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Juventus 2017 Mercato In Review

September 3, 2017

When you talk about the transfer market you have to talk about a few  things. 1.) How absolutely ridiculous of a circus it is. It’s laughable. 2.) Your club’s needs and next season’s objectives. 3.) Your capacity to fill those needs to meet those objectives. 4) Once the window closes, what your squad looks like. Make no mistake,  the transfer market is as much about what happens on field as it is  about our club as a business off of it. It’s a brazen statement absolutely, but one I find to be true. (Bonus trivia: Why is Juventus more highly scrutinized financially than almost any other club in Italy? Because we are one of three publicly traded clubs in Italy.)

I quipped  the other day, and i think it’s worth repeating: The net spend of our summer is roughly 25m Euros based on what I read most recently. Our net spend is approximately 1/6th and 1/9th of Dembele and Neymar respectively. 25m Euros spent for Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Blaise Matuidi, Mattia De Sciglio, Benedikt Howedes, Wocjciech Szczesny, and Rodrigo Bentancur. I have no qualms with that. And what would you really rather have? One Neymar, or, seven quality players? I’ll take the seven, because lest we forget that this game is still a team sport, regardless of how much you spend on that one player, you can’t play them, nor can they win by themselves.

We did have one departure of significance in Leonardo Bonucci, but to me it’s a calculated enough risk to take. I have observed claims that we’ve sold him to a direct rival, but have we? For me, calling Milan a direct rival is fairly generous considering where they finished in the league last year, the overhaul this summer, and that they have absolutely no possibility of facing us on the continent this year. Is Bonucci one of the of the top centre halves in the world? Absolutely. Will we ever truly know why he left? Maybe not. I’ll borrow an idea from a friend that I firmly believe, “No one player is bigger than our club.”The Gutter Poet

For us to measure our success in the market this year, we must use our finalized squad list as a barometer for our success. Here is our squad as it stands:

Portieri (Goalkeepers): Santo Gigi, Sczesny, Pinsoglio
Difensori (Défense): De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Alex Sandro, Barzagli, Howedes, Rugani, Lichtsteiner
Centrocampisti (Midfield): Pjanic, Khedira, Marchisio, Matuidi, Asamoah, Sturaro, Bentancur
Attaccanti (Attack): Cuadrado, Higuain, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Bernardeschi, Mandzukic, Pjaca

This is the portion of this review where most readers would expect to find a numerical rating on a scale of 1-10 for our mercato. I apologize, but you will find no such rating here. If you cling to such a rating for an approximation or measure of our success this summer, I assure you, there are 150 articles out there by now that have assigned a numerical rating to our market for your reading pleasure.

I’ll measure the success in a different way.

Formations, tactics, etc. aside, I think our market was a success and here’s why:

  • Are we a markedly improved squad from last year? Absolutely.
  • Have we resolved personnel problems like having true wingers and a more robust midfield selection? Certainly.
  • Have we lost anyone of monumental significance like Dybala? Absolutely not.
  • Have we added quality to our depth, moved on fringe players, and do we have multiple players for each role? Yes.
  • Have we done all of this by spending fractions of what other teams are spending on individual players? We have.

An Milano 16/05/2011 – assemblea ordinaria Lega Calcio Serie A / foto Andrea Ninni/Image Sport
nella foto: Giuseppe Marotta-Fabio Paratici

I will firmly stand behind the idea that I don’t think this is the finished product for Juve just yet. I think we are one market away. There are more questions of our squad that need answering. A RB and a CB for one thing. A backup LB. Maybe one more CM, but I’m not convinced we do need it just yet. I’d like to see how we fare this year with our current midfielders before beleaguering that idea. That isn’t the question we seek to answer though, the question is, was this years market a success? By my measure, it was.

Beppe has frequently stated that we have a strong squad, and if we can find players who can raise the already high level of quality we have that we will look at them. Albeit for a fair price. That sums up our market this year perfectly. We have once again raised the quality level of Juve, and that makes our mercato this year a success. Seal of approval given Beppe and co.

In summation and for your consideration my fellow Juventino: have we not won 6 Scudetti, 3 domestic doubles, run deep in the CL, including two finals appearances, all on the bounce of Calciopoli? Are clubs spending umpteen more dollars than us that are wildly less successful than we are every year? We absolutely crave the CL title, coming so close and losing hurts, and it hurts a lot, but we are a winning club every year, and we should not so easily forget that. We are a strong side, we will remain a strong side, and we will continue to become stronger, year over year, as we have done.

Fino alla fine!

Forza Juventus!

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  • Dar Black

    I would question not tagging Leo’s departure as monumentally significant. He is a world great defender after all, and you don’t lose cream of the crop without there being some loss. He also performed a sweeper role at times driving us forward and chipping in with some great and important goals. So it’s not just his defensive duties we have lost.

    We may have offset the full consequences with Matuidi and other signings, but no one one player is a like for like replacement, so that will force changes on Max. I think it may be some time before we see and can evaluate the full effects of his departure.

    • Travis Gallardo

      The only reason I didn’t label it in the ‘monumental’ significance is because I think he has limited chance to inflict damage to us for at least 1-2 years. Given his age, he’ll be 32 before any dramatic impact to juventus domestically and that’s pretty good. He’s definitely a phenomenal player, but we are showing that we have faith in young talent like Rugani, which is massively important. It would have neen much worse to see him playing against us in the cl.

      • Dar Black

        It’s not about the chance of him inflicting damage on us from being with Milan now Travis, but rather the damage to Juve from *all* teams we play after his departure from our defense. We have lost someone who would make a FIFA world best 11 lineup. That can never be a good thing to lose that sort of quality. Are Barca better off without Neymar – no, clearly not. They have replaced him but not with the same quality. Likewise with us.

        Defensively I wonder if the 5 goals shipped in v Lazio and Genoa would have been if he was still with us. I doubt it, so that means we perhaps have already seen consequences of his loss. The question now is can Max put together a lineup / formation that limits the damage of Leo not being in that defense. We shall only know when Matuidi is starting and perhaps Claudio is back.

        • Travis Gallardo

          I think you’re correct absolutely, it’s not easy to replace a talent like bonucci. Especially if it’s also what’s best for the club/dressing room. My point is tertiary to yours. If he must go, where do you send him to inflict the least damage against you? I can’t negate the fact in the slightest that it’s a tough blow for us to lose him. Saying otherwise would make me look foolish. I think where he did land was calculated. It was always going to be rough waters the first few games without him, especially with the first few games of every year are difficult without the team in full fitness or match sharpness, but again you are correct when saying we will have to see how allegri changes things to resolve the issue going forward.

        • To be fair we couldn’t do much about the two goals conceded against Genoa; VAR penalty and an own goal.

          • Dar Black

            But that comes from having pressure put on us Dave, even if only through the defense compressing into too small an area or being too narrow. Leo pushed out. It was his character, and that rubs off. Against Genoa our defense looked like a frightened rabbit for the first few minutes!

    • My friend, I do not believe we have anywhere near go offset the detrimental effects. It’s a shame we got matuidi late, yet I dont blame the club…it was probably a case of PSG holding things up. We paid a good price in the end…

      A lot more of our play went through Leo than has been analysed. He is one of very few defenders playing at the top level who could step out often and dictate play, even get forward themselves!

      It’s a shame, but the BBC had to come apart at some stage.

      • Dar Black

        I will not disagree with any of that sir. I have been thinking about formation. My problem comes from not wanting Mario to be dropped because he is a fighter, but that leaves all other positions and their first choice picks in a mess! I do think Dybala could play very well behind a front 2. He has so much more to offer than just being a goal poacher. Seems wasted like that.

      • Travis Gallardo

        As usual, I can’t help but agree. I will not gripe though. These kinds of ridiculous transfers happen all the time. We are definitely losers in some ways with bonucci, but I think in the long run it may be of some benefit depending on how you look at it.

        Khedira is wasted for me. Matuidi/marchisio start alongside pjanic in a 2. Based on info I’m seeing Douglas stayed back from international duty to work 1 on 1 with allegri on fitness and system and will be a guaranteed starter going forward.

  • Good article, mate. Thanks for sharing. I agree with Dar here, losing Bonucci was of great significance however given that the balance and morale of the squad is much more important I believe both parties made the right decision.

  • Sensible and composed, comrade…And as always I have somew