Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Andy Golding On August - 30 - 2011

Italian Serie A 2011-12 Club Preview: Juventus

2010-2011 Recap

Following many changes both in management with the appointment of newly elected president, Andrea Agnelli, followed by General manager Beppe Marotta and manager Luigi Del Neri, the trio brought no fewer than twelve new faces to the squad that had already come off from a disappointing season under former manager Ciro Ferrara, and his predecessor Alberto Zaccheroni. Prior to the start of last season there was mixed feelings amongst the fans for the season, with Juventus starting off in a positive manner, despite a disappointing showing in the Europa league, having been eliminated in the group stages, the Bianconeri remained in the hunt for a champions league place up until January.

Unfortunately the positive run in the league abruptly ended with injuries to key players most notably Fabio Quagliarella, thus forced Juventus to enter the January transfer market, acquiring Cagliari’s hit man Alessandro Matri on loan with an option to buy, whilst former Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni transferred to Juventus from Genoa on a free transfer. However the Bianconeri failed to recover and ultimately spiraled into an abyss of negative results which lead the team to fall down the table thus missing out on European football completely this season finishing in seventh place in the league.

Key Acquisitions

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Reto Ziegler were both brought in to occupy both the right and left full back positions respectively, a known Achilles heel in the Juve defense.

Michele Pazienza and Andrea Pirlo arrived on a free transfer from Napoli and AC Milan respectively, adding both experience and depth to the centre of midfield, also joined by Chilean international, Arturo Vidal who arrives from Bundesliga club, Bayer Leverkusen in a ? €12 million deal to provide the engine in midfield.

The Bianconeri’s biggest signing so far comes in the form of Mirko Vucinic, who arrived at Juventus in a deal estimated at around €15 million. The Montenegro forward will certainly add a different dimention and versatility to Coach Antonio Conte’s tactical system.

Additionally Juventus secured the permanent signatures from last season’s on loan signings, Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri, Simone Pepe and Marco Motta.

Key Departures

Former Brazilian International Felipe Melo will be plying his trade in Turkey with Galatasaray securing him on a season long loan. Ex-Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko joins free-spending Paris-Saint Germain, whilst Juventus released Bosnian utility player Hasan Salihamzdic to Wolfsburg and Portugese midfielder Tiago Mendes to Atletico Madrid.

The Summer So Far

Following two consecutive disappointing seasons drastic changes were made over the summer, firstly the club relieved the duties of the now former manager Luigi Del Neri who was to be replaced by former Juventus captain and ex Bari manager Antonio Conte, having recently lead Siena to promotion back to Serie A. Despite Conte’s lack of experience in top flight management, his appointment was largely welcomed by Juventus fans who believe that he is the man to lead the club and re-instate the winning mentality and hunger that the team have so dearly lacked for some years. Antonio Conte is also renowned for his Ultra- attacking 4-2-4/4-4-2 formation.

Juventus were also greeted with news of a much needed cash injection from the parent company, EXOR, lead by Andrea Agnelli’s cousin, John Elkann which has allowed to not only allow General manager - Beppe Marotta money to spend on much needed transfers, but additionally relieve the clubs financial deficit left by the club’s failure over the last few years. However with Juventus soon to move into their new stadium in time for their first home game of the season against Parma, there is much optimism for the club’s long term financial strategy.

On the footballing front, Antonio Conte’s men have had a largely positive summer, having only lost a single game during their tour of America to portugese side Sporting Lisbon, followed by encouraging performances in the TIM cup against Internazionale and AC Milan, however there are lessons still yet to be learnt following a mixed performance against AC Milan in the Berlusconi Cup.

What Next?

Juventus have been by far the busiest team in Italy on the transfer front, and it is showing no signs of it ending just yet, with latest rumours suggesting that at least three more players will arrive, including a much needed centre back and left winger, adding to a host of newly arrived players that seem to be a resolve to some of Juve’s more problematic areas in the team.

Although the team are still in the phase of rebuilding, Antonio Conte has a tough task in hand to improve upon the last two disappointing seasons and once again lead Juventus back to the top and at least achieve a place in Europe’s elite competition - The Champions league.

The Bianconeri will be without any distractions of having to play in Europe this season, which will allow Conte’s men to consolidate their position domestically.

Given that it is too early at this stage to give any predictions as to how successful Juventus will be, they will certainly use the fact that their other main competitors for the highly desired Champions League positions will be competing on the European front to their advantage.

However both President Agnelli and General manager Beppe Marotta have taken another big gamble on the club’s future and direction in hiring a rookie manager who’s last stint in Serie A management turned out to be a sour experience with Atalanta two seasons ago, will have to hope that Conte’s influence on the players and leadership qualities that he was renowned for as a player will pay off. Should Antonio Conte succeed in giving back the club the belief it dearly lacks, then the Bianconeri can certainly mount a serious challenge against their direct rivals for the much desired Champions League positions to say the least.

Man To Watch

Despite several new faces arriving in Turin this summer, one name to look out for this season will be Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal. Perhaps not the marquee signing that many had hoped for, however looks to be a great bargain signing having just come off from a wonderful season with Bayer Leverkusen. Vidal will be Juve’s key player in midfield and will be sure to forge a strong partnership with either Andrea Pirlo or Claudio Marchisio, his versatility and energy, provides the much needed mobility that Juventus have lacked for so long in midfield.

Arturo Vidal has the ability to play anywhere across in the midfield both in a defensive and more advanced role, additionally can also slot into defense if needs be. Vidal plays with great tenacity which will provide much needed protection for the defense and Andrea Pirlo when breaking the opposition, and will sure be a key component to Juve’s objectives this season.


A top six finish looks the best Juve can muster under Antonio Conte. Lazio, Napoli and Roma will be riding them all the way for anything above 5th and 6th place in the scudetto this season.

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