Juventus season Preview 17/18
We sat down with Serie A expert and Juventus super-fan @Juvefcdotcom to discuss all things Juventus. Scroll down to read more....
Q. So firstly what have you made of Juventus's summer transfer window? Seeing Bonucci leave to Milan must have been a shock?!
A. Seeing Bonucci leave was an absolute shock, more so because of the speed of the transfer - It went from being a rumour in the Italian press to him collecting his things from Vinovo and saying goodbye to his teammates. It took a while to sink in but i suspect there are a whole host of reasons for it. The transfer market on the whole has been decent enough - A 7.5/10 for me - We addresses the issues that troubled us the most last season - Natural wingers were bought in to play on either flank (Bernardeschi and Costa), we eventually signed a central midfielder, although perhaps not the one on top of the list, we've partially addressed the departure of Dani Alves and got a replacement for Neto. A good summer. Still feel we need a CB to cover the defence and a RB/LB - If we can bring back Spinazzola, sign Garay and perhaps go all out for another midfielder, I think it's the strongest squad in some time.
Q. I see. In terms of needing another midfielder, was there any particular reason Lemina was let go? Or was he simply just not good enough?
A. My own personal opinion is that he was never going to replace Khedira, Pjanic or Marchisio in the pecking order. He would have had to been a Pogba-esque talent to replace any of the aforementioned 3. Lemina is a good player that needs to be played regularly. At Juve he simply wouldn't get those chances. I still think he'll be a success at Southampton. Add into the mix the change of formation
We went from using a 3-man mid for many seasons to shifting to a 4-2-3-1. There's even fewer starting spots and 7 central midfielders, Marchisio, Khedira, Pjanic, Rincon, Lemina, Rincon, Sturaro - Something had to give - Asamoah can also play CM as well
Q. I see. Well I look forward to seeing Lemina in the PL! Just continuing with the transfer market, Milan have invested significantly this summer, are Juventus still the favourites for the title?
A. Milan look a strong side, but they seem to be rebuilding from scratch - I think it might take a little while for them to play to their strengths as a team - They have to contest with the Europa league and Serie A - To their credit, they have very big talents in each position - Bonucci in defence, Kessie in midfield and a gamble on Andre Silva up front - If it all comes together sooner rather than later, they can challenge. I have doubts about Montella, rather than the squad. I think Juve are still the favourites for the title but i suspect Napoli and Roma will run us close again. Inter are in the mix. they've had a low-key summer in some regards, but their best signing is Spalletti - He brings stability and lots of experience. He's a good man-manager as well. I think this year will be one of the most competitive in some time in Serie A
Q. Serie A does certainly look very interesting indeed this season! Changing the topic a bit, something that has baffled people in England and fans of other leagues too perhaps is how such a huge club like Juventus consistently lose top players. Bonucci, D Alves, Pogba, Vidal from the top of my head have all left in the past few years despite on the pitch success for the Old Lady. Are financial reasons to blame? Or is there another underlying issue?
A. It's not financial as i understand it - Juve have a wage structure that they've stuck to for some time now - They spent dilligently from 2011/12 due to the excesses of the previous management team. they bought wisely, without overextending themselves - Now they're in a much healthier financial position, back to where they were in 2006, before Farsopoli. The reason for the depatures could be put down to a number of things - There;s a certain expectation at Juve, in terms of towing the line and how you're expected to behave. I suspect the management also attracted the big players by perhaps offering them flexibility in terms of 'if the player chooses to leave at a particular stage, they won't stand in their way' - I don;t like that approach, but it's been repeated like a mantra by Beppe Marotta. You can also see other factors in the departure of many players with bonucci, i believe it's a clash of personalities with Allegri - They fell out and never got past that Alves talked about a different footballing ethos at Juve compared to how he played at Barca and Sevilla Vidal had off the pitch issues - the car crash and drink driving didn;t go down well with the management. From the interview Mino Raiola gave to the FT, Pogba's move was planned long in advance and Juve stuck to their guns on the price. Tevez went back to Argentina which was always the plan.The hope is that we are now going to consolidate the squad for a while - try and build and keep a core for the years ahead.The player turnover has really frustrated the supporters, especially this summer
Q. Even further we've seen Paulo Dybala and Marchiso linked with moves from the club. Do you see the long term futures of both players (especially Dybala) being at Juve?
A. Marchisio is Juve though and through - There are always rumours surrounding him and he stays in Turin every year - His wife opened a new restaurant in Turin, his kids are part of the youth squad, the player is very settled. Dybala is a very different story. He's been through a lot as a kid so i think he matured a lot after leaving Argentina. He doesn't say much on his future, but when he does speak, he talks about being a 'bandiera' like Del Piero - Thats a big deal which he understands. He also reiterated a few times that he is happy in Turin and it's up to the club to decide his future giving him the 10 is a big investment in him and not a decision made out of the blue. Beppe Marotta spoke about Dybala and the club being tied together for some time, of projects to come and working in tandem. As a juventino, i've learned to take it all with a pinch of salt - If he leaves next summer, i wouldn;t be surprised if it was for the likes of Barca. If he stays another season, it will say a lot about his character. He's also becoming more of a leader in the background, speaking honestly and saying the kinds of things you would expect from senior squad members. The signs are good
Q. Will be very interesting to see his development in the coming years! Taking these factors into account and the fact that Juventus have consistently been in the latter stages of the UCL in the past few seasons what would you class as a "acceptable" season for Juventus this season? Both domestically and in Europe. Can they still compete?
A. They have everything needed to compete in both competitions - ideally, i'd like a world class midfielder to arrive late on, but thats wishful thinking. I think Serie A is always important to us Juventini. the disappointment in Cardiff was too much to take for me personally. I won't ever believe we can lift that trophy until 1 second after the final whistle of a CL final. Until that point, I'll support them always...but I won't buy into the CL hype.
For us supporters, the club, the players, the management, the only acceptable season would be to win every competition we're involved in.
Q. Love that attitude. In terms of the longer term do you think Juve's finances will allow them to keep competing on the CL front? With the English sides spending gross amounts and Madrid being Madrid will Juve still be able to keep up?
A. I think they have a stable base to build from - They're investing in the primavera, they have some really exciting young talents on the books like Bentancur, Orsolini and Caldara, and they're now spending large amounts relatively consistently - It;s all down to astute management - They bought pogba for nothing and sold him back for 100m - Bought Coman for free and sold him for nearly 30m - they buy clever and sell clever which keeps them in the black and in profit while planning for the season ahead. My concern is the distortion of the market by the big clubs - the money being spent is obscene - Looking at Qatar essentially buying a football player....it makes you wonder where it's all going. The money spent on players is ridiculous - the Chinese league are similar to an extent, paying overblown fees and salaries...i fear for the game as a whole rather than just Juventus. In order to continue competing at the highest level, we'll have to be smarter than the rest - thankfully we have a very smart management group
Q. Very interesting. Will certainly keep an eye out! In terms of youngsters then is there any particular player we should be keeping an eye on for this season? Who can you see having a breakthrough season? 1 name if you can!
A. Bentancur is the only real youngster at Juventus - He will stay at the club to learn the ropes having joined from Boca. On a side note, it's worth watching Orsolini on loan at Atalanta. He's got a lot of talent
Q. Will certainly be keeping eyes on them both! Touching on Dybala again, he is correctly very highly thought of around Europe. What can we expect from his this season? Will he make that next step?
A. I personally think he's better off further up the pitch, playing alongside a 9 - He did great alongside Mandzukic - Playing him deeper, behind Higuain gives him a lot more reponsibility but having 2 wingers to either side of him and a workhorse like Matuidi behind him will hopefully give him a little more freedom. I think this might be another great season for him, perhaps one where he grows more as a player but also more in stature within the club, taking on more responsibility in games to step up and make a difference, much like Tevez did in his time in Turin
Q. Certainly look forward to it! Finally can I take some predictions of you for the season? Top 4?(in order) bottom 3? POTY? Golden Boot winner? Juve's CL run?
Top Serie A : Juventus, Napoli, Roma, Inter
Bottom 3: Crotone, SPAL, Benevento
Serie A POTY? Possibly Dybala
Golden boot - Belotti or Higuain
Juve's CL run - Win it ! (probably get knocked out in the Semi's)
Look forward to seeing how Juventus get on!- Thanks for talking to us mate was a pleasure!