It was clear from the day Andrea Agnelli arrived to take charge of Juventus in May that he had undertaken a huge job. It wasn’t just the damage caused by Alessio Secco’s mistakes in the transfer market & the aftermath of Calciopoli he had to contend with.
Added to those two handicaps were the lack of Champions League football. This meant a severely reduced summer budget due to less money coming into the club, & less prestige as the best players want to play in Europe’s premier competition.
“Anyone understand this “football” thing?”
But that is just a one season problem, a minor obstacle in comparison to Juve’s other issues. Here is a club which since 2006 has been run by business men, not football savvy operators, men who see the game in terms of year-on-year growth & the cold figures on balance sheets.
This brings us to discuss two men, both heavily criticised, both heavily flawed, but both deserving of much credit. Firstly Jean-Claude Blanc, Agnelli’s predecessor as President. He is the epitomises the men running the club since the relegation to Serie B & is largely responsible for the position the club is in today.
Now being in 7th place is cause for concern, as was the terrible state of the playing squad over the past few season. While those are facts, what is also abundantly clear is the healthy fiscal position the club is in today & with the new UEFA Financial Fair Play directives coming into effect this is vital.
Juventus have not only been able to rebuild the first team squad this summer, the new stadium is on schedule & on budget. When it opens next season the impact on the clubs revenue cannot be understated. These huge positives are almost solely down to the work of the Frenchman.
The second man, & here’s the part I’m dreading, is Luciano Moggi. His obvious flaws (& the reasons he is mentioned so rarely by me) aside, what is undeniable is the man’s footballing pedigree. With him in charge the teams, from the youngest youth side to the first team, were all in great shape, filled with the best available players.
Since his resignation & subsequent ban those areas have gone unattended, & that has hurt the club immeasurably. Between 2006 & today nobody has made the transition from Primavera to the full squad. The supply-line of talent has almost dried up.
First of many? Vincenzo Camilleri
But Andrea Agnelli & Beppe Marotta, along with Fabio Paratici, have immediately set to work on changing these flaws in the clubs youth system & scouting networks. While Paratici is often described as Marotta’s “right arm”, his official job title is Technical Director & his role seems to be wide ranging & all encompassing.
The two scouts employed by the club in South America, Angel Moretto & Junior Chavari, were released & new men have been employed in their place in a new scouting set-up, illustrated by Corriere Dello Sport & overseen by Paratici.
Coaching changes have also been made, Claudio Gabetta takes charge of the Giovanissimi Nazionali (under 15’s), the Allievi Nazionali (U-16) will be led by Stefano Guidoni. Ivano Della Morte has also been promoted to the Allievi Regionali bench.
In addition to changing the men in charge, the club has also invested in players, bringing in 13 new faces for the youth teams in a clear attempt to revitalise all six squads of the Primavera - made up of the players aged between 15 & 20 at the club. The highest profile of these are Carlo Ilari, Lorenzo Marchionni & Vincenzo Camilleri.
As has been said many times there is no quick fix for Juventus, no shortcuts. That holds true for the scouting & youth teams as much as the first team. Agnelli, Marotta & Paratici are not miracle workers, but they are doing all they can to help La Vecchia Signora back to her feet.