Club Focus – Juventus – Defending Her Honour: Have patience for the Old Lady

The newly appointed Juventus Management have received heavy criticism in recent weeks. Whether it be former players complaining of maltreatment or dismissed scouts who believed they were not given the chance to prove their worth, everyone feels hard done by. As such, they have retaliated by either claiming that the Bianconeri have lost their past appeal or publically insisting that Juventus do not have the pedigree to challenge for any honours.

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Most, if not all, of the criticism levelled at the Old Lady is true. She does not have the technical ability, star quality or the game-changing players to seriously challenge for any honours this year. After Calciopoli, the old hierarchy failed to start nurturing young talent who could have well made a difference to Juve’s current team, instead they opted to invest in the finished product. The former regime wasted millions on players who failed to make an impact thus going against their previous tradition of effective spending. The club has embraced a revolving door policy with regards to managerial appointments, having had six different Coaches in the last four years. All these mistakes were committed by administrations of the past, who owe the clubs good results in Serie A in the two years after the scandal to the backbone of stars built by the reviled Luciano Moggi led Management.
If anything, the current bosses at Juve headquarters should be lauded for having finally started a project that past Management have only ever spoken about. The reason why Marotta and Agnelli cannot build a team worthy of the Juventus stripes so early on in their reign is largely due to past errors. The ex-Sampdoria sporting director was given the task of rebuilding an entire team in the vision of the newly appointed Coach. In addition he also had to reduce the clubs costs and had to sell off the deadwood within the squad which he has achieved competently. The team lacks star quality but this can be attributed to the lack of funds available to Luigi Del Neri. Attracting marquee signings is difficult when a club does not have the allure of Champions League football.
The Old Lady bosses never stated that they were looking to construct a Scudetto winning team this year. They have only ever reiterated their belief in building a team for the future – one that is full of young players who currently play or have the potential to appear for la Nazionale. They believe in ItalJuve and even if they are at times misguided in their attempts to latch on to every Italian, as like Diego said, foreign champions should be welcomed, they at least have a vision that is easily recognisable and a squad that can be built upon each year. As for that Azzurri obsessed ideology, Marotta has quickly set to work on dissipating rumours that he is adverse to foreign quality. He has already hired new scouts to scour different parts of the world in search of fresh talent in the mould of Alexandre Pato to compliment his Italian team.
Finally, Juventus have a Board of Directors that consider the long term future of the club and still complaints persist. Inter, in the days of perennial spending that brought no end product were the definition of poorly run club. They acted as a true inspiration for Alessio Secco and Co. and only with renewed motivation and clever spending have they begun to reap the rewards of their hard work. Stars do not make a squad but a team made up of hungry and determined players with well matched skills can make a difference.
This term, all Juventus need to concentrate on is building a backbone, which in essence, they already have if you discount the attack. The centre-back partnership of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini has the potential to be one of the greatest and will inevitably improve thanks to their partnership at international level. Felipe Melo may have disappointed last season but his impressive form at Fiorentina offers a source of hope that he could be effective under the right regime. Alberto Aquilani and Claudio Marchisio were once heralded as the future hope of Italy and with consistency, could well play a leading role for both Juventus and the Azzurri. All that is missing is a front-line that either boasts a young player brimming with potential or an established name that could make the difference – which in due time should arrive.
No project is ever perfect and Juventus have made some questionable decisions such as the sale of Diego and the arrival of Simone Pepe. However, for now Management should be granted the benefit of doubt. We can revisit the idea of criticism should the Bianconeri fail to make significant headway in Serie A this season.
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