With the silly season well underway, Juventus have been busy trying to strengthen their squad ahead of the 2009/2010 season. A few pieces of business have already been agreed, Fabio Cannavaro has signed from Real Madrid, long term target Diego was brought in from Werder Bremen for a €24 million. Olof Mellberg has joined Olympiakos for €2.5m and highly rated Azzurrini star Domenico Criscito made his loan move to Genoa permanent for around €5.5m, plus Pavel Nedved decided his time was up as he retired from our beautiful game.
It is rumoured Juve have roughly another €20-30 million left to rebuild this summer, a host of names are said to surplus to requirements, the most high profile being David Trezeguet, Jonathan Zebina and Christian Poulsen. If these players are sold this may add to the already bulging coffers, but where and who will Juventus spend this summer. I will give you a run down of the most likely arrivals in Turin.
Firstly, the areas I believe Juve must reinforce are the full back areas, particularly left back, and centre midfield, adding creativity and bite to the lacklustre centre they currently have. In addition a possible forward, as Del Piero is now moving towards the twilight of his career and Iaquinta does not have the required quality for a Juventus side looking to challenge on three fronts.
Gaetano D’Agostino – €12-15 million
What a year it would be if former AS Roma youth product managed to secure a transfer to the Turin giants. Starting his career as a wide player, he has remodelled himself as a playmaking defensive midfielder in the Andrea Pirlo mould. His performances have been fantastic for Udinese this season and he earned his first Italy call-up back in November then making his debut against Northern Ireland in June. He would be an excellent acquisition for the Bianconeri who looked to add a bit of verve to the centre. The transfer so far has been an on/saga all summer with Juve unwilling to meet Udinese’s price tag of €16 million. The player wants to join Juve, and Juve want the player, expect more negotiations before the summers out, but this one should go through sooner or later.
Mahamadou Diarra – €15-18 million
The Malian midfield general has already been linked with Juventus this summer at the recommendation of former teammate Cannavaro. Out for pretty much the whole of last season with a knee injury, he is the added steel Juve need on the centre. He is very much a tough tackling midfield general and will look to stamp his authority on the Juventus midfield. He will also be available as Real Madrid have his namesake Lassana whilst tracking former Juve target Xabi Alonso, he will be deemed surplus. Possible stumbling blocks for me are the size of the fee and the similarities to Momo Sissoko.
Fabio Grosso – €7 million
What can be said about Fabio Grosso, well we know he has his best games in the blue of Italy, the last ‘big’ club he was at, he flopped, the club in question Internazionale. After spending two years in France playing for Lyon it seems he wants a return to the peninsula, with Juve heading the queue. An integral part of the 2006 World Cup winning side, and still a huge part of Marcelo Lippi’s 2010 World Cup plans, he would be ideal as a short-term solution to the problem left back slot. Soon to be 32 years old, time is not on his side, but in his defence he will run tirelessly up and down his flank and the possibility of linking up with international teammates Chiellini, Cannavaro and Buffon could make Italy’s World Cup preparations very interesting indeed.
Andrea Dossena – €5-10 million
In my opinion Andrea Dossena is not of the desired quality Juventus need to progress. He is prone to defensive lapses and his delivery on the overlap is erratic at best. The main part of his game is energy, he will give 100% every time he pulls on football shirt no matter who for. He has not broken into the Liverpool first team this season, and is behind Fabio Grosso in the Azzurri line up. Given that Liverpool would look to recoup the €7 million they paid Udinese, I think Dossena is a player Juve should avoid, too expensive and no better than what they already have.
Goran Pandev – €17-20 million
After a successful season with Lazio, the man from Macedonian is in demand, Bayern Munich are reported to be interested as well. He would provide versatility, as he is accustomed to playing as a striker, second-striker and winger. He could adequately fill the void left by Nedved. But do Juve desperately need another striker you may ask, I would say yes but not for the money Lazio are asking, if a reduced fee can be agreed then it would make sense to bring him in.
Xabi Alonso – €15- 20 million
Juventus tried and failed to bring the Spaniard to the Olimpico last summer due to a difference in valuation with the Liverpool board. He then went on to have probably the best season of his career and certainly his most effective on Merseyside. He provides cover for the defence, with great anticipation coupled with an extraordinary reading of the game. He is blessed with supreme technique and eye for an incisive pass. He would compliment Sissoko/Marchisio well and should be considered a definite purchase. However, with interest from Real Madrid it may be hard to persuade him to choose Serie A over La Liga.
Lest we not forget the young players trying to break into the first team. Sebastian Giovinco, Paolo De Ceglie and Claudio Marchisio. All three have had fantastic summers in Sweden with the U21 squad. Giovinco particularly impressed and if given the chance will blossom is Bianconeri through and through. De Ceglie and especially Marchisio both broke into the first team last season, the latter more so. If Ferrara can blend these homegrown talents with some astute purchases then La Vecchia Signora may well push Inter all the way this coming season.