Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has discussed the club’s transfer plans in a revealing interview with the Corriere dello Sport.
Having won the Scudetto this season, the Turin official is now working on building a team to challenge in the Champions League – despite fierce competition from wealthier clubs on the market.
“There are powerful owners in England, while the Germans depend on entrepreneurship and management,” the former Sampdoria man noted.
“Having lost our leadership from the 1990s, the only solution open to Italy is to focus on organisation and culture. The gap remains though, especially in revenue terms.
“We are looking to increase the size of our squad. That is a necessity because we’ll be facing the prospect of more games.
“For the same reason, boss Antonio Conte and his team are already working on what training methods to use to prevent injuries.
“We have to try and win the Champions League, our prestige obliges us to do that. Juve can’t only be content with taking part. But it depends on a lot of factors. Look at Chelsea, they seemed out and then they won it.
“We are looking for two or three excellent elements, without losing sight of the balance of a squad which has important technical and human qualities. We also have to balance the finances.”
The club’s top priority is a new striker and they’ve been linked with Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez of Liverpool and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain.
“Van Persie is one of the best players in circulation,” he smiled. “It is possible that he, along with Suarez and Higuain, will be one of the top players we are after. They are interesting players.”
The Bianconeri have also been paired with Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Mario Balotelli of Manchester City, but Marotta played down those reports.
“Cavani? You always have to consider the desire of the clubs which own players.
“We have never thought about Balotelli. He doesn’t fit the profile we are looking at, a profile which isn’t based solely on technical ability.”
Moving on to the club’s midfield targets, it is no secret that they hope to sign two teenagers – Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Marco Verratti of Pescara.
“We respected the rules,” he explained when asked about the Frenchman. “Pogba, for his own reasons, didn’t intend to renew.
“We informed the club and we are now waiting for an answer. Talks are well advanced.
“Verratti? Juventus have a strong appeal again and not just with youngsters. The fact that the player wants to join us could help negotiations, but an auction has now kicked off and his price is high. We want to invest, but we have rules.”
Verratti, a surprise inclusion in Italy’s 32-man Euro 2012 squad, is being compared with Juve playmaker Andrea Pirlo.
“Pirlo, like Alex Del Piero, is hard to replicate,” Marotta commented. “I don’t see any players around with similar experience or value.
“Conte is a flexible Coach and we are looking for a versatile midfielder. Udinese’s Asamoah? He’s one of the names.
“Our defence? It is one of the hardest to break down in Europe, but we need to fully integrate it.”
Marotta was also questioned on the futures of Marco Borriello, on loan from Roma, and Sebastian Giovinco – the forward who is co-owned with Parma.
“We took an opportunity in January with Borriello. We have a month to consider our options.
“We’ve always believed in Giovinco, but he had to confirm himself as an important player which he now is. He’s matured.
“We’ll now evaluate things with Parma to decide whether to recall him or choose another path.”
The director general also confirmed whispers that Coach Conte would soon put pen to paper on a new contract until June 2015.