Juventus did little in the January market to excite fans or impress critics. Antonio Labbate puts their dealings under the microscope.
Best signing? Well, a signing…
With Lucio gone, Giorgio Chiellini injured and Kwadwo Asamoah off to the African Cup of Nations, something needed to be done. It was no surprise when Juventus turned to Federico Peluso, the Atalanta player who they had chased during the summer. Although able to play on the left-side of a three-man defence and as a wing-back, his early Juventus form has raised doubts over his quality. A ‘make-up the numbers’ signing.
The transfer that came 10 years too late
Nicolas Anelka, 33, wasn’t the swoop that fans expected or wanted. Having ‘resigned’ from top-level football by moving to Shanghai Shenhua in January 2012, he’s now back – over a decade after Juventus first chased his signature. At that time he was a player who could potentially make the difference, now he’s the biggest gamble of the January transfer window – even if the costs involved to net him on a short-term deal are relatively small.
He was just too expensive
Striker Didier Drogba was the dream, but an impossible one for Juventus. His move to Galatasaray from Shanghai Shenhua will see him net around €10m for the next 18 months, unreachable figures for the Italian champions who spent just €1.5m last month on Peluso’s loan. Compare those wages with Anelka’s basic €600,000 contract and it’s clear why the 34-year-old was never close to the Turin giants.
The striker lottery
Anelka may have come in, but Juventus spent most of the month unsuccessfully looking to acquire another striker. Manolo Gabbiadini and Ciro Immobile, who the Old Lady co-own, wouldn’t be released by Bologna and Genoa respectively. The latter also wouldn’t free Marco Borriello. Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas refused to hand over Lisandro Lopez on Juve’s terms and there was even a late bid for the over-priced Ishak Belfodil of Parma.
Pack your bags
Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella may want to start looking for a new club. It’s clear from the amount of action they have seen this season, and Juventus’ inexhaustible search for new attacking options last month, that the club’s faith in them is on the wane. Neither are the ‘top player’ which the club have spent three years searching for in attack, but were the strikers targeted in January a significant upgrade on them?
Moves for the future
Juventus’ best work this month came with regard to next season. Beppe Marotta and Co finally wrapped up a deal with Fernando Llorente. The Spanish international striker will join on a Bosman in June when his contract at Athletic Bilbao expires. Sampdoria’s Andrea Poli also looks a likely arrival to strengthen their central midfield alternatives for 2013-14. Meanwhile, the capture of 18-year-old Ecuadorian Jose Cevallos is a swoop of potential.
It would be easy to criticise the Old Lady’s market moves in a month where Milan spent €20m on Mario Balotelli and Inter over €10m for Mateo Kovacic. But don’t forget that they had to sell to finance those swoops. Juve sold nobody, their squad – arguably the strongest in the Division – remained as it was and that shouldn’t be ignored. Peluso and Anelka may not be difference-making captures, but they come in to fill holes. Perhaps more could have been done to net Lisandro, but it’s clear that the club felt there was little on offer in Italy or Europe to merit a significant financial sacrifice.