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Monday August 27 2012
Juventus’ missing piece in attack

Despite a winning Serie A start and an excellent pre-season, Dave Taylor feels that Juventus need to keep on looking for that final piece of the jigsaw. 

After winning the Italian Super Cup and the Trofeo Berlusconi, as well as their opening day win and several good pre-season results, Juventus are seemingly heading in the direction they want. Certainly President Andrea Agnelli thinks so and, after last year’s success, he wants the Old Lady to step up a level and return to Europe with a bang.

“We’re heading into an important season and we’ll have to confirm the good things we’ve done,” he declared. “Having said that, it’s a year just like any other for Juve because Juventus will always start out with the aim of winning every competition – it’s in our history and DNA. In Italy we'll be aiming for a repeat of last season and in Europe we must believe that we can dream again.”

Last season there was a sense of satisfaction with the Scudetto, but ambition burns bright inside Bianconeri hearts and the demand from high is also echoed by the players. “There was a desire to get back into the Champions League,” remarked captain Gianluigi Buffon. “And we earned that right with what we did on the pitch. It’s the right reward for a side who last season achieved something great.”

The club has already delivered a statement of intent this summer with some prolific spending, a feat unmatched by their competition. Nonetheless the margins by which success is gauged can be alarmingly slim and the contents are sometimes not what it says on the tin. Yet after an expenditure of around €50m on new players and taking up options to sign others who were on loan or in a co-ownership, there is a new vitality around Vinovo. “It’s a different environment with respect to last year,” continued Gianluigi. “There’s more positivity and belief around the place now.”

Although difficult to put aside the edicts involving Coach Antonio Conte, his touchline replacement, Massimo Carrera, will purr with the prospect of directing a team strengthened by so many inspiring new arrivals. Sebastian Giovinco, for one, is a fabulous talent with his creative vision along with the talents of Kwadwo Asamoah, who has been superb on the left so far and Mauricio Isla. Add in midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, defender Martin Caceres and the quality soon adds up. Let’s also not forget the flowering of young midfielders Paul Pogba and Luca Marrone, who played as a makeshift centre-back against Parma and displayed no nerves whatsoever, showing his versatility is a real asset.

The components are all there with a super-strong midfield already in place inspired by Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and the awesome Arturo Vidal. Factor in international defenders like Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, plus ‘keeper Buffon, and the team is rock-solid through the centre.

Yet there has been one thing that everyone thought was lacking, something crucially essential when you are looking to retain the title and chase Champions League success, a 20-goals a season striker. Juve attempted to buy early yet despite links with several classy forwards, including Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie, nothing has materialised.

It now seems Giovinco will lead the attack alongside Mirko Vucinic. Yet despite Carrera concluding that he was happy with both strike partnerships after giving Giovinco-Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella-Alessandro Matri a half each in the Milan encounter, it sounded more bravado than fact.

The question now is will they get a decent striker with Van Persie their first choice gone? The list of possible targets is certainly long – Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, Edin Dzeko of Manchester City and now even Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo – but are any of them good enough? And do Juve have the finances to poach those at the top of their wish-list?

Personally I would have thought that if they were prepared to pay out £18m for the 27-year-old Llorente, it might be better to find an extra €5m or €6m and buy Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegrin, 23, showed once again on Saturday that he can put the ball into the net.

Juve are missing that right now with Quagliarella, Giovinco, Matri and Vucinic. Quagliarella nor Mitri-Matri can be truly relied on and both missed several easy chances in pre-season. And although Juve did win the Scudetto last term, some crucial goals were scored and created from midfield – as they were against Parma.

With much tougher opposition in the Champions League, the Bianconeri need a boost in the forward line. Don’t forget, this is a team who drew 15 League games last season – and some of those came against pretty average teams. The famous top player who they have been wanting to sign for the last 24 months is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. 

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Have your say...
Dzeko, expensive + wages.
Llorente 29 odd goals in La Liga does not equate to the same in Serie A. Especially without a pre season to learn Conte's method.
Jovetic, plays a similar role to Giovinco, Quagliarella and Vucinic - he is a step up in class but not the out and out striker we are looking for.
I would bring in Berbatov for 5M he may not be the long term solution but has Champions league experience and an eye for goal. Better than trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.
on the 27th August, 2012 at 5:11pm
This is what Juve fans have been waiting for all Summer, who is going to be the clubs main center forward. Cavani or Higuain would have been perfect but are out of reach and out of 4 strikers mentioned, I would rather sign Dzeko. Jovetic is fantastic but prone to long term injuries and Llorente, like most if not all Spanish players, find it hard to adapt to Serie A. Cardozo like Llorente also might find it difficult in Serie A. Let's hope City give in & release Dzeko...
on the 27th August, 2012 at 4:55pm
I know it's living in the past, but Imagine how much better this Juve side would look if, rather than forking out for Elia they pumped that money into securing Aguero. Out of what;s left I was hoping Higuain would fall out of favour at Madrid, but as he hasn't I would say Dzeko or Llorente at the right price
on the 27th August, 2012 at 4:54pm
decent article.

all i know is that juve do need another quality body upfront and if it does happen, i predict a succesful year ahead!
on the 27th August, 2012 at 4:35pm
I'm gonna have to agree with Dave here. Juve is pretty solid throughout but lack a true goal scoring striker. I would be happy with any of Llorente, Dzeko or Cardozo, but I don't know how well they will perform in Serie A. Jovetic is young and knows how to score in this league. Besides nothing is better than irking our dear friends - the Fiorentina tifosi. They are still bitter about Baggio leaving them and becoming a world star with Juve - hope the same happens with Jovetic! FORZA JUVE!
on the 27th August, 2012 at 4:26pm
Llorente would be my choice. If they get a good forward then they'll be an outside bet to win the CL. I'm glad they missed Van Persie. That deal didn't look like any kind of value for United given the huge fee and wages.

Jovetic would be my first choice too but I doubt Juve have 30m euro plus. Llorente, with 1 year left on his contract, would be perfect. He's strong, good in the air and skillful.
on the 27th August, 2012 at 4:10pm

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