Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Search for Number 9

"On a basis of 30 million euros Juventus do not intend to open negotiations for Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic: "It's an unmanageable figure. We're not even going to discuss it right now. Everyone is free to set the price they want. It's a legitimate right. But we haven't opened negotiations with Fiorentina. It's necessary to always have dreams and ambitions(Robin Van Persie), but at the same time you also have to contend with the reality of everyday facts. We're relaxed and we know what we have to do. This is the most important thing."

A quote from Juventus Director General Beppe Marrotta this morning, basically explaining to all Bianconeri fans that Robin Van Persie and Stevan Jovetic are at this point very unlikely signings for the reigning Italian champions.

Giuseppe Marrota

Since the opening of the transfer window I had high hopes for who Juventus might sign this offseason to strengthen the squad in hopes of a lengthy Champions League run. It became a well known fact that Juventus were in the market for a top of the line finisher. But if we really think about it when has Juventus ever really spent big dollars on a well know striker? I looked at transfers they made dating back to 01/02. While the numbers on the transfer fees were difficult to dig up I can tell you with confidence that Marcelo Salas, Marcelo Zalayeta, Adrian Mutu, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Fabrizio Miccoli, Luca Toni, Fabio Quagliarella,Vucinic, and Alessandro Matri were all bought for less than 20 million Euro. A lot of these transfers were also loan deals that had options to buy at the end, or part exchange deals,and even some were free transfers. Now in all of those past transfer markets Juve already had their star striker in Alessandro Del Piero who is now departed as his career starts to wind down. With all this is mind I don't think that I ever truly believed Juventus would make the big money signing. Especially with Antonio Conte's new approach which seems to have a definite team emphasis, and going out to sign a super duper star like Van Persie may hinder that team feel. On top of all that Arsenal are still trying to squeeze 20 million Euro out of teams in a transfer fee for Van Persie, even though his contract is up next summer meaning he could be had for free. It doesn't make much sense to spend that big a fee on a player who could be had for free does it? Van Persie also comes with a heavy wage tag of at least 7 million Euro, and really has only had one fully healthy season at Arsenal in seven years. As far Jovetic goes I totally agree with Marrotta in that Fiorentina are asking for way too much money for the player, so unless those demands come down they should not even negotiate.

   Stevan Jovetic               Robin Van Persie

Before we go any further lets take a look at what's in the system and what could be the future of the Bianconeri attack as there are two players who deserve a mention at the very least in this discussion. Earlier today Juventus completed a 3.8 million Euro move for Manolo Gabbiadini from Atalanta one of Italy's finest forward prospects he will spend this next season on loan at Bologna. On top of that they are 50% owners of Ciro Immobile who enjoyed an incredible season in Serie B scoring 28 goals in just 37 appearances with Pescara helping them achieve promotion to Serie A. He will spend this season at Genoa who own the remaining 50% of his rights and should feature heavily in the rossoblu squad. These players may never make their way back to Juventus but its worth noting that two of Italy's top strikers of the future are affiliated with the Zebras.

Manolo Gabbiadini

Ciro Immobile

So with the future looking bright it may be a wise idea to bring in someone who may be hitting their prime and could have some nice re-sale value in a few years. I mentioned what a great target Edin Dzeko would be for Milan yesterday, well the same goes for Juve. He was at the top of Juve's list a couple of summers ago when he was still a member of Wolfsburg. Juve would not reach the high asking price of Wolfsburg and eventually Manchester City swooped in and took him right out of Juve's hands. He fits all of Conte's wants in a striker. Big, strong, can hold up the ball well, and has a very good work ethic on and off the pitch. The Bosnian has maintained that his future is with Man City at the Etihad however if they were to bring in Robin Van Persie his tune may change a bit. It would be perfect timing for Juventus to get him at a price they could be happy with. However I do think Milan will not make it easy on Juventus if this is the scenario that plays out.

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)

I will also mention Mattia Destro. Scoring 12 goals with Siena last season has impressed many clubs around the Serie A, and Roma are closing in on the youngster. He had Cesare Prandelli thinking of bringing six forwards to Euro 2012 but in the end got cut after making the preliminary 32 man squad. Impressive nonetheless and Juventus has had their eyes on him. They did not expect Roma to go after the youngster so aggressively and may have already missed their opportunity. The coming days will tell the story on this young man.

Mattia Destro (Italy U-21)

Lastly, there is one player I would like to mention who is a bit off the radar. A couple of months ago I had heard that Sporting Director Fabio Paratici and Director General Beppe Marrotta were tracking the young Argentine striker Matias Suarez. He is twenty four years of age, about to enter the prime of his career and wants out of Belgian club Anderlecht. He has a very impressive track record scoring 13 goals to go along with 16 assists in 35 appearances in the Belgian league this year. Also 7 goals in just 10 appearances in the Europa League. He claims to be ready for the big stage and would like out of Anderlecht; reports indicate he could be had for about 15 million Euro. Go figure, that's right in Juve's price range.

Matias Suarez (Anderlecht)

At the end of the day it is clear to me that Juve will not go out and spend the big money on a superstar, as much as I would like to see Van Persie in the black and white it just doesn't seem likely. Look for Juventus to spend somewhere in the range of 12-20 million Euro on their number 9.

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