Juventus Transfers: Beppe Marotta's Best-Value Deals of All Time
Juventus managing director Giuseppe "Beppe" Marotta is a shrewd operator when it comes to the transfer market.
He helped Sampdoria into Europe with a bevy of key moves. His best dealings have come with his current employer, Juve, where his acquisitions have helped the Turin outfit capture two straight Scudetti.
From Andrea Pirlo to Arturo Vidal, here are Marotta’s best-value transfers of all time:
Criteria for Marotta’s Best-Value Deals
- Timely acquisition: The player who was brought in must have been signed during Beppe Marotta's tenure with the team.
- Bought on the cheap: The amount paid for the player also had to be cheap, relative to the player's talent or value. Juve's managing director thrives on buying players for a fraction of what they are actually worth. A hypothetical example of this would be Marotta buying a key player valued at 10 million euros for 3.5 million euros.
- Key contributor: The acquired player has to be an important one. In other words, it can't be a bit-part player who was brought in for free and appeared in more preseason friendlies than official matches. The player had to contribute for it to be considered a bargain.
Italy international Ogbonna was signed for 13 million euros from cross-town rivals Torino this past offseason. At 25, he is already an experienced international player, despite having only nine caps to his name. He made the Italian squads for both Euro 2012 and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Juventus' purchase of him, as well as national team coach Cesare Prandelli's tendency to call up Ogbonna at a young age, shows that he is a player with great potential and an extremely bright future. Tapped to be the future of the defense for the Azzurri, the ex-Torino stalwart will likely succeed club-and-country teammate Andrea Barzagli with Juve and the national squad.
Italy has a penchant for churning out elite centre-backs. Whether it be legends such as Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro or current world-class players such as Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, you can expect the Azzurri to be strong in the back.
Ogbonna looks to be the next in line in terms of succession, and if he lives up to his potential, 13 million euros will be a very small price to pay for a world-class player.
All in all, Juve paid around six million euros for Italian international Giaccherini, and while they sold him to English Premier League side Sunderland this past offseason, he was still a fantastic buy for Beppe Marotta.
Giaccherini served as a utility player for coach Antonio Conte, as he was able to slot into numerous positions in midfield and on the wings. This also propelled the former Cesena player into the national team set-up under Cesare Prandelli where he continues to play a similar role.
Conte's ability to use Giaccherini either behind the striker, out wide or in a more central attacking role was a great benefit to Juve as they used the current Sunderland player as a back-up for nearly every midfield/attacking position.
7. Stephan Lichtsteiner
World-class players typically cost teams enough money to fix the economy of a small country. Beppe Marotta has a history of buying this type of player for very little or no money.
However, he has been known to spend money on quality players while with Juve. Marotta handed over a seemingly inconsequential 10 million euros for the man they call the "Swiss Express," also known as Stephan Lichtsteiner.
The Swiss defender has played an extremely important role in the numerous trophies Juventus has won recently.
The former Lazio man’s versatility and attacking prowess are huge advantages for his current club. Able to play right-back or right wing-back, Lichtsteiner fits in in any system Antonio Conte deploys.
His attacking work rate and barreling runs from the back provide Juve with another excellent attacking option going forward as well as one who can get back and defend at an above-average level.
6. Fernando Llorente
With a world-class midfield group already under contract, Beppe Marotta turned his attention to the front line when he signed Spanish international and 2010 World Cup winner Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao. For free.
At the time, Juve was in dire need of help at the striker position with a group made up of the likes of Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco not cutting it.
Llorente now provides the perfect complement for striking partner Carlos Tevez, while adding a target for Pirlo to pick out in dead-ball situations.
Llorente was also part of the squad that won the 2012 Euros. Should his fine form at Juve continue, he may find himself representing his country once again, this time in Brazil.
5. Andrea Barzagli
Going against his previous trend of buying world-class players for free, Marotta did spend an extremely modest amount of money to acquire Barzagli: 300,000 euros to be exact.
That’s what the Juve managing director paid German club Wolfsburg for the Italian central defender. Initially signed as cover for Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Barzagli has gone on to establish himself as an elite centre-back and starter for the Scudetto holders.
An instrumental player to Juve's success, he'll likely start alongside Chiellini and/or Bonucci in Brazil this summer for Cesare Prandelli's national team, where he has become a near-automatic starter.
Who knew 300,000 euros could get you a world-class defender? Beppe Marotta, apparently.
4. Carlos Tevez
Manchester City paid £25.5 million, or 31 million-plus euros, to sign one of most lethal strikers in the world in Tevez. Juventus paid £10 million, or 12 million and change in euros, for the same player.
That is the going rate for Carlos Tevez.
In return, Juventus has received a clinical finisher in front of goal. Tevez is a player with a tireless work rate and someone who fits Antonio Conte's system perfectly.
Tevez and fellow new addition Llorente give Beppe Marotta a formidable tandem up top—something that has been missing at the Turin club for a long time.
3. Paul Pogba
Pogba joined Juventus close to the onset of his career—for free.
Marotta snapped up the French international after he left Manchester United without many starts to his name. He has quickly established himself as one of the best up-and-coming players in the world, managing to push Italian international Claudio Marchisio out of the starting 11 while turning in some spectacular performances.
The former Le Havre youngster even picked up (in Italian) the prestigious Golden Boy award. Past Golden Boy winners include Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Cesc Fabregas, Mario Gotze and Lionel Messi. So there’s that.
Should Marotta and Juventus decide to sell Pogba, they'll receive a massive amount of cash for a player they paid nothing to get. Should they keep him, they'll have one of the best players in the world for the next 15 years without having paid a transfer fee.
2. Andrea Pirlo
The ultimate free transfer, Pirlo has defied Father Time and doubters with his seemingly never-ending high level of play.
Signed for less money than a pack of gum from AC Milan in 2011, the Italian legend has integrated wonderfully into Juve's team with a consistent level of play that embodies everything that a manager wants out of a regista.
Andrea Pirlo is the rare player who can dominate a game by himself. Whether it is with Juventus or the Italian national team, Pirlo pulls the strings from his position in the midfield. Constantly picking out teammates with lethal long balls or deadly accurate crosses, Pirlo checks many a box for a football team.
Throw in the fact that he may be one of the best, if not the best, players at scoring from free-kicks and you have a very dangerous player.
Milan's loss was Marotta's gain in this situation.
1. Arturo Vidal
Here is Beppe Marotta's best acquisition. One that he could probably hang his career on if/when Juve achieves Champions League success. I'm referring to Arturo Vidal.
Paying that kind of money would be a large investment for a number of clubs, but it’s paltry for Juve seeing as what Vidal has become.
The former Colo Colo man has established himself into arguably the best all-around player on the planet.
His high work rate allows him to track back and defend at an elite level while also pushing forward and scoring goals. His defensive play is also important because it protects Pirlo. The Italian maestro can go to work pulling the strings on offense and doesn’t have to worry about tracking back or defending as much because Vidal, and also Pogba, is able to do that for him.
Among other things, the lack of defensive responsibilities will extend Pirlo's career at the end of the day.