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Dybala-gate – mangled mutterings

“I think that goals mean a lot to us strikers in particular, it gives us confidence and I really needed it,” Dybala told Sky Sport Italia.

“For many games I didn’t feel relaxed at the moment I had to hit the ball or even control it. I wasn’t myself and I felt that more and more with every game that passed.

“I missed the goal so much and I hope that this can give me the confidence to keep me going in the next games.

“I had an incredible season last year, then it was the complete opposite. I watched everything changing, I thought a thousand things, but perhaps that was the biggest mistake, because I just wasn’t relaxed on the pitch. I might not have had a great game tonight, but this can really help.”

“I have a great rapport with the coach. We talk all the time, and he is someone who rarely talks in general, so it’s special to have that personal dialogue.”

“So many things that aren’t true have been said about the contract. My agent was in Turin for a long time and was never called up.

“It disappoints me to hear talk of invested financial figures. It would be better if the truth could be told, because talking about those figures in the current situation pits the fans against me, with all the love I have for Juventus.

“I gave very few interviews and when I do speak, I try to say the most logical things.”

“I love Juventus,” he replied. “I have always said that I want to stay at Juventus. I have a good rapport with the fans and these things have been said in order to turn the people against me. I am very loyal to this club and the people know that.”

Dybala finally broke his drought, with a well taken goal against Genoa. It means something to him, and truly I hope it signals the beginning of his resurgence, for his form since returning from COVID (twice) has been poor.

Yet I am taking time from my hideously hectic as hades work vortex – which will not abate until the new year – to write of Dybala not due to the goal, but as a brief analysis and response to his interview above.

I was unsurprised by the leading questions posed to La Joya (its how the media works) nor by his responses, yet his openness felt like he was at the end of any sense of total refrain. With oblique references to what I have long concluded is the trademark modus operandi of Paratici.

All these rumours of the player demanding 10/15m seemed odd to me. Given Paulo’s consistent expressions of love for the club and bouncing back from the management trying to offload him last Summer. He does not strike me as a money hungry mercenary. And surely would have earned more had he agreed to any of the touted premier league moves. Yet he – apparently – held firm. Came out swinging and was often our best player on the field last campaign.

Now is different. For the ongoing silence of the club over contract negotiations, confirms to me the suspicion that they see him as nothing more than a profit making counterweight for other, or within other deals. Who are the mercenaries here?

I do not like Paratici, and this leads onto some of that absence of admiration for his fellow director Nedved. They must work in tandem of sorts. And the value of Nedved as a director, I am yet to fully grasp, other than of his former connection to the club as a player, mega lupine zeal and kinship with Raiola. Beyond which, what does he offer?

On the playing front, Pirlo’s system works more fluidly in the attacking phase with the skillset of Morata. Which does not leave any room for Dybala. Yet he is not the only one who does not fit. Far from it. For Kulu, who showed such staggering promise last season, is another whose output has been well below par. Moved from role to role, now a supersub elect, but to what end?

For me, he is a player we should be building a system around. I feel the same of Dybala. And yet, this is the problem I have with a manager who applies system over players.

Briefly, I will add Bentancur into this suggestion of those who have gone very much downhill since last season. A young player who was coming on in leaps and bounds, yet has faltered terribly, backtracked and is now less of a player than he was. I have long ear-marked him as a tremendous talent in the making. Who would say so of his form under Pirlo?

Conte is a great man manager, or at least can be, with a reputation of tactical inflexibility. In saying that, he came to Turin (as a coach) with a set 4-2-4-ish system, analysed the talents and weaknesses and forged a new system which launched our recovery and a mega period of dominance. he was able to change his ethos and philosophy, or in the least tailor it to the strengths in hand.

Ramsey is another. His ongoing fitness issues aside, he is one of very few in the squad who has that magical ability fo add goals and creativity from midfield. Though is now, once again, a lost soul, and this is not just due to this physical frailties.

Finally Chiesa. Who many see as doing well, but repeatedly he is deployed out of position. 50m on a player to morph into a new role which often clashes with spaces where our only true champion likes to lurk and weave his magic.

A quick peek at the Whoscored ratings – which are curious rather than conclusive – suggests Ronaldo, Morata, Juan and Danilo emerge with a healthy regular output. Using the same measure, Bayern have 9 of a rating of the same barometer as healthy form as 7 or above.

It matters little to me to find us faring well enough in regards to the talented squad we have in Serie A and our opponents so far in the CL. For what I judge everything upon is not merely points and victories, but form. Momentum. Growth. Identity. And I can never veer too far away from an appraisal of how many players the coach is managing to steer towards showing on the field regularly near their best. On this score, we remain, at best, very much a work in progress.

With the money we have spent, we should have a team of champions, not one…who we are often lost without.

This is not pure or even direct attack on Andrea Agnelli. That would be idiotic, given the period of glorious success he has overseen. It is more a series of veiled barbs at the director level, where I do not believe we have the right people in position. Other than perhaps Cherubini.

Some will consider this harsh, and respond with reasonable words of a manager still cutting his fangs. Talk of our crushing of Barca in their own backyard. Of our absence of pre-season. Of the adjustment period required with new players, new system, new coach and also the remnants of a season of relative dismay or rather discord, under Sarri. And they are good points to raise. Sensible.

I am simply of a different view. Nothing hysterical. I am lacking much passion for the cause when I still suspect – perhaps even more so than last season – that if we removed Ronaldo from the squad, we would be seriously suffering. Which again has a counter argument…of course! As most teams, or many teams, would suffer without a legendary talent still able to operate at an elite level. However, there is more to my suspicion than this argument assuages.

Back to Dybala…

We have watched the management treat a number of players in what I consider an undignified, even disrespectful manner. Del Piero, Marchisio, Lichsteiner, Mandzukic, even Emre Can and now Dybala. Whether the president’s emotive beastliness leading to cold pragmatism of his own reasoning or Paratici ostracising from the squad a player who had the heart and often the form of a lion for our cause. Much is not right at the top.

What I mean by this, is that it was not that long ago we had a President announcing our new U23 coach, a director saying Sarri will stay, then a week or so later, Sarri was sacked and the new U23 coach became our manager. We then spent hugely on two natural RWFs, when we already had one and were not going to play with 3 up top.

Whichever way I look at that, and I did appraise the Pirlo promotion as a bold move, falling in love with the bearded wonder all over again…it was the sign of a management in shambles.

The nut of the matter is that I am saddened by the outburst of Dybala. Not just for a player whose love for the club has been steady and strong, as his contribution has been often very high level. But for the fans…as my old man pondering is that poorly run clubs rarely compete at the highest level. And I feel we have long been a poorly run club.

Song/s of the day>>>