3 formation, in which another offensive player will be required or working with a 4-4-1-1 formation, similar to the one Marcello Lippi used, which would again invoke a similar notion of imbalance to the one Juve have had to deal with this past season.
Pirlo – World Class when fit
Young, eager and technically intelligent, Ziegler on paper appears to be a good signing, considering the few alternatives on offer in the current market and the fact he arrived on a free transfer.
An offensive gem, the player offers verticality and crossing technique, more befitting of an attacking player, so it comes as no surprise to learn that Ziegler started out his career as a winger. His ability on set pieces, his pinpoint crossing and general reading of the game allows him to play a crucial role in his team’s attacking game and whilst he is safe at the back, his defensive game does suffer on account of his natural instinct to attack. When it comes to one-on-ones, the player struggles and he desperately requires a solid partner at the back or in midfield who understands his game in order to cover the spaces left behind when he sets off on his runs forward.
On account of his strengths and weaknesses, the player’s range of skills seem to directly oppose those required for an Antonio Conte-team. The Coach seemingly prefers more conservative defenders who prioritise their duties at the back and asking Ziegler to do that means asking him to curb his strengths to highlight the weaker aspect of his game. Once again, a puzzling purchase who may well force the Coach to adapt his strategy.
Close to being official, Michele will be Juventus’ third free signing of the summer thus far. Widely regarded as Momo Sissoko’s replacement, a player thought to be on his way out, Pazienza will be a squad player who will offer depth to a side that gravely requires his ability in carrying out his duties with precision and little fuss.
Having always opted for midfielders that are usually known to be a liability in terms of behaviour, Pazienza is a safe bet for Juve. A keen tackler who will be expected to guard the back-line, he is the master of the simple tasks and possesses enough tactical intelligence to be regarded as a perfect component of Conte’s 4-2-4 formation.
A right back renowned for his marauding runs down the right flanks and his offensive play, he is another out-and out attacking full-back whose style of play is rooted in his physical nature and speedy bursts forward.
What the player lacks in defensive capability, he more than makes up for with both effort and pace. He runs endlessly and is quick to run back when he possession has been lost, often beating several players to it. His determination and skill set make him a firm favourite for new Coach Conte but the player still opposes the general mould of the style of defender the Coach craves and at €12m, seems a tad overpriced.
Beck at Right-Back – Juve’s panacea?
Hoffenheim have already resigned themselves to the fact their ripe young defender wants to depart and interest in the player, valued at between €5-8m, has already come from the Italian club. A hard-worker, the youngster has developed a cheeky relationship with the ball, handling it with ease and a touch of arrogance. However, his admirable attitude towards the game, his stamina that sees him play almost every minute and his dribbling technique make him an interesting defender and one bursting with potential.
He still has much to learn and is one that has yet to be truly tested on the big stage which could prove a problem for Juventus considering the amount of pressure already placed on the shoulders of their players. Against Bayern Munich ,Beck seemed overwhelmed and his general positioning can leave the defence looking exposed. However, when it comes to potential, few can match Beck’s.
Juventus have long been searching for another winger and have been continuously linked with the Ligue 1 player Michel Bastos valued at around €12m. A left-sided player, he’s apt at playing both as a full-back or a winger but teams will certainly benefit from playing him a little higher up the pitch as the natural born attacker has a great sense of positioning inside the box, attacks with pace and is a dangerous threat in dead-ball situations. Boasting a renowned left foot, the player has developed his game over the years but still may be regarded as not defensively secure enough to play as full-back and not dangerous enough to play as Juve’s starting left-sided winger.
The Udinese midfielder continues to develop his game and Juventus have been locked in talks to snatch the €18m valued player and take him to Turin. Rumoured to be Conte’s first choice for a midfielder the player’s stunning season that saw him put masterful performances such as the one against Napoli have thrust him into the limelight. Boasting a stunning eye for a pass, the player’s tenacity, ability to deliver the perfect long ball and his tendency to put in an excellent tackle to win back possession make him a prized asset and perfect for Conte’s vision of play. However, his arrival could see the back of current fan favourite Felipe Melo.
Seeing Sanchez in Black and White
The player’s price, currently valued at €35m, continues to increase everyday but one look at his form this season and it’s easy to understand why. The versatile player is the absolute definition of creativity whether he is deployed as a winger or as a second striker. However, Sanchez’s greatest ability is his understanding of the game, alternating his style of play to accommodate the nature of the match.
Not only is he apt at drawing defenders away to open up space for his teammates, his pace and ability to whizz past defenders make him a difficult player to pass. A paradoxical creature, his humble beginnings have produced a shy boy but to see him dance around five Boca Juniors defenders before being hauled down in his first Superclasico game suggest an innate awareness of his talent and a certain type of confidence that will surely yield great success on the big stage.<.p>
Should Juve play a 4-4-1-1 to accommodate Pirlo’s skills then Sanchez would be ideal as the player just behind the striker, making use of the Pirlo’s deep lying creativity.
Statistics prove that when it comes to Aguero, he belongs amongst the greatest players of the current generation. Young and bursting with energy the player combines his Argentine strength with European finesse to make him an unstoppable second striker with the ability to create in even in the most difficult circumstances. Handling the ball with incredible ease, it is the player’s powering bursts forward and killer instinct that make him a man difficult to halt especially in the box.
Whilst he may have yet to win countless trophies, he is not short on experience considering the fact that at 15, he was the youngest player ever to play a senior league game in Argentina. However, at €45m he is a touch too expensive for the likes of Juventus and perhaps most other clubs around the world considering the player still needs to improve his game and adjust his weaknesses which include converting more goal-scoring opportunities.
For the moment, he remains a pipe dream for many Juventini who see the player as the possible heir to Alessandro Del Piero.
Excluded from the group due to his refusal to be sold last summer, it took an injury crisis to reintegrate the player back into the squad, calling on his experience and versatility to lend a helping hand and provide stability to a decimated squad. An adaptable player who can play both in midfield and defence, his tenacious style of play and professional attitude were greatly admired and many fans will be sad to see the determined Bosnian go.
Having paid €0.6m for the services of Rinaudo from Napoli for a season long loan, the player has only made one appearance in a year crammed with unfortunate injuries forcing the play to sit out almost every game. The initial deal dictated that should Juventus wish to redeem the player, they would have to pay Napoli €5m over three years, as such, it would be safe to say that Rinaudo will be sent packing.
Signed from Arsenal on a season loan the player has made limited appearances for the Bianconeri due to poor form and injuries. Bursting with pace and energy, the player seemed out of place at Juve. Despite some good performances, the defender struggled with positioning, regularly made the wrong choices tactically and suffered from lapses in concentration further increasing the pressure on a back-line lacking in cohesion and leadership.
Tiago Mendes (probable)
Despite regular appearances and great performances in Spain, Atletico Madrid seem happy to send back the player to Juventus, choosing to not purchase him. A player certain not to be in Conte’s plans, Beppe Marotta will be busy finding another club for the player.
Juve today, Gone tomorrow
The Brazilian has already expressed his desire to form part of the “fascinating” new Juventus project and has performed well whilst on loan to Parma, relishing the opportunity of being the team’s focal point in attack.
However, having almost gone a year without scoring for the Bianconeri, it is clear the player suffers with the overwhelming pressure that comes with playing for a powerhouse and a psychological block has seen his efforts at Juventus rendered useless and ineffective. With the fans against his reintegration, it remains to be seen what the management will decide to do with the player. It is probable he will be sold to raise money.
Mohamed Sissoko (probable)
Renowned for being a tough tackler, Sissoko has built his game around his physical attributes, boasting upper body strength that relishes the chance of stopping opponents dead in their tracks. However, the player’s lack of technical skill has seen his efforts yield little result and this season the fans have been subjected to more of his weaknesses than his strengths.
His behaviour has also seen him become a liability whilst his inability to complete simple passes and retain ball possession has effectively cost him his future with Juventus.
Fabio Grosso (probable)
Juventus have been eager to sell the player since last summer and his unwillingness to co-operate saw him excluded from the group, much like Salihamidzic, as punishment. A World Cup winner and a player apt at bursting forward, his defensive skill leaves much to be desired and is renowned for being caught out of position and at times seems almost incapable of maintaining the defensive line.
Despite some good offensive performances this season, the Bianconeri will be eager to sell the player who still has one more left on his contract.
Many more departures are expected, such as Zdenek Grygera’s, Vincenzo Iaquinta as well as Sebastian Giovinco who is likely to continue his career away from Juventus. However at this time, the rumours are merely speculation and it remains to be seen who will in fact be sold and who will remain to form part of the Conte project.
– Mina Rzouki
Follow Mina on Twitter – @minarzouki