After last season’s campaign, deemed by most fans as Juventus’ worst ever season in their history, the Bianconeri have made wholesale changes in the hope of returning to the top four.
Last season: Great expectations were heaped onto the Bianconeri after an indulgent summer transfer campaign. However, a change in formation heavily reliant on one trequartista who had never played in Italy before, an aged and leaky defence, an outrageous amount of injuries and a novice Coach meant that Juve collapsed within a few months.
2010 summer transfer campaign: Beppe Marotta has been tasked with the role of rebuilding the team in Gigi Del Neri’s vision and the shrewd Sporting Director made five new signings within a month – four of whom are Italians.
Despite a seventh place finish last season, Juve have enough cash to give the side a much needed facelift and bring in the vast array of wingers Del Neri so desperately requires. Three have already arrived with the non EU spot also likely to be given to another. As for the rest of the funds, the defence will finally receive the reinforcements the fans have been demanding.
The Coach/manager: A dedicated professional who at last has arrived at a big club, Gigi Del Neri is no pushover and has even tamed the likes of Antonio Cassano. As a faithful devotee of the 4-4-2 formation, the new Coach is a fan of sturdy defences and hardworking wingers who can switch from defence to attack in seconds.
Anchorman: Giorgio Chiellini was the only man holding the defence together last season. He fought for every ball, marshalled the defence and made vital blocks. Juventus suffered in his absence. Juve conceded 56 goals last season but would have conceded double that amount without him. A central defender and occasional striker, he holds the Bianconeri together.
Playmaker: Many thought with the new change of formation that Diego, the Brazilian playmaker, would be sold to the highest bidder. However, Del Neri’s past experience with Cristiano Doni and the introduction of wingers who will allow Diego to take a more advanced role could well revitalise the player and allow him to unleash his creative prowess.
Hot Prospect:Cristian Pasquato has arrived back at Turin and is eager to make an impression. He greatly impressed in the recent friendly against Lyon as he linked up with Diego. His expertise at free-kicks could aid him in his attempt to break into the first team. Considering Del Neri’s penchant for wingers, the youngster might just flourish under his tutelage.
2010/11 prediction:A brand new team will descend into the Stadio Olimpico for the last time this season. The prestigious side has gone back to tradition and invested in domestic and young talent that could once again successfully form the backbone of the Azzurri team. A new Coach with conservative ideas may not offer attractive football but he will produce an efficient side that is solid at the back and organised at the front allowing for at least a top four finish.
Considering that an Agnelli is back to preside over the club, a Juventus project has finally been put into place.
Football Italiano’s prediction: 4th