Juventus Money Matters and Winter Mercato January 2014

3 Jan

Up until December 10th our season was pretty much on track. Domestically, after a lethargic start and horrid stumble in Florence, we had picked ourselves up and regained both form and momentum. All we needed to do before the end of the year was to continue our dominance in the league and achieve a draw or better away to Galatasaray in the final game of the Champions League Group stage. Unfortunately events on the pitch (if it can be called that) twice worked against us, and we were put to the sword, in rather bizarre circumstances (yet typical of the Turks), by a goal by former Interista Wesley Sneijder. How much that goal has changed our transfer aims for January and beyond is open to discussion, but we can at least gauge (loosely) the prize money achieved and potential loss in comparison to last season’s efforts, where we reached the quarter-finals after topping our group.

Did Wesley ruin our January Mercato plans???

Last season our Champions League performances earned us close to EU65m.

This time (thus far) around we have managed –

EU8.6m for reaching the group stage

EU1m for the solitary victory over Copenhagen

EU1.5m for the three draws.

TOTAL Prize Money – EU11.1m

A horrid reduction from the earnings from the same competition the previous year. Still…all is not lost, for we still have the EUROPA league to win in our own stadium come May. (Although I may well have missed a payment related to the amount of Italian clubs involved in the champions league)

I am unsure if we are given EU200000 for ‘achieving’ a place in the last 32. Let us hope so! Moving onwards, once we have decimated Trabzonspor we are given EU350000. The quarter-finals are worth EU450000, the semis EU1m, the final offers EU2.5m (losers) and EU5m for the winners. If we manage to go all the way…we would gather EU7m. And our prize money for European involvement for the season potentially as high as EU18m.

There is also the TV payment for our Serie A activities to ponder…With $EU966m divided along the following conditions –

40%- Equal Split between the 20 clubs – $19.32m

30%- People : 5% city population. 25% number of fans (the 12/13 season calculations gave us EU2.7m and EU45.2m)

30%- Ranking : 5% last season, 15% last 5 years, 10% rankings between 1946 and 6 seasons ago (12/13 results were EU3.6m, EU9.1m and EU7.2)

There is also an extra $EU17m kitty to be split between the top ten teams at the end of the season. 1st-4th receive EU2.6m.

And so…our total revenue from TV rights for Serie A will exceed the EU83m of the 12/13 season. We still have the chance to earn another 7m in the Europa league and also…On an equally positive note, the stadium is expected to bring us in excess of EU50m this season and we have arranged a lucrative 6 year sponsorship deal with Adidas commencing in 2015/16 season, worth around EU140m.

Financially, we seem in a very healthy position. Yes we have earned EU54m less in Europe (so far this term), but there remain many reasons to be cheerful.

So onto our Winter Mercato…

Had we remained in the champions league, I suspect our moves would be more aggressive. With the league title nearing our grasp, from a financial perspective, we are hardly likely to invest heavily to fight for the Europa league and so our policy will be focused on taking advantage of the few opportunities to bring in fresh and eager blood. At the expense, of dead wood.

As your hit track suggests, Dj Paolino, its time to be ‘Moving On’.

Surely it is high time Paolo De Ceglie left the ranks. He is a player who looked useful at Siena, but since becoming part of our squad has proved himself beyond any doubt, hapless and a regular liability. Yes, he can put in a decent cross or three per outing, but his defensive talents are zero.  He cannot pass in a straight line, nor tackle, nor cover and has shocking positional awareness. When we consider, as we must, that he is deployed as a wingback, there is no space for him in our squad let alone starting XI. Genoa are interested, and I hope they land the hard fighting, yet woefully inept DJ Paulino. It seems they want him on loan, but I pray that if we enter into such an agreement that it involves the certain departure of the determined, yet tactically wretched LWB cum LW. The most we can expect for him is surely 4m or much less…

Also possibly on their way out, the media has been focused on Mirko Vucinic. Marotta’s recent trip to London has spawned all-sorts of madness. Yet surely only the deranged believe that we could exchange him, with Spurs, for a haul of cash and the player, to bring in Lamela, whom Baldini encouraged the club to fork out EU30m for just last Summer. Yes he appears to have had problems settling into English football and culture, but Spurs Chairman Levy is not the kind of man to absorb and accept such huge losses this quickly. So forget Lamela. They may well bid for Mirko, but Erik will not be part of the deal.

Struggling West Ham and injury prone Arsenal have also been mentioned as potential suitors, but why??? The Hammers need goals, which Mirko can simply not provide on a regular basis. Wenger’s side are gunning (hohoho!) for the title, if not a top three finish. I do not see them bettering Man City’s squad or Mourinho’s talents. Vucinic would be a great sale, for any price…but to whom, I am unsure. For whilst he can show genius, his genius is mercurial and irregular. And who can afford that, out of the mentioned sides, at this delicate stage of the season??

Young CentreBack Freddy Sorensen is attracting interest. With Wolfsburg, Galatasaray and Everton all mentioned in the press as possible destinations. Wherever he goes, I would very much like for us to retain our 50% ownership, but this seems unlikely if he moves abroad. His form at Bologna, who co-own the player, has been solid if unspectacular. Yet I have seen enough of him to believe in his abilities as a stopper. He has natural defensive zeal as he proved in his earlier stint in our own colours.

Whilst Beppe may have spoken to Chelsea about the availability of De Bruyne, his agent has suggested the player would prefer a move to the bundesliga. And then there is Mourinho to contend with. It would not be a huge surprise to see Mata leave in January, in which case, space could be created for De Bruyne to taste more first team action, which surely he craves, given Belgium’s upcoming World Cup in June; not that far off on the horizon.  

Livorno and Werder Bremen are apparently duelling for Marco Motta…The Germans were recently in discussion with Juve regarding a joint venture which could lead to some of our fringe players and youth prospects heading their way. The Werder management may also have their eyes on Sorensen, Padoin and Vucinic.

Not Nani, not Menez, but…Biabiany seems the likeliest major signing of January.

With no chance for Lamela or De Bruyne, it looks like Menez and Biabiany are our main targets for January. The PSG front man who can play anywhere across the front line (comfortable out wide, especially on the right wing) has fallen out of favour at high spending PSG and with his contract expiring in the Summer, it may be better for the nouveau riche PSG owners to cash in now. His career has been one of flashes in the pan, at times displaying mesmerizing talent, at others…a lack of discipline and destructive immaturity. Can Conte coax the best from the volatile frenchman???? I for one, would like to see him in our squad. Surely he is worth a punt for 4-6m???

Also in France, also comfortable on the right wing and across the front line is 19 year old argentine, Lucas Ocampos. Who has been playing fairly regularly, often from the bench with Ranieri’s Monaco, and is rumoured to be open to a new adventure. Beppe could well be lining up a loan with obligation to purchase at between EU12-14m for June, not January. Personally, I believe that we will be bringing in Cerci in the Summer, selling off our half of Immobile, chucking in Giovinco perhaps??

Biabiany is fairly likely, given his cost, age, familiarity with Serie A…Would be nice to see Menez arrive as well in January. With Pepe returning to full fitness, we would have several options on the flanks.

Menez Llorente Tevez

With Biabiany and Pepe backing up both wing forwards.

If we do bring in Biabiany and Menez, I would expect two to depart from our offensive line-up. Mirko seems the likeliest. Giovinco is interesting Parma and Inter. Quags is chased by Lazio, Southampton, Swansea and Sampdoria.

Their departures depend on our purchases, and vice-versa, but given their resources what is 4m???. Our potential, much talked of purchase of Menez may well depend on his greed. It is in his club’s favour to sell him now, better 4m than nothing. If we wait until he can be signed on a free, it is likely we will be priced out of the bidding. Does Menez have ambition, to fight, to play, to win a place in the World cup squad for his country (whom he has not represented since march of 2013)??? These factors should come into play.

Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne moves on loan to Lierse of Belgium

Summer Signing, Mbaye Diagne, whom we picked up after a wonderful season with FC Bra in Serie D found trouble at Ravanelli’s Ajaccio FC (FRA) where he was unable to play due to a bureaucratic restriction linked to his lack of international caps for Senegal. Since November he has been training with Belgian top flight club Lierse and will officially move there on loan in January.

Whilst there have also been rumours of Padoin and Peluso departing, the only real concern for me is the unsurprising interest shown in Uruguayan international Martin Caceres. Big clubs in Italy and abroad have made covetous signs, and I often wonder if Martin will grow tired of his bit-part role at Juve and move to a club where his talents are used more regularly. Thankfully for us, his agent is none other than former Juventino, Daniel Fonseca, who said recently…

Rome, Naples and other big clubs have shown interest. Though Martin is in love and wants to stay at Juventus Turin. Course, I expected would play more because it is a very strong defender, but as a big Juve is normal which points to have a big squad and quality. ” 

Ouasim Buoy…Fully recovered from injury and now needing first team action.

Which leaves me only needing to mention Ouasim Bouy, our dutch attacking midfielder who has been on the long road of recovery since suffering a similar injury to the nasty one which crunched Quagliarella a couple of years ago. Rather than send him out on loan during last Summer, we kept him at the club to recover his fitness and train with the seniors, leading to a brief cameo against Avellino in the recent coppa italia tie. I have long expected us to recuperate the young fellow then loan him out again in January. So let us hope we can find him a club which will give him the chance his talents deserve. Brescia did mention, after sending him back to us crocked, that they would be interested in bringing him back for a second roll of the dice, for prior to his misfortune, he was a regular part of their starting XI.

With three competitions still to play for, but no champions league, I do not expect any major signings in the Winter mercato. Menez would prove a very interesting move, but I suspect, with Pepe (finally) reaching fitness once again, that Biabiany could be our only move of any note. Much has been written about the lack of players presently available in our ranks to allow Conte to sample a 4-3-3 formation. With Tevez content to operate wide left forward, Llorente coming good, Quagliarella maintaining the belief of Conte and Pepe coming back into the frame, it seems the frenchman of Parma, not PSG, will be the main signing. His work rate and pace would be welcome, but he is hardly a major step-up in terms of quality.

I conclude that our mercato hinges on the potential sale of Vucinic. For if he departs, maybe we will go all out for Menez. Or someone else entirely.

Menez – Driven by money or glory on the field??

The major factor may well prove to be the World Cup, with certain players desperate to prove themselves worthy of inclusion. From one perspective this plays into our hands, for there are some top players around who are not presently playing regularly, such as De Bruyne, Vucinic, Giovinco and Menez (I suppose we could include Ocampos, at a stretch). At the same time, we are not in a position to offer any player a direct route into our first team, which when set as the status quo of 3-5-2 or whatever variant you wish to label it, already has first team starters in every role.

Perhaps Mata will leave, seeking his own sure fire path to Brazil in June, allowing De Bruyne the avenue he seeks into the Chelsea first XI. Menez might tell his agent that he simply wants to play, challenge for a spot in the French team, change scenery, and head to Turin.

We can offer players the tutelage of 2013 World Coach Of The Year, Antonio Conte, the chance to play as part of a squad drenched in historical greatness, an avenue to national team selection, but not the champions league (at least until next season).

Essentially, I understand the interest in wide forwards and wingers, for we lack them in our roster. A coach like Conte likes to progress, and by bringing in more talent on our flanks offensively, he is given more options. Still…our team has been firing on all cylinders of late. We are worthy leaders of Serie A, our midfield is one of the finest in the world, as is our central defence and goalkeeper. And then up top we have the blossoming duet of world class Tevez and fast finding his feet Llorente. All our squad truly cries out for, in terms of our tried, tested and successful 3-5-2 is a specialist LWB. A position which strangely, has hardly been mentioned…Who knows, maybe we will bring in Coentrao!

For my money, our transfer movements are rooted in finding a specialist LWB and bringing in options for Conte to change our tactics offensively. It is going to be a long month…starting with, not the title decider, but certainly a marker of our standing in Italy, against Roma, this Sunday.

Forza Juve.

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