The mercato is finally over, Dybala and Bonucci could be on the verge of agreeing new deals, Lichtsteiner causes controversy…..and there’s the small matter of a transfer deal that failed to materialise. Here’s a roundup of all the Juventus news of the week.
I’ll start off by apologising for not publishing this weekly roundup as often as I had hoped to. While it was started with the best of intentions, it was near-impossible to cover all the summer transfer news every single week, simply because there was so much of it and we were linked to so many players, so often. Going forward, I’d like retain a small corner of this roundup for the mercato, but the main focus will be a roundup of all Juve news from the previous week. I digress….let’s get things started.
Lazio 0-1 Juventus
It may feel like a lifetime ago, but i can assure, we did play an actual game of football a week ago (Sat 27th August to be exact) – A muddled but satisfactory victory over Lazio saw Sami Khedira score his second goal in 2 games and retain his unbeaten status in Serie A: 22 games played, 21 wins and 1 draw. A stat that highlights just how instrumental he’s become to Juve over the course of the last season. He was also voted as Man of the Match here.
[Marko Pjaca made his Juve debut and gave a little glimpse of what he can do]
Zaza joins West Ham United
Simone Zaza departed Juventus after just one season at the club, inevitably finding it difficult to sit on the bench following the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain. Despite joining the Hammers on loan, Zaza will become a permanent signing if he makes a certain amount of appearances for the club:
The 25-year-old forward joins the Hammers for an initial €5m loan fee, with a permanent fee of €20m automatically triggered after a certain number of Premier League appearances this season, plus a further €3m in contingent payments.
ZAZA: West Ham United have signed Simone Zaza on an initial season-long loan! ➡️ https://t.co/xYPIyDPUPF ⚒ pic.twitter.com/8c65COUX9q
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) August 28, 2016
Juve Penalties / Budget turnaround
Two interesting stats that I came across this week:
1. Juventus have been awarded the fewest penalties among Serie A’s top teams over the past 18 years (Feel free to use that stat over the course of the coming season).
La Juve Rubba
— SandroSca (@SandroSca) August 28, 2016
2. An obvious one, but the figures are quite telling – Juve’s fortunes have changed dramatically under the management of Andrea Agnelli:
Juve’s incredible budget turnaround under Agnelli:
10/11 = -95m
11/12 = -49m
12/13 = -16m
13/14 = -7m
14/15 = +3m
15/16 = +3m
— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) August 30, 2016
Juan Cuadrado returns to Juventus
As deadline day loomed large, Juve secured a deal for Juan Cuadrado – A player who, by all accounts, was actively pushing for a return to Juventus all summer long. Sky Italia reported that the Colombian was in tears at the close of last season and personally asked Beppe Marotta to bring him back to Turin. The Bianconeri willingly obliged and confirmed the deal with the following press release:
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with Chelsea Football Club Limited for the temporary acquisition, until 30 June 2019, of the registration rights of the player Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Bello has been finalized for an annual consideration of € 5 million. Juventus has the right to definitively acquire the player, or will be obliged to do so subject to the achievement of certain given team results during the loan period, for a consideration of € 25 million, payable in three years, less the amounts of the loan fees actually paid. Furthermore, on achieving challenging team performances during the term of the contract of employment with the player, Juventus will pay to Chelsea FC additional contingent amounts up to € 4 million
Stephan Lichtsteiner dropped from Champions League squad
While they’ve yet to be addressed fully, there were some disappointing rumours flying around in the closing days of the transfer window that suggested Stephan Lichtsteiner was pushing for a move to…..Inter Milan. As I say, they were purely speculation for the most part, stemming from articles in only certain parts of the Italian press, however Sky Sport Italia later reported that the player had never asked for such a move. The fallout may or may not have led to the player’s exclusion from the Champions League list for the first part of the season, although there’s a perfectly rational argument to be made for the inclusion of more midfielders and the use of Juan Cuadrado and Dani Alves in a more attacking setup. All the UEFA Champions League round of 16 clubs are permitted to register a maximum of three new eligible ‘A list players’ by February….that is provided they are still at the club, and there’s a distinct possibility that Lichtsteiner may be sold in January with only a few months remaining on his existing Juve contract. Watch this space.
Axel Witsel deal breaks down
It was off, then it was on, then it was off, then it was on again…..then it was officially off. Axel Witsel was on the verge of completing a transfer to Juventus on deadline day, having travelled to Turin to complete a medical and sign a contract, only for Zenit to block the move at the last minute. Zenit coach Mircea Lucescu was quick to deny rumours that it was his veto of the deal that saw the move break down, declaring:
“I have the utmost respect for Juventus, they are a top world-class club, but in all honesty to buy a great player like Witsel they shouldn’t have left it to the last minute.”
Witsel also gave his own take on the events, admitting that he “already felt like a Juventus player in every sense” and even picked out his shirt number (28).
What next ? In the players own words: “We’ll see what happens. My destiny was in that direction. Once I honour my contract, we’ll see where my future lies, but maybe yes [on joining Juve next season].” [RTBF.be]
Alex Ferguson on Juventus this week:
New contracts for Dybala and Bonucci
Tuttosport claim that Juventus are going to offer Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala new contracts in an effort to ward off interest from overseas. Bonucci was reortedly the subject of bids from Manchester United and City this summer while Barcelona are known admirers of Dybala. TS report that Bonucci’s deal will be extended to June 2021 and he’ll be paid €5m per year plus bonuses while Dybala will see his salary increased to €4.5m per season.
News in Brief
- Claudio Marchisio is expected to return to full training in October and could be fit enough for the games against Udinese (15/10) or possibly Lyon (18/10) [CdS]
- Leonardo Bonucci has returned to the national team having taken time out to be with his son during surgery. It’s reported young Matteo is making a recovery [FIGC Statement]
- Exor are set to relocate their headquarters to Amsterdam – This article gives a little more inhsight on the reasons why.
- The mercato is over! You can see a full break down of Juventus transfers 2016/17 here
- Paulo Dybala is due to return to Juventus ahead of schedule following his red card in Argentina 1-0 victory over Uruguay. Medhi Benatia has already return to Turin. [TuttoJuve]
- Juventus are linked with Blaise Matuidi (again), Axel Witsel (again), Mattia De Sciglio (again) and Matteo Darmian (again)
- Gonzalo Higuain scored a tripletta in Juve’s 6-0 friendly match against Magenta [Video highlights below]
Amichevole Juventus – Magenta 03/09 by marozTV
Tweet of the Week
Rare footage of baby Paul Pogba pic.twitter.com/NIo6yb0FH5
— kassem (@KN1897) August 29, 2016
Saturday 10th September – Juventus v Sassuolo K/O 17:00
Good round up, nice to have it in one place.
The Exor move is down to tax benefits in Netherlands, a very hot topic in Europe this week with Apple’s dodgy deal in Ireland (shows just what a sham the so-called EU economic / fiscal harmony is).
I believe FIAT are already being investigated over their tax affairs, and with holding company EXOR moving to Netherlands expect Juventus’ name to crop up and be dragged through the mud too over the delicate subject of tax avoidance/evasion.
Hi there Rav, I was already wondering why you were kind of silent, Now I see what you had coming. What a GREAT post with a little bit of everything for every taste.
A few highlights
– The budget tweet says it all without UCL money we were 2 feet underground (from 2007 to 2010). It took 5 years, 4 of them with UCL $ to balance our budget. We can confidently say we have the best management in world football. It´d be interesting to see if any of the Spanish, German or British ply their trade in serie B and come back to dominate locally an challenge in Europe again, see if they have what it takes. It seems rather few, if anyone could actaully pull it off.
Now in the grand cheme of things (after more than a 100 yrs of football clubs) I think all of these “top” or “elite” teams are not worthy of facing Juve unless they could actually pull that one off (time will give us our right place in history).
Just take a look at this. Probably you already saw one of these, if not:
The way i see it God willing we Juventini fans are in for something big over the next 5 to 10 years (see if the other europe elite can keep up with us). I think what we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. We have gone in 6 years to not even a quality 11 to a superb 11 to 13 players, make it now a near full europe quality squad except for midfield and the youngsters. What next?
Like some have said this is the best squad we have had at least since 2006, but I´ll go further God willing by next year 2 yr tops, we will have the best squad the world has ever seen with 2 quality players per position and 2 main systems (with its derivations). I think we would be the 1st team in history to have done that.
I am thrilled to see what will come next, say 3 to 5 years and then 10 years from now. I hope management are crafting a full Europe conquest and dominion masterplan.
Side note: One more thing i will say is Juve shareholders could´ve just kept or reduced a budget loss and have pocketed most of those UCL $, still they didn´t. That is a testament to how much compromise even actual Juve owners have towards our Badge, and our colours, and us the fans. Management has definitely earned my respect.
– Paul Pogba´s reference was hilarious! You knocked it straight out of the park. So Accurate. I was one of the few at this forum that stood by and defended Paul. He let me down.
– When I think of how passionate Italians are and picture some heated calcio debates, (i have even seen some on the web, mostly Zuliani shreding opposition in pieces). and seeing that ´penalty kicks awarded statistic´ oh boy that should be now a scene of eerie silence (well not really, some people are just blindfolded even to definitive facts).
– You even added the Exor relocation brief, i had no idea about that one, I´ve been focusing mostly on the mercato, the subsequent squad ensemble and the tactical setups and hipothetical matchday approach (looking forward to comment about it) to care much about anything else. This post is very refreshing news.
Hats off to you Rav. keep up the good work. I don´t mind not hearing much from you if we get updates like these, yet I always look up to your casual take on things at the forum. I look forward to that whenever opportune.
Hope you are right on the predictions, I hope Serie A can blossom again, so it will be easier for Juve too to find and hold world class players. Right now, EPL and La Liga are simply too strong to be ignored by the best of the best and Serie A just isn’t that fancy compared to those.
Forza Juve and Forza our management!
Man UTD would survive a drop (they have previously been relegated to the old division 2 in England). They would come back and recover.
In fact the loss of 2 years of CL revenue recently has not really had much impact on their finances. They are still making a ton of money even when condemned to the Europa League.
Exor are set to relocate their headquarters to Amsterdam
Interesting. Maybe i can visit our good friend John Elkann 😀
Ask him how much tax Exor (maybe Juve?) are avoiding with this ‘strategic’ move!
Brilliant piece, Rav. And a push perhaps that I needed to finish that damn youth update that is beginning to gather dust…
The Lichsteiner story is odd. I am less concerned than any credibility in the rumour suggesting he sought a move to Inter (whilst I despise them, Moratti has gone and it has been a while since I have learned of any of their players or officials banging the same moronic drum of pointing the finger at Juve when the most damning evidence confirmed that it was them not us who were directing officials and fixing matches). Other than their idiotic efforts with Freddy Guarin move, I have not come across much which nourishes my hatred for Inter. Lichsteiner would only have sought a move if he had been told he was to play second fiddle to Alves, or even third fiddle to Alves. Now the former would have been wretched on the part of the club, so I am hard pressed to believe it. Yet it is harder to believe that Alves would have signed without an assurance that he will be playing regularly…
What does seem remarkably odd is that we would send out on loan our very promising young RB, Pol Lirola, then head into the champions league absent of by far our most solid defensive option in that position. I fail to make sense of the situation from a tactical perspective. Alves has played two games for us, looked okay and more flashy and accurate in his crossing in the final third than Stephan, but markedly less robust in the defensive phase. If Alves is injured, we have solely a right winger who cannot tackle to shoe-horn into the 3-5-2, if that is what we are to play. And if we are to move to a flat back four the same situation is possible. Alves out injured or suspended and who plays at RB? I suppose we could place Sandro over there, or move Barzagli across, but why the devil have we put ourselves in this position? When we have in our squad, fit and eager, not just one of the top right backs in the game, but one who has been a huge part of our success since Conte, Agnelli and Beppe turned the tide five seasons ago.
Cuadrado is not a defender, nor a wing-back. Playing him in a 3-5-2 almost certainly precludes playing Sandro on the opposite flank for no matter where you see him placed of a formation diagram, the colombian is a wide midfielder/ wide forward. Never a defender. Hence why Evra is needed to maintain balance.
The only conclusion which seems to make any sense is that the club have isolated Lichsteiner for non sporting reasons. As all sporting reason points towards his inclusion in the squad for Europe.
It seems we will push harder for De Sciglio or pick up Darmian for less gold in the Winter, yet that does not detract from an uneasy feeling about the manner in which we are treating a player who has given us so much for these last five years.
Pjaca created three goals with Mandzukic scoring a double in Croatia’s 8-1 drubbing of HNK Segesta (Croat 3rd tier side):
Just a friendly but encouraging to see Pjaca in such lively form and Mario regaining his scoring touch (albeit against minnows).
Precisely what I’ve been worrying about concerning the odd Lichtsteiner exclusion from Europe. It doesn’t make sense whatsoever. Hopefully Alves doesn’t get injured or suspended or we will find ourselves in an entirely avoidable shitty situation.
Cuadrado is not up for the task, no matter how much people like him.
I’d like De Sciglio a lot mate.. Though Darmian seems more likely
Because sturaro marchisio are out injured,khedira asamoah are injury prone.
I agree about Licht’s story being odd. It’s too confusing.. and the more articles I read about it (knowing it’s very likely we won’t get an official, honest reason.. and some of the articles might be fabricated bs to begin with) the more confused I am. I’m sure at some point of our lives we’ll know at least one side of the story.. lots of players are writing memoirs… but for now it just doesn’t make sense. Some reports say he asked for a move, some say he asked for a raise… but most sources are saying it was a bit more heated than just plain “asking”. All I know is it had to be ugly… not even Cáceres was this isolated after he had been publicly fined by the club for disciplinary reasons. Either way….. love the player, trust the club…..
………….. I mean, I’m still veeery excited about the season but I guess it’s the only thing that left me with a sour taste after the mercato (which, in my opinion, was as close to perfect as a Juve mercato can get).
Oh, and Pjaca has to be the player I’m most excited about! I tried not to let it get to me…… Allegri’s words of the possibility of Pjaca becoming this season’s Serie A revelation…… but 5 minutes of his game with Lazio made me too excited to care about reason and now I jumped on Allegri’s bandwagon.