Juventus and Andrea Agnelli: Have Faith, Change Is Coming

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2010

TURIN - JANUARY 26:  Juventus fans say farewell to former Club President Gianni Agnelli who died on Friday, during the Serie A match between Juventus and Piacenza, played at the Delle Alpi Stadium, Turin, Italy on January 26, 2003.  (Photo by Grazia Neri/ Getty Images)
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It has been nearly two months since Andrea Agnelli officially became President of Juventus Football Club. In that time, aided by new Director General Beppe Marotta, he has overseen a quiet evolution of the club.

This was exactly what was promised back in May when the famous family name was reattached to the club, yet most fans expected him to go much further and wanted a revolution.

With the signings so far being low-key (but essential), and sales of unwanted players hard to negotiate due to their large contracts, the plans of the new regime seem to have stalled. The Ultra made their feelings clear this week in Varese, as was explained yesterday.

Juve fans have been starved of success for four years, an eternity at a club so accustomed to winning. The wait for silverware is tough and the President’s arrival was a clear signal that that wait will soon end.

Managing the level expectation has been the clubs biggest problem since its return to Serie A in 2007. Gaining entry to the Champions League at the first time of asking pushed it even higher--a completely unrealistic position for any newly promoted side, no matter the circumstances or history.

The problem facing Agnelli is not only the history & expectation attached to Juventus, but also the level of prestige & success synonymous with his family name.

His father, Umberto Agnelli was President at the turn of the century, & oversaw the sale of Zinedine Zidane, followed by the purchases of Pavel Nedved, Gigi Buffon, Lillian Thuram and a number of others. That was the last real revolution the club has had.

Umberto’s brother, Gianni is even more of a club legend - and brought amazing success along with him. By uniting John Charles, Omar Sivori & Giampiero Boniperti he created one of Italy’s best ever teams, trophies followed immediately.

So, big footsteps to follow in, but from the moves made so far in the transfer market, its seems he may be ready to follow in the best traditions of his family. Despite being one of Europe’s more active clubs this summer, Juventus have spent relatively little when closely scrutinised.

Marco Motta’s loan cost €1.25m and Simone Pepe’s €2.6m. Jorge Martinez, Marco Storari & Leo Bonucci’s fees are spread over 3 years, meaning so far only €4m has gone to Catania, €1.5m to Milan & €5.16m to Bari. All of which comes to €14.51m.

Set against that are the sales of Sergio Almiron (Bari, €5m), Cristian Molinaro (Stuttgart, €3.9m) meaning an outlay so far of €5.61m. The expected arrival of Milos Krasic from CSKA Moscow (approx €16m) will mostly be covered by further sales of Tiago, Mauro Camoranesi & perhaps Christian Poulsen.

Given the huge fees involved in the eventually fruitless chase of Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko, all evidence points to Marotta & Agnelli making one big summer purchase before the window closes, undoubtedly meaning a new striker.

But who? Following the policy of the new board, it would indicate an Italian - particularly now Krasic seems set to take up the one available non-EU spot. The other pointer is revealed when looking at the forwards already at the club.

While David Trezeguet & Alessandro Del Piero are undoubted in terms of both class & effort, can either realisticlly be expected to play every game of what will be one of the longest the club has ever competed.

Then there is Vincenzo Iaquinta, Diego and Amauri. While packing the midfield with quality, pace, and much needed creativity, do any of the players look remotely like being a line-leading-offside-trap-breaking-capocannoniere- winning-20-goal-a-season striker the club needs?

Names? Alberto Gilardino is no longer tied to his mentor Cesare Prandelli in Florence, Giampaolo Pazzini owes much of his revival in Genoa to the men now in charge at Juventus. Would either truly refuse an offer above €20 million for their player? Unlikely. Would either player turn down the chance to become an idol in Turin? Even less likely.

Juventus fans should have total faith in the new President’s leadership & intentions. After all, it's in his blood.