Juventus: The Time Is Now (Part Two)

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2009

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 14:  Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri of Juventus celebrate winning during the Serie A match between Juventus and AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on December 14, 2008 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by New Press/Getty Images)

As the summer transfer market continues on, Madrid continue to write the headlines. Juventus are working under the radar, but seem to be making very positive moves. Here we'll focus on the playing squad, looking at strengths and weaknesses, while assessing the need for more arrivals.

In goal Juventus have arguably the world's greatest ever keeper in Gigi Buffon. Time and again the former Parma man proves himself worth every penny of his record breaking transfer, and his loyalty to the Bianconeri cause is unquestionable. He is backed up by Alex Manninger, who showed when Gigi was injured last season that he can be trusted.

In defence Ferrara has said he will play four at all times, with the stand-out player being centre back Chiellini, who seems to mature with every game. Still prone to rash tackles the arrival of Fabio Cannavaro should be of great benefit to him, a chance to learn at close quarters from a legend.

Cannavaro's return has received a mixed reaction, but expect him to lead this unit and win back the fans. Legrottaglie provides solid back up at this position, with Juve expected to sign Santacroce from Napoli, another young Italian player with a huge upside.

At full-back Juve seem ready to sign Grosso from Lyon. This would seem to indicate that either De Ceglie or more likely Molinaro will leave. Whoever stays will not see much playing time as they learn their trade—Grosso still has lots to offer and is one of only a handful of Italians who left the Confederations Cup able to hold their head up.

At right back Juve have the solid, if unspectacular Grygera and Zebina. Both had chances last term, both disappointed and yet Ferrara seems happy not to change. The first position with any doubt. If neither shine a RB will be January's priority.

The shape of the midfield will be moulded round new man Diego. Chased for two years, signed almost immediately at the start of the window, the Brazilian is a very different option for Juve, a real playmaker, bringing some much needed fantasy and invention to a dept lacking severely in both qualities.

Expect Momo Sissoko to play as the enforcer, protecting the defence and Diego. An excellent tackler, he has matured greatly in Turin and can make a vital contribution in attack too.

The retirement of Nedved should leave more playing time on the left for Giovinco, but in less of a wingers role as Ferrara narrows the midfield into a three, with Diego in front. This should allow Giovinco to use his passing skills, as well as his ability to beat his man as he showed against Chelsea last term.

Camoranesi seems to have slowed considerably, expect him either to leave next summer, unless he's used as a bargaining chip this year. Marchionni will leave, as the new formation deems him surplus to requirements.

Other players who need to take the hint and pack their bags are Tiago and Poulsen. Both have refused moves already, neither is wanted. In stark contrast Claudio Marchisio was wanted by Udinese in the negotiations for D'Agostino and the deal seems dead.

Marchisio is a great prospect, offering a little of everything, he has been called one of the future cornerstones of Juventus and you can see why. The veteran Zanetti provides cover in the centre, and can help solidify the team when trying to hold a lead.

The striking department is a strong unit, four players completley different skils, and each combination offering a different look. Amauri started strongly last term and has a great touch as you'd expect from a Brazilian. He also holds the ball up well, vital in Europe, and can bring the midfield into play. Iaquinta is a selfless runner, always working hard for the team, and scores vital goals too.

Trezeguet has been constantly linked with moves away and will be tough to replace if sacrificed. A pure poacher, when fit guarantees goals. Finally, the captain Alessandro Del Piero. Inspirational on the field, he will not be expected to start every game, but will no doubt end the season as top scorer and most vital attacker.

Expect all four to thrive on the service Diego provides.

To sum up, Juve have started the transfer market strongly, Diego and Cannavaro proving Secco has the ability to deliver. Expect more arrivals‚Grosso, D'Agostino or Felipe Melo and a striker if Trezeguet goes. A good squad, blending youth and experience, much improved from last year and a definite contender for honours this season.

Part Three of this focus will look at the club as they return for training in just over a week. The squad should be finalised by this time, giving chance for a good overall assessment.