Allegri Juventus

Juve Winter Mercato Preview December 2014

By tdf, December 27, 2014

Despite the disappointing loss to Napoli in the SuperCup, Allegri’s debut season as Juve coach has gone as much to plan as any of us could have hoped.

Many feared that the loss of charismatic coach Antonio Conte could lead to a downturn in the steady domestic success of the last three seasons. Roma have strengthened and look more serious challengers yet we end the year as Winter champions. In first place of the league table and whilst we are only 3 points clear of Garcia’s squad, our goal difference of +27 is 10 goals stronger than that of Roma. We also have the 3-2 victory in the bag, meaning we could draw the away tie, finish level on points and still walk away with the title. Still to ponder anything other than winning on points is not the Juve way. So I best leave such calculations alone for now…

In Europe our form has largely continued the seemingly fearful, anxious efforts seen in last season’s campaign, but the team dug deep when it mattered and emerged from a fairly tough group to qualify for the knock-out phase where we face Borussia Dortmund in February.
Earnings to date 14/15 Champions League-
8.6m Group stage participation.
3m three wins
0.5m one Draw
total 12.1m
Last 16 brings another 3.5m

Which brings the total from the Fixed Payments to 15.6m.

Added to this is a share from the Market Pool – “The market pool amount will be distributed according to the proportional value of each television market represented by the clubs playing in the UEFA Champions League (group stage onwards), and will be split among those teams competing from a given association.” (UEFA.com).

Market Pool Base – 22m
Market Pool Bonus – 24.9m
Ticket and Sales Revenues from home matches – 7.5m

Total Earnings – 70m

Our good friends in Rome did us a good turn through their own elimination, which led directly a 2.9m windfall in the Juve coffers!

The figure is a healthy one, and certainly suggests that we have money to spend in January. Not the whole 70 of course, but if the right players are available for the right price, we have the funds to bring them to Turin. So who are the Right players?

juventus roberto pereyra

Roberto Pereyra has been satisfactory, yet remains seeking his first goal

The move to a far more exciting 4-3-1-2 has opened the door for the purchase of a natural playmaker behind the front two. Pereyra has done well enough, certainly looks more comfortable in the hole rather than hugging the flank and his work-rate, hustle and quick feet have been a useful asset to the side. There is more to come from the Argentine, as there must be if we are to sign him outright in the Summer for around 15m (depending on achievements). His creativity is decent, as is his movement, yet it must be said that his finishing is atrocious.

Vidal is another who can play in the hole. However, his form has been a shadow of the warrior of the last three seasons. It is not that he has suddenly become a lesser player, more likely a case of rushing his return from surgery in May to play for Chile at the world cup and pushing himself too hard, too soon when returning to Italy thereafter. He will come good, yet I prefer to see him in a more dynamic central midfield role where he can prosper both defensively and in the final third. I suspect that Pogba would prove beastly in the role, but again, the side would lose his muscle and imperious ability to win the ball and keep the ball as he drives forward from deep were he deployed higher up the field.

Allegri himself said yesterday that he would like a playmaker in the squad. Who he perhaps has in mind, after consulting Beppe and Paratici, are the following…

shaqiri to juventus

Shaqiri has the arrogance and talent, but do we have the money?

Shaqiri-
With just 3 starts and 6 appearances from the bench, the swiss star is once again ┬árumoured to be open to leaving bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich with Juve hot on his heels. We were very interested in the Summer, yet Shaqiri decided to stay and fight for his place. The main sources suggest a loan move with the option to buy at around 20m. Although Guardiola is reluctant to sanction the move for a player whose talent has never been in doubt. Still only 23 years of age, Xherdan delights playing in an attacking central role and is also comfortable out wide. Expected Price – 18-20m.

Another option is Anderlecht’s 20 year old Dennis Praet who is continuing to blossom on the domestic front in Belgium and also in the champions league. His speed and vision has attracted covetous glances from many top european sides, and as with Shaqiri we would face certain competition for his signature. Expected Price 10-15m.

 

Of course the list of potential candidates does not end there! We have the perennial favourite, Dutchman Sneijder in the reckoning. Still in Turkey at Galatasaray, the flair merchant deserves a bigger stage, and the cost of his move would likely be reasonable (7-10m), yet he has already featured in the champions league…

Finally we find our gaze resting upon former target Freddy Guarin. The Colombian offers grit as well as phenomenal shooting from range and could still become a part of our european squad. Inter, however, are likely to play the scum card and block the desire of bother player and Juve.

Sticking with the forward line, it is expected that with 2-3 leaving the ranks, we may well bring in a striker. Zaza and Berardi seem destined to remain at Sassuolo until the end of this current season. Gabbiadini is heading to Naples. Which presently leaves only croatian prima punta Andrej Kramaric on the radar. The 1.8m tall goal machine has an astonishing 28 strikes to his name for the season from 30 outings. Chelsea have been sniffing around, and his club side Rejika recently set the price at a cool 10m.

Moving deeper in the formation, bypassing the central midfield entirely, for that is one area where we are truly stacked with world class talent, we focus now on the defence.

Martin Montoya, 23, of Barcelona, has been spoken about for the last few weeks as our most promising lead in the winter mercato. Hardly playing under Luis Enrique until it became clear that the player wanted to leave in January, Montoya is comfortable in either fullback position, offers solid tackling and intelligent support when moving forward. Considering we have been using Padoin as a fullback on occasion of late, it becomes reasonable to assume we are lacking depth in the position. Asamoah and Romulo have endured niggling injuries. Patrice Evra has done well enough, yet at 33 is hardly one to pencil in as a mainstay of the morphing first XI.

Lichsteiner’s deal runs until next Summer and rumours abound of interested parties with the player in a position to sign a pre-contract agreement as of January. Other than Nathanial Clyne, I can only finger Ivanovic as a definite improvement on the swiss locomotive. Stephan has been a pillar of efficiency and berserker tenacity since signing in 2011 for the club. A new contract offer is on the table and I expect him to sign. Lichsteiner is consistently superb and I feel we could see his very best in the new fullback role.

Montoya has a buy-out price of 20m in his contract. Which seems an awful lot for a player barely featuring for his club. A loan with right of purchase (as always) will be the focus for Beppe.

Finally onto the centre backs and we find Caceres has barely been fit enough to play and Barzagli remains a long term absentee having suffered subsequent injuries since the world cup precluding even an appearance from the bench. Whilst fans favourite Caceres is a valuable soldier, it is Barzagli who leaves the biggest hole, for he is the natural leader at the back, the experienced stalwart whose reading of the game, positioning and intelligence bring the defence stability.

Ogbonna has improved tremendously, Bonucci has stepped up to the task and Chiellini has returned from his own injury woes and is finding his form. Yet not one of these players comes anywhere near Barzagli in terms of composure.

rolando Juventus Porto

Is Rolando heading to Juve?

To remedy this deficit, Juve have been focused on Rolando. The towering 29 year old stopper is highly experienced and out of favour at Porto. He would be a sterling signing, able to command and bring that much needed composure to the ranks. The price would be around 5m. Other than the portuguese there is also talk of our interest in Dragovic of Dinamo Kiev.

Daniele Rugani is enjoying a solid maiden season in Serie A at Empoli, and whilst he could prove a brilliant addition the thinking presently, is that he is best left to develop further at a club where he will continue to gain regular playing time.

Also worth mentioning…

I remain hopeful of Tomas Pochettino, young starlet of Boca Juniors signing in January. The deal should be a loan with the purchase price set at 1.5m. Tomas would go straight into the primavera or to a loan club in Serie B.

Somewhat more exciting is the upcoming purchase of Envigado youngster Andres Tello. The colombian winger/ wing-back should sign next month and will possibly be loaned to Cagliari, if not sent to Grosso’s ranks.

OUTGOING-

Several players could be on their way out of Piedmont come January…

Simone Pepe has failed to convince Allegri that he is worthy of a berth in the squad, and after his harrowing injury nightmares, I am sure many will join me in wishing him well wherever he ends up. For simply to be playing the game he loves with such wonderful heart and cheeky spirit will please us all. If a suitable club cannot be found, for the player, he will remain in the squad until the Summer.

Other non-playing players whose contracts in the Summer expire are Rubinho, Motta and Storari. With interest in Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto hotting up, and our name top of the list for his signature, it would be unsurprising to see Storari or Rubinho leave and be replaced by the brazilian in January. As for Motta…The defender is dead-weight, and if we can move him on, the sooner the better for all concerned.

Which leaves, out of the cackle whose contracts are up in the Summer, the most interesting subject…namely, la formica atomica, Signore Sebastian Giovinco.

Fiorentina and Torino appear interested, yet their interest is delayed until Seba is available for free once his contract expires in June. I doubt he will move to Torino in January. A move to Florence though could well transpire, given our long-standing interest in their defender Stefan Savic.

Reports suggest that the gallant imp has no interest in extending his contract or moving in January, and is instead determined to move on a free in June. Which I can understand, from his perspective, to a degree. Yet at the same time, it bothers me. For I lose love very quickly for players who focus on the financial more than the playing side of the game. Surely he has earned enough money to set himself and his future dwarf family up for many generations to come? So why then, essentially, hold out on a move to punish the club?

Giovinco was co-owned to Parma, did exceptionally well there, returned after we spent large on his signature. Since then he has played…

12/13 – 42 games, 11 goals
13/14 – 30 games, 3 goals
14/15 – 7 games, 0 goals

Flashes of brilliance are wonderful to behold. Yet if a player fails to produce such flames of genius on a regular basis, he drops down the pecking order. Which is what has happened with Seba. He should be keen to move. To find regular playing time at any top flight club. Yet he appears content to remain in the shadows, then move for free, to…I have no idea what jump in quality he considers he will find if he waits until the Summer and is looking for a club after hardly featuring at all for Juve this season.

Is the club to blame for his lack of success in our colours? Three scudetti on the trot and presently first place in the league would suggest not.

If he goes during the Winter mercato, which I hope he does, it will bring in between 5-10m, and more importantly free up a space in the squad for another attacker. It is this – probably unlikely – scenario which could change matters regarding Zaza and even Berardi. I suspect the saga will dominate the latter stages of the transfer window.

kingsley coman juventus

Will the King move to seek a starting spot?

Finally…a brief note regarding Kingsley Coman. Who has shown enough to make us keen to see more, yet is probably not ready to be given the chances required to bed in and find consistency in our starting XI. It has been reported that some premiership clubs are keen on an outright purchase. Yet I am pleased to learn that the club has no interest in letting the kid leave in such a deal. However, a loan move seems very possible, most probably to a fellow Serie A side.

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