Ever since the Calciopoli scandal, Juventus have struggled to regain their former dominance over Italian football. Thankfully, the past season marked their return to the summit of Italian football, as they claimed their 28th Serie A title. Under Antonio Conte, a rejuvenated Juventus managed to end the league unbeaten and reach the finals of the Coppa Italia. The key to this season’s success was Juventus’ well0worked summer transfers in 2011. The likes of Andrea Pirlo, Andrea Barzagli, Mirko Vučinić and Arturo Vidal were indispensable to the Old Lady, and it was Pirlo who was most influential in this victorious campaign.
Building on one successful season isn’t too hard for Juventus, but their return to European football might take its toll on the club. There is no doubt that reinforcements will have to be brought in, while some surplus players will have to be sold to even out the balance sheet, as these transfers will be crucial for the next season.
Juventus managed to end 2012 as the side with the best defensive record across Europe, conceding just 20 goals in their 38 league games. With all their defenders, except Barzagli, on the right side of 30, additions to their defense don’t seem to be much of a necessity.
Their midfield received great applause throughout the season, but with Pirlo at the age of 33, reinforcements might be required. Also, if Conte continues to use the 3-5-2 formation a versatile wing back/midfielder would be an extremely useful player to add to their roster. A couple of midfielders would indeed help Juventus in their bid to retain the Serie A title, while also putting up a fight in Europe.
The strikers at Turin have probably been the club’s weakest players this season. Even a semblance of consistency and regularity was hard to find with the strikers at Juventus, and this could have cost the Bianconeri. This will be the area where Conte will have to strengthen the most by bringing in some top names from across Europe.
Juventus are yet to sell any player, but the rumors are growing thick and fast. Milos Krasic tops the list of players to leave Turin this summer with his main suitor being Liverpool. The out of favor winger could also make a move to West Ham United, along with fellow Juventus winger, Eljero Elia. Where these two attackers will go remains a question, but their exit is guaranteed. Simone Pepe could also be on his way out of the club after having struggled to fit into Conte’s winning formula.
Striker Marco Borriello may stay at Juventus on a permanent basis, but a return to the capital seems more likely. The likes of Vincenzo Iaquinta, Felipe Melo, Michael Pazienza and Marco Motta will also leave Juventus on a permanent basis this summer. Fabio Quagliarela’s inability to stay fit was a major problem for the Old Lady and he too could be on his way out.
Mauricio Isla (Reported fee of €7.5m)
The versatile Chilean is undoubtedly going to be a key figure in Juve’s next season, given his ability to play in almost any position on the field. Ideally used as a right wingback or a right midfielder, Isla’s arrival will most probably see Stephan Lichtsteiner drop to the bench if Conte continues to use his 3-5-2.
Isla has also been used as a central midfielder for Chile, and could fill in for Pirlo, Vidal or Marchisio when necessary. The other advantage with Isla is that Conte will have the privilege of shifting to a 4-3-2-1 without too many worries. The 24-year-old’s versatility is going to be a massive boost to the Bianconeri.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Reported fee of €7.5m)
Along with Isla, Asamoah is the second signing for Juventus from fellow Italians, Udinese. Given Asamoah’s talent, it seems very hard to believe that he will be resigned to a spot on the bench. The main problem behind his immediate inclusion into the starting XI is the stellar performances put in by the midfield trio from last season.
How Conte decides to use Asamoah seems a bit of a mystery at the moment, but his ability to get the best out of his players will be extremely useful in Asamoah’s growth at the club. Another factor in Conte’s decision to sign Asamoah will be Pirlo’s age. Being on the wrong side of 30, Pirlo might be resigned to playing fewer games this season and Asamoah could prove to be a useful rotation player.
Nicola Leali (Not confirmed)
The highly touted 19-year-old goalkeeper is yet to confirm his move from Brescia to Juventus, but it seems like it is just a matter of time. Leali has received a great deal of praise recently and is even being heralded as the next Gianluigi Buffon. If he does move to Turin, there is no doubt that he will be their third choice keeper, behind Buffon and Marco Storari. This is going to be a transfer for the future.
Juventus Transfer Rumors
Juventus seem willing to match the likes of Manchester City, Inter and Chelsea as they are after some of the biggest names in world football. The first player on their radar and most likely signing is full-back Aleksandar Kolarov. They will have to duel with Inter for the Manchester City star, but both clubs might have to better their loan offers and buy the player completely. Juventus are also after Pescara starlet, Marco Verratti, and are rumored to have made a co-ownership offer for the midfielder. This co-ownership offer will see Verratti remain at Pescara, but the youngster could be on the Juventus roster for the 2013-14 season.
The list of strikers that Juventus are interested in continues to grow. From Parma’s Sebastian Giovinco to Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie, Juventus have been linked with a host of top quality strikers this summer. Their most likely signing might have seemed to be Edinson Cavani, but Napoli’s valuation of €70m will be a strong deterrent. Fighting off Manchester City for Van Persie is going to be a really hard task, thus leaving Sebastian Giovinco and Stefan Jovetic as their most likely targets. The price tags on Giovinco and Jovetic will also be a lot easier to match than that of either Van Persie or Cavani.
There are also a few far-fetched rumors surrounding the club’s signings that include Domenico Criscito and Jakub “Kuba” Blaszczykowski. Criscito’s involvement in the recent betting scandal will probably keep him out of Turin, while Kuba’s innumerable suitors will require him a lot more than Juventus. An active transfer window lies ahead of the Old Lady.
Written by Guest Author Aditya Balaram
Follow the author on twitter: @adi_balaram