At this moment in time, news emanating from every source on the peninsula suggests that Juventus have fast plunged into an abyss due to poor recent results and their apparent woeful undertakings in the market. Management is being criticised, the Coach is being condemned and the players have lost their passion.
However, whilst certain mistakes have been made and easily highlighted through the benefit of hindsight, it is important to understand the enormity of the task of reconstruction current Management were faced with when they agreed to jump on board in the summer. Past Management weaknesses ran deeper than most people could ever hope to understand. The fact that Andrea Agnelli recently suggested that Juventus have the sixth highest payroll in Europe despite great efforts to reduce the wage bill speaks volumes on the type of cheques and contracts Alessio Secco was agreeing to in his tenure. And that is only one of the many factors still hurting a team that continues to work daily on fixing past problems.
At long last, Juventus are returning to their very basic values – young and Italian. They continue to fight in defence of the Old Lady with regards to Calciopoli and they have brought in some key players that will form the future of the Bianconeri in the form of Milos Krasic and Alberto Aquilani, despite the lack of cash available due to past management’s economic ineptitude and the failure to qualify for the Champions League. Yet despite the great strides taken, there is one factor that remains difficult to fully understand, or rather defend – was there ever a need to start from scratch?
Of the strongest criticisms aimed at Juventus’ management last season, when Jean Claude Blanc and Secco were in charge, was that Juve attempted to change too much too quickly without the proper tools. After the retirement of club legend Pavel Nedved, the traditional wing based play of the club was ditched and in its place arrived the €25m Brazilian trequartista, Diego, forcing the side to build a team around him. Without the necessary ingredients necessary to make his inclusion and the formation work, Juventus collapsed, especially when the man tasked with overseeing this massive change was the inexperienced Ciro Ferrara.
Old Management may have been abysmal but what they left behind was a great spine to the team that with appropriate management and due enforcement could well have been a championship winning side. Diego and an understudy in the form of Sebastian Giovinco were present and a formation already existed. All that was required was a sturdier defence, a striker and a regista to complete the puzzle. Instead, the very few good efforts made by previous managements were scrapped to start another new project and ultimately, one could argue that they committed a similar sort of error – changing too much too quickly.
Rather than working with what they already had, they opted to build a side to suit the tactical vision of the 4-4-2 disciple, Luigi Delneri. Unfortunately, with new players required to make a new formation work, quality was sacrificed in the name of quantity and the Bianconeri see themselves suffering with a mediocre side high on ‘grinta’ but low on technical expertise.
Unfortunately, with Management still fixing previous errors, they cannot be accurately judged on their work thus far. In this case, time is of the essence but can anyone truly doubt an Agnelli?