As is the norm when a team of Juventus’ stature comes off the back of a season of woeful underperforming, Bianconeri fans will be hit with a dramatic influx of paper talk concerning changes to the club from the plausible, such as the purchase of Giuseppe Rossi, to the outright insane as demonstrated by the rumours of Arjen Robben arriving following his protagonist’s role for Bayern Munich in their journey to the Champions’ League Final.
However, just one look at Juve’s dealings so far shows that they have arguably made their best signing already, one that could prove to be the best that any team makes in this window and that’s without even having signed a player. I am referring, of course, to the new Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta who signed a deal with the Old Lady just as the previous season came to a close.
Yes, some of you readers may be raising your eyebrows as to his exact capacity as a director due to his previous dealings involving limited resources, and true, anybody would have been a step up from Secco, but it is the vast gulf in quality between the two which makes Marotta such an important acquisition for Juve.
Already we are witnessing some big moves on the market by him despite what could be seen as Juve’s most disappointing season in terms of expectations since Calciopoli, including the season spent in Serie B. Whilst the biggest signings Secco brought in during his tenure were Diego and Melo at vastly inflated prices, Marotta is currently closing in on a deal to sign Milos Krasic, one of the most talented wingers available, for much less than €20 million. This too when he could have settled for the easier option of signing the far less consistent, but equally hyped Juan Manual Vargas for €26 million as his buyout clause stipulates in a deal similar to the one that brought Melo to the club and we all know how that worked out. This one deal clearly illustrates the economic sensibility and negotiation skills which Marotta possess in recognising the true value of a player and convincing his club to let him go for that price (or less if possible).
It must also be taken into consideration the fact that he is bringing in the sort of players his manager wanted him to – wingers. Whether it be Krasic, or the underrated Simone Pepe and Jorge Martinez, Marotta is chasing the hardworking players Del Neri requires. Once more I refer to Felipe Melo’s transfer to emphasise Marotta’s excellence in comparison to Secco, as the inexperienced Director could not follow Ferrara’s instructions in buying D’Agostino and instead went for the easier and far more garish option at Fiorentina.
Though Marotta’s main business at the moment seems to involve the desires of his manager, he has also taken time to address Juve’s biggest problem; the defence. While the previous administration decided to create a smokescreen by bringing in memories of Berlin’s glory in the shape of Cannavaro and Grosso, Marotta is working on rectifying their mistake of selling half of Criscito’s contract, whilst also waiting for Bonucci’s co-ownership to be resolved before almost certainly making a move. Then all that remains is to sort out the right back slot and he has already impressed me by refusing to give in to Caceres’ ridiculous €12 million price tag. Possibly Marco Motta or Christian Maggio would come cheaper and be far more astute in the offensive side of the game.
So it’s fairly clear that in signing Marotta, La Vecchia Signora have conducted a great coup. With him at the helm of transfers, their will surely be many shrewd signings to come and they will be of a much higher quality than in recent seasons and that too at a time when the club’ image has been tarnished greatly, even more so by the horrific season just endured. Of course I may just be getting too far ahead of myself, as he has only officially signed Pepe. But things are looking promising for the Bianconeri and I think many fans would agree it’s about time.