Luciano Moggi may not be a man that you’d trust to borrow a €10 note, but he knew a good player when he saw one. Admittedly, negotiations to sign these players for Juventus may have commenced with a Godfather-like ‘offer they cannot refuse’, but nonetheless, his record at his former Club was impressive in terms of buying players.
So Moggi’s criticism this week of Beppe Marotta – the man who now occupies Juventus’ Sporting Director job – and the new wave of signings at the Club was naturally big news. The Bianconeri faithful have hardly been overjoyed with a lot of the new players who have arrived at the Club this season, and now Moggi has put his seal of disapproval over them.
There are obvious exceptions, of course, Milos Krasic being the clearest. The Juventus board, led by Marotta’s decision, placed their faith in Krasic at the start of the season and made him the club’s marquee signing for the summer. He cost approximately €15 million, the vast majority of the Club’s transfer budget, and in the process became Juve’s solitary non-EU player allowed for the season due to Serie A quota laws. Essentially, Juventus gave up chasing the likes of Edin Dzeko and Emmanuel Adebayor to get Krasic instead.
The Serbian has responded emphatically. He fits into Coach Luigi Del Neri’s 4-4-2 system perfectly and has made the transition to Serie A seamlessly. Despite being deployed wide on the right or left, he has weighed in with his fair share of goals, and would have had more assists had Juventus possessed a striker capable of making the most of his creativity.
Alberto Aquilani has also represented a decent deal, although his contract still belongs to Liverpool. On loan for the rest of the season, Aquilani has slotted into central midfield and his passing ability has arguably brought out the best in the robust Felipe Melo. The only sticking point is that Juventus will have to pay a lot of money – maybe more than they can afford – to keep Aquilani beyond this season.
Leonardo Bonucci, brought in from Bari, has also shown promise. Still far from the finished article, Bonucci has cemented his place in Juventus’ starting XI and also the national team. Fabio Quagliarella, before his injury, chipped in with enough goals to justify his loan move from Napoli, and Marco Storari has performed admirably in place of the injured Gianluigi Buffon. So why has Moggi been criticising these hard-working, honest players?
Well, let’s not forget the likes of Leandro Rinaudo, who has barely kicked a ball due to injury but nevertheless remains a bizarre signing. The same goes for Armand Traore, an odd piece of business given his inexperience. Marco Motta and Simone Pepe have both had plenty of chances to impress and failed to take them. Motta, a defender, seems happier when attacking, and Pepe, a winger, seems more comfortable when defending. Jorge Martinez is another case entirely – €12 million for a player who can’t get into the team.
Moggi has also blasted the signing of Luca Toni, who joined this month. At 33, he isn’t one for the future but is still a respected striker in Italy. But this is Moggi’s argument. These Juventus players are all good, and better than most in Serie A, but are they really worthy of following in the footsteps of the players he brought in?
Zinedine Zidane, Pavel Nedved and David Trezeguet, amongst numerous others, are a hard act to follow. It may be that Juve no longer have the means to attract the world’s best players, and thus Marotta has brought in the best calibre of player possible. But why can’t they attract better players? Because of Moggiopoli.