Tuesday March 12 2013
Juventus won’t sign Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is being linked with a return to Juventus after a Pavel Nedved interview. Antonio Labbate looks at five reasons why such a move won’t happen.

The costs involved are excessive…

The principle hurdle for anyone interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the transfer fee, but his wage demands. The Swedish international earns approximately €12m a season at Paris Saint-Germain, a salary which Milan were delighted to get off their books in the summer.

Juventus may have one of the highest wage bills in Serie A, but they have no room for such extravagances in the current climate. Gigi Buffon is currently their highest paid player thanks to a €6m a campaign deal, but that will come down to about €4m when his new terms kick in at the end of June.

Give Ibra what he wants and you also run the risk of a queue forming outside the office of Beppe Marotta, with agents looking to get their clients increased salaries. Ibra is a top player, no doubt, but there are cheaper ones out there.

His age…

Ibrahimovic will be 32 in October. That’s not to say that he hasn’t got a couple of good seasons ahead of him, but when you buy a player with that date of birth you do so by acknowledging that they have little, if any, future sell-on value.

The average age of the squad is a significant factor that is considered in Turin too. When Marotta arrived at the club, he was primarily asked to lower the squad’s age and cost. It’s no coincidence that Juve today have just three outfield players – excluding the frozen out Vincenzo Iaquinta – who are over the age of 30 – Andrea Barzagli, Andrea Pirlo and Nicolas Anelka.

It’s also worth comparing Ibra’s age with that of other leading forwards on the continent. Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema are both 25, Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina is 23, Napoli’s Edinson Cavani is 26, Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao is 27. That’s not to say that these players are realistic Juventus targets or buys, they are merely examples of players who would have a longer shelf life than Ibra.

He doesn’t guarantee Champions League success

Ibrahimovic fits the Top Player profile which Juventus have publicly been searching for over the last 24 months, but he wouldn’t guarantee success on the continent. The Bianconeri would obviously be a stronger force, especially in Europe, but let us not forget that Ibrahimovic is hardly on first name terms with the Champions League.

One could also argue that, even with Ibra, Juve could still be two or three years away from becoming kings of Europe. And that’s when you have to again consider Ibra’s age – he thus doesn’t fit with the vision at Vinovo. Although the club are obviously playing to win the European Cup, they don’t raise the kind of revenue that Europe’s elite do and boss Antonio Conte recently admitted that there are sides in the competition this season who are “clearly superior” to his.

Why broadcast an interest?

There is absolutely no reason to doubt the sincerity of Pavel Nedved’s Undici TV interview this week. When he says he’d like to bring Ibra back to the club, he means it. But he was speaking from the heart and not as a Juventus official at that point. If the club were truly plotting to sign Ibra for the second time in his career, would an employee go on national television and announce it?

What was more telling was when he was asked about the club’s failure to net a star striker over recent times. “To sign a player who is better than we already have would cost us a lot of money – at the moment we don’t have that and we don’t want to spend that.” That, significantly, was the club official talking.

The 2006 walkout…

While Juventus clearly had to cut costs in the summer of 2006 after their Calciopoli demotion to Serie B, there was the hope that they could keep Zlatan. Then boss Didier Deschamps spoke of his desire to have the former Ajax player at his disposal to bounce straight back to the top flight – yet the forward didn’t really entertain the idea.

That was an understandable stance. He didn’t have the Bianconero history of Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero or David Trezeguet, but the fact that he left the Turin giants for a switch to rivals Inter was a low blow to the Juve faithful. While boss Conte would perhaps welcome an Ibra arrival in 2013, a majority of the fan-base would be cold to the idea.

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Have your say...
If I see him in the Juventus Arena, I will smash his head to the ground until it blows up. Mercenary !
on the 12th March, 2013 at 7:15pm
They can buy two very good players, for $12mil a year....He's a rat that went to Inter.. Scoy da dello..forget about it
on the 12th March, 2013 at 7:00pm
"Juve don't build their game around a player unlike inter and milan who do, where everyball had to go through him."

So what about Pirlo? smh
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:57pm
I would never take Ibra back, he's too arrogant, not a team player and he disappears when it comes to the big games, which is why he's never won the Champions League. I know Juventus will never buy him so I'm not worried, but the thought of the traitor coming back to represent the Black and White stripes makes me mad.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:43pm
Hell no! When Ibra played for juve he got more credit than he deserved, i still remember his continuous failing backheels until he got benched by capello. He maybe scored one or two good goals but his return was average or below. Juve don't build their game around a player unlike inter and milan who do, where everyball had to go through him. At Barca, he found himself left in the cold coz they had Messi as the center of their play. Remmeber henry at Juve, same story.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:36pm
Ibra if he came back to juve i would support inter that's how bad i think of him traitor forza juve as a juve fan i would like to wish Milan all the best against barca and hope to meet them in the final
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:33pm
@Obita That is not true. If you read his book, then you'll know what happened. Juventus did not want to sell him at any cost. It was first when he started to being an a**hole and not play any matches for Juventus that Juve got forced to sell him. His meeting with Berlusconi never happened. They were supposed to meet, but Raiola used it as a bargaining chip to get a better deal from Moratti. Ibra wanted Inter more, and Inter wanted Ibra more than Milan. There was no deal with Milan.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:11pm
No thank you. Why some idiot sold David Trezeguet? He is scoring to this day in River Plate.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 6:00pm
Ibra, is a great player but a scum!
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:41pm
I'd take him back any day. Forza Juve and Forza Ibra.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:35pm

You are wrong unfortunately. There was no agreement with any club before Calciopoli. Once Juventus had been sentenced Milan & Inter both had offers accepted, once Ibra made it clear he wanted to leave. However, when Milan got dragged into the scandal, Ibra didn't want to take the risk of leaving Juve for another club in a similar state. Hence, he chose Inter. And he only joined Milan, because he was frozen out at Barcá and they were the only Italian club willing to take him back.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:32pm
This reading is amusing. Meanwhile we have Niang and SES and Balotelli... Juve goes on hunt for Ibra. Good luck.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:30pm
Ibra! He turned his back on the club in 2006 and is not worthy to wear the black and white jersey. Fine alla fine forza Juventus.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:27pm
Thank god he left Milan so that our talents will flourish! And I agree with Sacchi who once said about him that Zlatan is a very nice solo but not good for the orchestra. Despite the fact that I am from Sweden, all the facts (Goals, assists etc per minute) are against Zlatan. There are more than 20 players in Europe who have beeter prestanda and cost much less than him!
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:26pm
I am from Sweden, but being a Milan fan for more than 40 years, I would never buy back Zlatan! That player must have been the football history's most expensive player, ever! Check his international performance in UEFA CL, or in international matches with Sweden. You will find at least 15-20 players much better than him in goals/minute, in assists/minute or in shots on goal/minute. Considering the fact that he makes slightly less than Messi or Ronaldo, it is a strange joke that people pay so much
on the 12th March, 2013 at 5:20pm
Better a young fast striker than a old traitor.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:56pm
He can rot in the French league! The man is a mercenary - NO Juve fan wants him back..... EVER!
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:55pm
Ibra is a traitor!!! Period.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:52pm
This being announnced at the time when clubs are planning summer deals should mean a smoke screen for another deal that in turn could get the seller to drop their price.A bit like many premier league stars agents using serie A clubs as a bartering tool to get better deals with there club.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:48pm
Correction: Juve had already agreed to sell Ibra to Milan before Calciopoli set in, so he did not walk out. Ibra was destined for Milan but uncertainties of Milan's sentence allowed Inter to steal him from Milan! Ibra has been happiest in Milan colours so he won't want to play for another Italian team coz he love Milan!
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:48pm
All good points, and I completely agree you, Antonio Labbate.
on the 12th March, 2013 at 4:43pm

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