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Thursday November 20 2014
Juve’s unclear contract front

As Juventus prepare for their busiest run of the season, there’s a contract cloud hanging over Vinovo. Luca Cetta explains.

As club football makes its return, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus are entering a crunch period. From here until Christmas they face rivals in Serie A, vital Champions League showdowns and the Italian Super Cup against Napoli. It starts this Saturday away to Lazio, historically a tough trip for the Bianconeri. While Allegri will be focused on points and silverware the top brass have been kept busy by contract negotiations.

Paul Pogba got the balling rolling by extending to 2019, but before the ink dried matters shifted to those out of contract at the end of the season. On Thursday it was announced Gianluigi Buffon had extended to 2017 and defender Giorgio Chiellini until 2018. The captain said he had offers elsewhere, but didn’t care “because Juve gave me everything I was looking for,” while Chiellini spoke of it being a ‘proud’ day.

Carlos Tevez’s contract has 18 months to run and agent Kia Joorabchian has suggested there will be renewal talks: “The best thing to do is to manage this situation carefully, and take things step-by-step. When the time is right we’ll sit at the table with Marotta and talk about the possibility of a contract extension.”

The situation surrounding Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sebastian Giovinco, both out of contract in June, is not so smooth. In an interview with Tuttosport last weekend Giuseppe Marotta spoke of negotiating ‘on our terms’. The Swiss defender is nearly 31 and Juve appear not willing to meet his €3m salary asking price.

“We are negotiating, but do not want to go outside our parameters,” stated the director general, with an initial offer of €2m now bumped up to €2.5m. There are a number of clubs said to be watching the situation with interest, including Scudetto rivals Roma, plus Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Nonetheless, Marotta is confident Lichtsteiner will remain.

Giovinco is said to be unhappy with his limited playing time this term, enough to take other offers under consideration. He’s made just two starts and although agent Andrea D’Amico says he has not questioned Allegri, there are offers from foreign clubs that may appeal.

Marotta says there have been talks between the parties: “We had contact with Giovinco’s agent to see if it’s possible to renew on our terms. If we do, good, otherwise... Giovinco has to tell us what he wants.”

There’s even suggestions Juve will sell the Atomic Ant in January to avoid losing him for nothing, but for now the onus is on Giovinco. If he wants to fight for his place then an agreement can be reached, but if his future is away from Turin the club wants to act this winter. Giovinco has shown in flashes – even without goals to back it up – that he can play a part.

But if Juve can put money from his sale towards a player who enhances their attacking stock, it would improve their standing. Yet Giovinco appears unwilling to leave before June.

Unlike Giovinco, Lichtsteiner has been a regular – to the point of overplaying and lack of rest. Only Claudio Marchisio, Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci have started more matches in Serie A than Lichtsteiner’s nine. He’s also played every minute in the Champions League. The Swiss international is better suited to Allegri’s recent back-four switch rather than a wing-back role, as he recently noted. Should Allegri want to continue in that framework long-term, Juve will not want to lose Lichtsteiner.

Against an admittedly poor Parma he scored one goal and supplied two assists in an assured performance. The wing-back role is a thankless task that requires stamina, durability and proficiency in both facets of the game and while not his favoured role Lichtsteiner has shown he can do the job in that role too. But there is a fallback plan, with an option to permanently sign on-loan Italo-Brazilian Romulo.

Having retained Pogba, Buffon and Chiellini, Juve are showing they are serious about moving forward and building a squad to compete with Europe’s elite. They’ve now hit a fork in the road in regards to Lichtsteiner and the Atomic Ant, contract dealings which will help mould their short-term transfer dealings.

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Have your say...
Marrotta is no fool, if he lets litch walk he will end out shelling more for a lessor replacement, 3 million is a far cheaper option to purchasing a new player, Litch is one of the best around in his position and in big demand! Marrotta would be dummy to not pay him what he wants, Giovo should move on for his own good, Juve will never play him regularly ..very sad
on the 22nd November, 2014 at 9:11pm
Getting Pogba signed up was far and away the most important contract for Juve to sort out.

The risk of losing him for a reduced price has evaporated and with the oil clubs seemingly knocked back a bit by FFP, Juve could realistically keep him for quite some time now.

Giovinco is OK, but wouldn't be a huge loss.

Lichtsteiner should be signed up as well, but if not then perhaps Darmian might make a good replacement.
on the 21st November, 2014 at 3:08pm
Not fussed over giovinco. Even if we lose him for nothing the mistake was re-acquiring him for €11m. Now we'll barely get €5m. The Swiss express is the one we need to tie down. He has shown signs of wearing down but he's still an invaluable piece to the cause. Allegri needs to rotate him a little more effectively.
on the 21st November, 2014 at 3:00pm

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