Although they finished seventh in Serie A this season, Juventus have already been active in the transfer window and look set to complete the transfer of Lazio full back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The Swiss defender who loves to get forward looks set to be the Bianconeri’s eighth signing of the summer.
Lichtsteiner has been nicknamed ‘Forrest Gump’ because of his marauding counter attacking play. Since beginning his career at Grasshopper Zurich he moved to Lille where he helped them qualify for the Champions League. Despite interest from England he signed for Lazio in 2008 and has made 100 appearances for the Eagles in the league and was vital in the recent campaign. He has also represented Switzerland on 39 occasions and played in the 2010 World Cup. It is thought the fee is in the region of €10 million which will see him swap the Italian capital for Turin.
There have been many changes at Juve already this summer. Antonio Conte has replaced Luigi Del Neri as coach and they have been very active in the transfer market. The club have already signed Italian World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo from Milan, fellow Swiss defender Reto Ziegler from Sampdoria, Marco Motta and Simone Pepe from Udinese. Napoli pair Michele Pazienza and Fabio Quagliarella have also come in with Quagliarella making his move permanent after last season’s loan. Finally, striker Alessandro Matri has arrived who was co-owned with Cagliari. The club will also start life in their new stadium next season after sharing with Torino since 2006.
After a number of unsuccessful years it appears that Juve’s fortunes maybe turning round. Since the disastrous Calciopoli scandal in 2006 where the Bianconeri were relegated to Serie B it has been a tough times for the Old Lady. The club is desperate to gain qualification to the prestigious Champions League next season which will provide the revenue required to bring the best players to the club.
The right back position is one the club has struggled to fill successfully in recent years. After signing Marco Motta on loan from Udinese last summer the Italian international struggled to make an impression. However, after signing a permanent deal this summer it appears likely that he will fight for his place next season with Lichtsteiner. With the addition of Andrea Pirlo as playmaker there will no doubt be more emphasis placed on the full-backs to get forward and attack with his range of passing.
New coach Conte has already spoken of his desire to return Juve to the top of Italian football. Without any European distractions this goal is certainly possible. His new look squad has a good blend of youth and experience and it is likely that Conte’s Juventus will be similar in style to the coach. There will be a high work ethic with emphasis placed on midfield industry mixed in with a creative edge.
Lichtsteiner looks set to be part of a new revolution in Turin. It will be extremely interesting to see how he progresses.