This mercato has been one of major upheaval, and with the transfer drawbridge soon to be raised I thought it timely to delve into the figures and soothe the concerns of some, whilst also offering further evidence of the continued excellence of our sporting director and his side-kick.
Despite the mega spending, which can be analysed in various ways, we presently appear economically close to breaking even on the recruitment front. Which may shock some. It certainly comes as a pleasant surprise to me. For such talk has abounded of the money spent on Higuain that the general consensus has appeared to point to leaning towards speculating to accumulate, investing beyond our means under the assumption that we will recoup the outlay of gold and even churn a profit in terms of sporting achievements if not through future sale value of our investments.
As I plough my way through the following moves both in and out of the club, we must bear in mind that Zaza appears set to depart for 28m – a stunningly healthy 10m profit for a player who has been at best on the fringes of the first XI – which just happens to be around the figure we appear prepared to pay for Matuidi…Yet more balancing of the scales. However, I suspect that the potential value brought to bear on the field makes that move very much in our favour. Further confirmation of wily business acumen from Beppe and Fabio.
Benatia 3m loan
Total net spend – 157.5m
Total net sales 158.7m
Difference Purchases/Sales Net Profit 1.2m
Which seems extraordinary given the strengthening of the squad in many key areas.
Essentially we have sold 1-2 first team players and brought in 3-5 likely regular first team players. If Matuidi or Witsel appear in the ranks, the situation will feel even more encouraging, for all those we have signed can stake legitimate claims for the first XI, failing which they vastly strengthen the bench. And provide plentiful options for deploying alternative formations to the tried and tested 3-5-2. They allow and encourage us to evolve.
The major purchases
It is easy to say we overpaid and I would agree, but when taking into account the market, in which mainly the premier league riches have distorted prices globally close to ludicrous, the shock lessens. I like the idea of purchasing the very best players of Serie A, focusing at home before rolling the dice with players who have yet to be tested in the very tactical domestic competition. Yes we dream of champions league glory, and the club are making brilliant moves to bring that dream closer to reality, yet for me, and I assume the club in turn, the domestic title is our bread and butter.
We have lacked an out and out goalscorer since Trezeguet departed many moons ago. A player whose prime function is to seek out goalscoring positions and put the ball in the net. As his stats from last season show – 38 goals, 3 assists – Gonzalo is a pure striker. Who rarely plays in any stance other than facing the goal. His form last season was incredible. True enough Sarri set up the side to make the most of his talent, and it worked amazingly well. Without him, Napoli stumbled, and although they have purchased some new strike power, that stumble may well continue. In one fell swoop we took the jewel of the crown from our major rivals of last season, and filled a glaring gap in our own arsenal.
The only superior players, of proven world class finishing, appear Aguero, Bale, Ronaldo and the Barca boys. All of whom would have cost much more, in both transfer fee and wages. And we would have been forced to pay well above the odds to prise them from their present moorings.
It may take some time to see the best of Higuain in our colours, yet I believe the price should be largely ignored, especially given the net spend appears presently a profit! We have purchased what we needed and not over-extended ourselves financially to do so.
By market standards, the Bosnian was a steal. Even more-so than the Argentine, how he will fit into our system, or rather how Allegri will adjust the system to accommodate his talents, will prove pivotal in our campaign. Again this is an exceptionally important player taken from one of our rivals. He brings creativity and immense mental fortitude. The ability to unlock tight defences with moments of genius aligned with superb set piece delivery is a welcome addition to the flock. Whilst Allegri has suggested he could prove world class playing deeper than we have seen him at Roma, his lack of physicality and experience of screening a defence is of some concern, yet if we can sign a natural DM, the option to play him higher up the field appears. In the final third he can be phenomenal. Further back? We shall have to wait and see.
I have long despised him. Partly due to his face, mainly due to his bothersome antics, which often sicken the soul. However, a new leaf has been turned and I am suddenly appreciative of his huge experience, stellar fitness and ability to produce flair and impressive distribution from wide. He will need to learn fast that in Italy, the flashy plays second fiddle to industry and guile in the defensive phase. In Europe, he could well make a major difference, as he has won everything there is to win and remains a world class talent.
The wild card, purchased at a reasonable price with unknown but seemingly solid potential. He helps to fill the Morata hole in terms of pace in the final third, and also brings plenty of tricks, an eagerness to dribble and connect the play and has no fear making the most of goal scoring opportunities. He may well prove the apprentice for Dybala, yet if Cuadrado is procured, the Croat offers the obvious counter balance on the left in a 4-3-3.
At the price, he was well worth a gamble, for by the market lunacy of modern times, 9.5m is mere pocket change. He was atrocious when I saw him here in Melbourne, yet nothing much can be made of the first pre-season friendly. Clearly he was back to somewhere near his best for the season opener against Fiorentina, during which he kept things simple, grew in confidence as the game wore on, but confirmed to me that he is not ready to offer the assurances required in the all important role of regista. Like some others, I am unsure of his best position. Is he a box to box midfielder? Is he an attacking central midfielder? Can he protect the defence and dictate the tempo, pick out passes from deep? More questions than answers surround him, but given we apparently received numerous offers for his services during the Summer, the club obviously see potential. And I am happy to place my faith in their judgement.
Highly experienced, exceptionally fit, hard running, uncompromising in the challenge, technically capable. The price (and time) may well be right for the frenchman to enter the fray as a much needed warrior in the midfield. He has bite, tenacity and Deschamps for one considered his value to the French side so important that he was prepared to move Pogba into a position where he has never been at his best, in order to accomodate Matuidi in his natural role.
Given we can sign him on a free next Summer. And perhaps already have a deal in place. If PSG continue to thwart our efforts to sign Matuidi, Zenith may see sense and cut us a deal on the cheap. Even if we were to pay 20-25m, I have no doubts it would be a sound investment, which we could recover if the move fails, by selling the Belgian on next year. He will still be at an age where his value remains high. Yet why ponder his failure? For all measures point to an accomplished midfielder, able to cover, tackle, greatly affect the tempo of a game and support the offence with simple, intelligent distribution. He may have been our target all along, with Matuidi simply a smoke screen.
We have continued to renovate the squad which has assuredly been improved. And the cost of this strengthening is close to $0. To upgrade our attack, midfield and defence at such a paltry net outlay is a masterclass by Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici.
Last season, Allegri had plenty of work to do, given the departures of several key players and the injury nightmare which haunted us till the very end. This time round, he has different riddles to solve. Namely working out how best to accomodate the proven talents of Pjanic, Alves and Higuain. Whilst continuing to nourish the blossoming of Dybala and bringing through the likes of Pjaca, Lemina and Rugani. It is these areas where Il Mister will earn his stripes.
Also worth mentioning…the return of Asamoah cannot be understated. It is akin to signing a new dynamic, powerful, highly experienced midfielder, who knows the league and the club ethos. And then there is the prospective return of Marchisio…For many, myself included, our bandiera.
We have by far the best equipped squad domestically and the 6th straight scudetto should be our major focus. In terms of Europe, we have added experience, guile and hunger to augment an already stellar line-up.
If all goes to plan, we have a side capable of achieving glory on all fronts.
Mr. Poet, do you see Marotta make another surprise late signing?
Yes, comrade. Glad as always to see you make an appearance. My inkling has been for a while on Witsel. Given Mandzukic seems not the same, but similar in our system of 3-5-2 to Higuain, and taking into account the sale of Zaza…Barbosa seems ever more unlikely, but I have little idea of his value. More important is a midfielder, despite how stacked we seem. I am expecting Matuidi, Witsel or Barbosa…
None of these.
I was waiting for something like this from the great TGP, and I got it. Totally agree with you on all fronts, especially regarding the uncertainty around the Matuidi vs Witsel conundrum.
Cheers, ADP! It seems that Cuadrado remains on the cards and possibly Matuidi also. I am no fan of the former, but he has pace, which we are horribly lacking when Dybala comes so deep, through the middle we have Khedira as the main threat! Higuain may change that, but he seems a little out of shape.
Unlike last season we have started in stronger form, but we are lacking a spark. Unfortunately we need to get our act together rather swiftly, for the home tie against Seville might well prove integral in our aim to top the group. Sassuolo are no mugs and will provide a great test, perhaps a shock to the system is what we need to spring into life.
Fantastic read and a great overview of how things stand.
I suppose the focus has continued to be what we’ve spent and how much we’ve paid, sometimes ignoring the fact that we have recouped a fortune for Pogba, considering he cost next nothing. Same with Morata plus the money saved on salaries etc. Granted, we have paid through the nose for Higuain…..but i think time will tell us that he is worth it.
Something that struck me as I read – 5 players signed this summer, all covering essential areas of the pitch…..with the rest of the team on lenghty contracts and unlikely to leave……plus the possibility of renewing Dybala and Bonucci’s deals…..all this would mean next summer, we won;t have any protracted transfer dealings. If Dybala does the right thing and commits during the season, we won;t be selling anyone and perhaps only making Benatia’s move permanent.
That would leave us in a superb position for next year, having done all our primary selling and buying in the space of this one summer…..once again, forward planning by Beppe, Fabio, Pavel and Andrea.
Great work by TGP as always – Love reading these kinds of articles, especially at this time of year – it’s a break from the monotony of the mercato and all the nonsense that gets spewed out daily. Bravo comrade !
Wise points as always, my friend.
I am happy to see the match reports coming thick and fast for it allows me to ponder more thoughtful pieces, and presently I am pondering the possible forced demise of the 3-5-2. Whilst our defence has looked solid, against Lazio it was always 3 on 2 or 4 on 3, always a spare man. Yet its early days. All I can hope is that the pieces of the puzzle find their place swiftly and the end picture revealed comes sooner rather than later.
We can afford to play poorly yet win in Italy, but not in Europe. I am a little worried about the Seville tie, yet also feel that the side needs a shock to the system to emerge from this apparent lethargy.
I do not remember a season since Conte’s first when I had little idea of our best formation and our best first XI. I suspect Allegri is of a similar mindset. So far, keeping Higuain and Pjanic out the side has worked…just. Yet they must be included, and I would prefer to see us lose a game or three as they are integrated and we adjust than to continue with this softy softly approach basing our chances mainly on a world class defence. There is a balancing act between bringing players in slowly and them needing the minutes to find match sharpness and their bearings. Yet that is Allegri’s job and so far, despite the performances, we have 6 points from 6. So I should curb my moaning. Just a little!
Any thoughts on Lemina?
No Bonucci against Lazio tomorrow, Allegri confirmed. Due to personal reasons he isnt even called up..
So I guess Benatia will take his spot?
I’d rather Rugani. It shows we have a lot of faith in him and gives Benatia even more incentive to work hard to earn a place.
I also prefer Rugani, but I figured Benatia would be picked
Interesting that Pogba’s sale was stated as not being a prerequisite for the purchase of Higuain. So if you factor that into TGP’s stats below you can see how lopsided that makes the balance of the books.
I wonder if the revenues are now so healthy that we can run with big transfers without the need to sell. There is obviously a big stash of loot sitting somewhere! There has been a lot of activity in new and renewed sponsorship deals recently, in addition to record season ticket sales and good television revenue.
we already have 27,5m from tv rights for this year’ CL, this is guaranteed
I will dig a little, mate…prepare the foundations for a more thorough investigative report when lucidity and time allows.
Whilst the TV deal for Serie A is dwarfed by the Premier league haul of gold, it is still a decent amount for the top clubs in Italy; well mainly for us. Total league income is just shy of EU950m per season for domestic rights and EU300m per season for foreign rights.
Domestic is divided by several measures – 40%is an equal cut, then 30% placed by historic merit, and 30% placed by supporter base.
Foreign package – 40% divided equally. 60% divided between top ten teams.
I will glare rather than peek at the financial matters after the mercato is complete, at both youth and senior level, but to augment your statement, DB…our domestic and foreign TV rights for Serie A alone for last season came to EU122.8m.
The champions league brought us another –
12m Group stage participation
4.5m 3 group stage victories
1m 2 group stage draws
5.5m Last 16 participation
58.2M Market Pool
Add in 5m for winning the italian cup. May be more.
Our roughly estimated income from 15/16 from sporting achievements was around EU208m.
Other income streams are a little trickier to outline, especially on a saturday morning with a wretched hangover, my synapses mangled causing me to feel like a listing ship, and my only possible salvation seems to head to the pool, sink or swim as the gods decide then prepare for a lecture on muslim feminism, launch myself to the 3rd birthday of my beloved niece Baby Goblin, then freshen up for a date of sorts with the valkyrie…indeed.
No hurries GP. Maybe things will be clearer if we wait until the 4th quarter / full year financial statements are released (should be soon I think). BTW, I wish my life was as fascinatingly varied as yours chap! Although I might skip the lecture….. Isn’t there an unwritten law on those things not being able to take place at the weekend? If not there should be. Good luck with the date…
i dont know if anyone mentioned this but from 2018/19 top 4 leagues will have 4 spots for CL , so italy will earn 2 more places
That saddens me. I was hoping that in the future it would only be Juventus representing Italy in the finest European cup. If Sassuolo would eventually join. That would also make me happy.
Besides Sassuolo. I couldn’t care less about the other teams. I hope we keep on dominating domestically until the end of time. We don’t need competition in Italy to progress and continue to grow. Just look at where we are now. Is it because of the domestic competition? Absolutely not! It’s because we want to rule the planet. And we will. Just like agent Smith told Neo. “It is unavoidable”.
Also. I don’t like sharing the CL money with the other clubs. I want us to have it all. Just like when Roma failed to qualify. Automatically more money for us.
I hope them Capitol teams, milanese, Sicilian and everyone else except Sassuolo takes 400 steps back for every new season. I hope we humiliate them every season, especially Moratti the dog. I want him crying like Reek from Game of Thrones. A beaten down dog with no hope left of ever seeing The North or The Iron Islands ever again.
well if this is true BYE BYE Matuidi idea….now who? James? Fabregas? Neves? Tielemans? Herrerra?
if it where up to me i would fight for Fabregas, Neves and Tielemans now
Matuidi extends contract?
Sadly, if you compare our midfield two years ago with this year’s midfield, there is no indication of a successful campaign.
Pirlo………Pjanic (Yes. A solid replacement, given Pirlo’s age.)
Vidal……..Khedira (Doubtful. I love the German’s tactical intelligence, but he is injury prone, and lacks Vidal’s intensity.)
Pogba…….????? (Hard to replace Pogba. Asamoah is overrated; fast, but unable to affect the rhythm of the game. We may need two first-team signings to make up for this loss: one to provide physical presence, an another to provide flair.)
Marchisio…..Marchisio (Who knows when he’ll be fit, and if he ever plays at his best again?)
I don’t see how we can do better in the Champions’ League with this midfield.
Not alone, I am worried too that we do not have both enough magic and defensive grit in the middle now at least until Marchisio returns (and we but another top class midfielder).
But then my worries are not helped by Allegri leaving out Pjanic!
i agree completely…our midfield isn’t as impressive with the departure of Pogba and Vidal … (Vidal especially!)
I think we have an easy easy solution though: James or Isco As direct proven Pogba replacment. Tiellmanns as future replacment but let him grow with us, and lets get him now that he is cheap
Fabregas as Direct Vidal replacment ….i dont like that Fabregas lacks pace, but he is very creative, strong and deadly with his passess…for the future we should sign Neves…problem solved! add in Kherida, Pjanic and Marchisio…and we would again have the best Midfield in the world
Yet to compare our attack is similar yet opposite…especially if we can move towards a front three which bring Pjanic up behind Dybala and Higuain. We are far stronger, with only Tevez and one season of Morata showing world class talent in the front line.
It is too early to say if our midfield is weaker, but what is evident is that our future success – in the short term – rests on the ability of Allegri to get the best of the squad. It may well be time to move away from the 3-5-2, as it may not suit the players we have now anywhere other than in defence.
I also still like to believe that Sturaro has plenty of room to develop. He can blossom into dogged box to box midfielder and he is better on the ball than people seem to believe.
Given that we’ve won every game so far, I dont see any reason to be pessimistic folks. This has been an incredible mercato in my eyes. Higguain and pjanic for pogba and Morata is a marginal upgrade in my eyes. Alves, Pjaca, Benatia only makes us stronger so why the pessimism? Pjanic hasn’t even played yet and people are already doubting him. Speaking as his fellow country man I’ve watched Pjanic play since he was 18. This kid really suites barcas style give him brilliance with the ball so the fact that we got him is music to my ears. I have to give lazio allot of credit, despite the utter hate i have for their president. They have gotten allot younger and allot more talented so todays game is a reflection of a stronger serie a. The team will mix better as the season progresses. We keep starting slow because there is so many changes every year. I dont think we need to spend the money on Matuidi or Witsel supposedly we have agreed to acquire Sissoko…. strange, he is an ideal player but does not make us that much better. At the stage Juventus is on, the only way we can improve this team is we acquire world class talent and ofcourse that comes at a high cost. I rather buy one of those than spend it on fringe players we keep having to write off.
Yuri tielemens!!! beppe i know youre listening and reading this forum out there!!!
Lazio deserve their credit, yet they rarely had more than 1-2 players in the final third, kept a blockade at the back and flooded the midfield with no intention of anything other than keeping us out. Which is fair enough and its only a bother due to the lack of spectacle – for it was a horribly boring game to watch – and also the trouble we had in finding opportunities. The whole game gave perhaps 4 decent chances. Appalling statistics. Yet credit to Lazio, although they lost. They looked very solid all over the field. Lukaku’s brother is sloth but capable.
I am unsure how much premier league football you watch, Jas, but Sissoko was atrocious last season. He was at best rather average before that. We would be better off sticking with Marrone; who I suspect would offer more character in the DM/ Regista role.