Juventus Transfer Window: The Top 10 Best and Worst Signings Since Calciopoli
Juventus F.C. dominated the Italian Serie A for much of the decade winning the scudetto in the 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, and 2005-06 seasons. The team enjoyed tremendous success and financial prosperity during this time period, but all would change in 2006 when Juventus was caught fixing matches. La Vecchia Signora, stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles were also relegated to Serie B for the first time ever.
Calciopoli has stunt the growth of one of Europe’s most successful teams and has resulted in one of the worst stretches in Juventus’ prestigious history. Luciano Moggi received the lifetime ban from the game leaving the Turin side with tough decisions to make in the transfer window for years to come.
Moggi’s successors have had a tough go of it lately as Juventus has been a bit of a revolving door for players since Calciopoli. Some poor signings have put the club in a financial chokehold but some signings have actually turned out to be extremely beneficial for the team.
Here are the top 10 best and worst signings for Juventus since the 2006 match-fixing scandal.
Best #10: Luca Toni
World Cup 2006 hero and former Palermo and Fiorentina great Luca Toni curiously left Italy for Bayern Munich in 2007. It was a move that hurt Toni and cost him caps for the Italian national team. After three disappointing years in Germany, the striker returned to Italy on loan with AS Roma. He then joined Genoa in 2010 before being signed by Juventus in January of 2011.
Toni’s free transfer was a steal for a player who still had some good soccer in him. The big man immediately filled in last season for the short-handed Juventus attack and scored two goals in black and white.
He is a great player for Juventus to have come off the bench in a 2011 season in which they have the likes of Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella as starters. Toni’s experience and lethal head provides this year’s team with some depth in case of injuries or fitness issues.
Free is always good. It was a smart signing and one that will help Juventus chances of winning the scudetto this season.
Worst #10: Tiago
Tiago cost Juventus €13 million in 2007 when he came over from French side Lyon. His first season in Italy was an absolute nightmare as was his entire career for La Vecchia Signora.
The Portuguese midfielder never established himself and soon found himself sitting on the bench after the emergence of Claudio Marchisio and the arrival of Felipe Melo and Diego. Injuries also slowed down Tiago who never scored a single goal for Juventus.
In 2010, he was loaned to Spanish side Atletico Madrid where he found frequent playing time. In July of 2011 he signed a permanent contract for Atletico putting an end to his time in Italy.
Best #9: Marco Storari
Marco Storari was a pretty good goalie at Sampdoria before joining Milan to fill the goalkeeper need at the San Siro. However, after Gianluigi Buffon’s injury in the World Cup left him unable to play for half of the 2010-11season, Juventus made a smart investment purchasing Storari.
The former-Sampdoria keeper was a steal for a side that was without their number one goalie. Alex Manninger struggled in 2009-10 but Storari filled in extremely well during Buffon’s absence.
He kept the team in title contention making important saves last season as the starter. When Buffon came back he was a great second choice keeper who would have probably started for any other team in Serie A.
His solid play went unnoticed but nevertheless he was a great addition to the Turin side.
Worst #9: Marco Motta
Juventus acquired former Italian youth national team defender Marco Motta on loan from Udinese prior to the 2010-11season. Motta was supposed be the starting right back after Martin Caceres and Jonathan Zebina exited the club the same year.
He had a tough first year in Turin losing his starting job to 18-year old Frederik Sorensen after struggling to keep up with attackers and failing to get into the attacking third on a consistent basis. Motta looked completely overmatched at times and often made poor decisions that wound up costing the team.
It came as a bit surprise that Juventus decided to purchase Motta after his disappointing loan spell came to an end in 2011. But with the signing of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Motta might have been signed just to add depth to the defense in case of injury or red card trouble. He will be behind Lichtsteiner, Sorensen, and Grygera.
Best #8: Frederik Sorensen
What ultimately cost Juventus a chance at playing in the Champions League this season was the play of the defense. The team could not hold leads against teams that they should have beaten, tying and losing games late on defensive miscues.
The play at right back was below average with Marco Motta, Zdenek Grygera, and even Simone Pepe among others trying their hand at playing the position. All had disappointing seasons on the right side of the field, often looking overmatched against left-sided attackers.
Juventus made a terrific move signing the 18-year old Danish defender Frederik Sorensen from Lyngby before the end of the transfer window. The teenager who is a natural center back has showed a lot of confidence at right defense and was probably the team’s best option at right back a season ago.
The defining moment of his young career so far has been his standout performance against Inter marking the dangerous Samuel Eto’o. Sorensen has great potential to become a solid defender in Serie A but this year he will find it difficult to get playing time over Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Worst #8: Armand Traore
The loan move for Arsenal’s Armand Traore last season barely cost Juventus any money, but it turned out to be an absolutely terrible signing. The young French left back battled injuries all of 2010 and appeared in only 10 games for Juventus.
Traore was supposed to add some depth and compete with Paolo De Ceglie and Fabio Grosso for the left back position but Grosso was the last man standing. Traore struggled with health and fitness, and did not impress one bit when given playing time.
Traore had a brief career in Serie A and now he has returned back to Arsenal after his loan spell. He certainly didn’t justify Juventus’ faith in signing him on loan from Arsenal.
Best #7: Andrea Barzagli
Barzagli surely wasn’t a big name signing in the 2011 January transfer window but he was an absolutely useful signing for the club. He was a member of the 2006 World Cup champion Italian team and featured in several games on the big stage.
He came to Turin with a calm presence at the back and saw a lot of playing time down the stretch. The 29-year old had success in Serie A before leaving for Wolfsburg, which made a return to Italy a great move for Juventus.
Barzagli is solid at center back but he can also play right back or come off the bench providing Juventus with nice depth at the defense position after the team lost Nicola Legrottaglie and Leandro Rinaudo last season.
Worst #7: Mohamed Sissoko
Mohamed Sissoko joined Juventus as the heir apparent to Patrick Vieira. Many thought his big frame and long legs would help him reach the level that Vieira was at when he battled in the midfield for the bianconeri a few years earlier.
Sissoko came over to Italy after a strong showing in the Premier League for Liverpool but has not proven himself one bit. Whether it is all the injuries, the lack of playing time given to him by Juventus coaches, or his reckless style of play when he is actually on the field, Sissoko has not had any impact on this team since arriving in January of 2008.
The team has lost confidence in him as he has spent most of his Juventus career on the bench. His future in Italy might be in jeopardy as the bianconeri are actively looking to shop him to another team this off-season.
Best #6: Leonardo Bonucci
After a horrible showing for Italy in the 2010 World Cup, Fabio Cannavaro left Juventus and created a vacancy in the center of defense for the bianconeri. One of the biggest surprises of the World Cup was the emergence of young Leonardo Bonucci in the run up to the tournament. Marcello Lippi showed a lot of confidence in the Bari defender by bringing him to South Africa for the world’s biggest sporting event.
Though he did not get any playing time in the World Cup, he impressed in friendlies and training, showing tremendous potential playing next to Giorgio Chiellini.
Bonucci cost Juventus €15.5 million but that was the price they had to pay to acquire a future Italy national team player who would gain a wealth of knowledge and chemistry playing with Chiellini in Turin.
He will be at the back for the bianconeri for the foreseeable future where he will get the necessary experience in order to make him a star.
Worst #6: Christian Poulsen
Christian Poulsen fits the bill of a hardworking, aggressive central defensive midfielder. He enjoyed success at FC Copenhagen before moving on to bigger European clubs. Poulsen played well at Sevilla where he won the 2007 UEFA Cup and caught the eye of Juventus.
The Danish midfielder joined Juve in 2008 for a transfer fee of €9.75 and an annual salary of €3 million. From the start Poulsen failed to prove himself on the big stage with the Italian giants, getting booked too frequently and trying too hard to be a playmaker in the center of the park.
The Dane strayed away from his hardworking defensive game and began to fall in love with distributing the ball often leading to loss in possession and wasted opportunities.
Poulsen played two seasons for Juventus before being sold to Liverpool for € 4.5. His game might very well be suited for the fast-paced English game. But his time in Italy left a lot to be desired.
Best #5: Alberto Aquilani
Alberto Aquilani was an absolute flop after he joined Liverpool for an incredible 20 million. Things got so bad in England that the team wanted to get rid of the former Roma midfielder. After selling Diego, Juventus turned to Aquilani to fill the void in the center of the park and become a playmaker for a team that lacked creativity.
Aquilani joined on a loan with an option for Juventus to buy following the 2010-11 season. Though the bianconeri did not pick up his contract this offseason, Aquilani was one of the best moves that the team made this year.
The central midfielder, who usually has trouble staying healthy, played most of the games for the Turin side and made a huge difference. He finally got some much needed playing time to shake off the rust that he collected while not getting on the pitch for Liverpool.
He earned a call-up to the national team for the first time since Euro 2008 and has now come back into the picture for the azzurri and Euro 2012.
Worst #5: Vincenzo Iaquinta
Vincenzo Iaquinta first made a name for himself after scoring in the 2006 World Cup against Ghana. He played for Udinese but was given a huge opportunity in 2007 when he joined Juventus.
His scoring record might read 30 goals in 88 appearances, but such a stat is misleading. Iaquinta’s time at Juventus can be summed up in one word, injured. Every time he began to play well he would sustain an injury that would set him back.
Iaquinta never really got into a grove because of all the injuries that he has dealt with. Starting off the 2011 season, he has been ruled out for three weeks and will miss the team’s USA tour.
€11.3 million was a good price at the time but the tall forward hasn’t been on the field enough to earn his contract.
Best #4: Fabio Quagliarella
Although injured most of the 2010-11 season, Fabio Quagliarella had one of the best seasons of his career in his first season for Juventus. He led the team in goals with 9 in 17 appearances and kept his side in title contention all the way up until his season-ending against Parma in January.
He was a potent goal-scorer with an eye for goal last season as his positive showing in the World Cup carried over to his club team. The collapse of the team coincided with the loss of Quagliarella. It was an unfortunate blow that changed the entire landscape of the season.
Juventus decided to purchase the striker for €10.5 million after his loan came to an end. It is a bit of a gamble because of the risk that he might not perform up to the same level as he did last year. But if he returns back to his old self, Quagliarella will be a force to be reckoned with alongside Alessandro Matri and Alessandro Del Piero.
Worst #4: Amauri
Back at the time Juventus signed Amauri for €22.6 million, it was hard to argue that he wasn’t a good player. He was a proven goal-scorer in Serie A for Palermo and a finisher that Juventus needed in 2008. But things have been nothing short of a nightmare for the Brazilian-born Italian striker.
In 71 appearances for the bianconeri, Amauri only scored 17 goals. He struggled playing alongside Alessandro Del Piero and looked nothing like the dangerous player he was in Palermo.
Not only did Juventus spend €22.6 million, but they also gave away Antonio Nocerino, and Davide Lanzafame. In 2011 Amauri was loaned out to Parma and found some success scoring seven goals in eleven games.
He has returned from loan to Turin and will have to fight for playing time against Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, and Alessandro Del Piero among others.
Best #3: Andrea Pirlo
There is no question Andrea Pirlo is a world-class player. He might be 32 years old but he still has it. It is yet to be determined whether or not Milan will regret their decision not to offer Pirlo anything longer than a one-year contract.
Many feel that Milan gave up on the maestro too early and that he still has a lot left in the tank to play up to his 2006 World Cup form in which he looked unstoppable. Let me remind you that players like Pirlo can play late into their careers. A prime example is David Beckham who is 36 and can still put in some great crosses.
Pirlo can play his withdrawn central midfield position for at least three more years in a league that is not as physically demanding or faster than other leagues in the world.
Injuries will be the key though. If he stays healthy, this player can make everyone around him better. Getting Pirlo on a free transfer is surely a great move for such a quality player.
Worst #3: Jorge Martinez
It is hard to understand what exactly Juventus was thinking last offseason when they spent €12 million on Jorge Martinez. The Uruguayan never proved himself at a big club before joining the Turin giants. His previous club, Catania, constantly fought to stay out of the relegation zone and his success for the small club was simply not an indicator of how he would play for a big club like Juventus.
Martinez battled injury most of last season and did not even manage to score a single goal. The winger has come across as selfish and a bit of a ball hog, something that Juventus is not about.
Martinez might be a good player but he is certainly not a €12 million player who represents what Juventus is truly about.
Best #2: Milos Krasic
Milos Krasic wanted to come to Juventus all along after drawing attention while playing for Serbia in the 2010 World Cup. The speedy right winger can take on players and get the ball down the pitch while also being able to score some goals.
Juventus signed the Serb for €15 million from CSKA Moscow, a move that has worked out extremely well so far. Krasic started the season off with a bang, drawing comparisons to the former Juventus-great Pavel Nedved.
Krasic’s speed has made things difficult for defenders in Serie A as now they have resorted to double-teaming Milos when he gets the ball out wide on the right side. He is one of the team’s best players and biggest difference makers who has lived up to the money Juventus spent on him.
Worst #2: Felipe Melo
As part of Juventus’ 2009 summer spending spree, Felipe Melo joined the Turin side from Fiorentina for a whopping €25 million. Melo’s experience in Serie A and strong showing for Brazil in the 2009 FIFA Confederation’s Cup drew a lot of interest from Juventus.
Melo would never live up to the price tag that was placed on him and he would frequently become the scapegoat for the struggles of the team. The defensive midfielder was never accepted warmly by Juventus fans and he never showed any affection to them either.
The marriage to Juventus was dysfunctional from the start. Melo’s hothead and lack of discipline often got him into trouble and cost the team in the end. Too many red cards and reckless decisions summarize his time in Turin. Now he plays his football in Turkey for Galatasaray where he can start over fresh.
Best #1: Alessandro Matri
The loss of Fabio Quagliarella to injury last season devastated a Juventus team that began to falter before the January transfer window. The team was in desperate need of an attacker with Alessandro Del Piero aging, Quagliarella out for the season, Iaquinta injured, and Amauri on loan with Parma.
Juventus fans wanted a big name like Edin Dzeko or Emmanuel Adebayor but the bianconeri settled for Calgliari’s Alessandro Matri. While still an unproven striker in Italy, Matri scored 20 goals in 38 games during the 2010-11season and impressed Italy coach Cesare Prandelli enough to earn a spot on the national team.
Matri was perhaps the best signing of 2010-11 when he came over from loan. The 26-year old has been a prolific goal-scorer and target striker who can play alongside a smaller and speedier type forward like Del Piero or Quagliarella.
Juventus have purchased his contract this season and he will be under contract in Turin for four years. The deal worked out well for Juventus who needed more youth and more attack after a disappointing season a year ago.
Worst #1: Diego
Diego turned heads in the Bundesliga especially after having his best season in 2008-09 with Werder Bremen. At a young age, the Brazilian was on the fast track to superstardom after being called to the senior national team in 2005.
His style of play caught the attention of big clubs around Europe but no one believed in him more than Juventus did. The bianconeri needed a playmaker in the midfield after Pavel Nedved’s retirement following the 2008 season, so they broke the bank to acquire Diego.
Juventus paid a transfer fee of €24.5 million plus an additional €2.4 million in bonuses. His Serie A career started off well but his struggles to adapt to the Italian game soon frustrated fans that began to turn on him. Diego only scored five goals for Juventus in 33 appearances. His lone year in Italy was an epic failure considering the steep price that he cost the club.
La Vecchia Signora sold him back to Germany for €14.75 million and ever since, he has had a nightmare career for VFL Wolfsburg.
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