New Juventus sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli says his aim is to bring the club ‘back to its height, where it deserves to be.’ The 51-year-old arrived in Turin this summer, having helped Napoli secure the Scudetto last season, and has been tasked with helping bring the Bianconeri back to their best. Speaking in an interview with La Repubblica, Giuntoli spoke about his role with The Old Lady, and the relationships he has with the coach and management team:
“I feel at home here. At a time of great crisis in Italian football, there is a need to make a virtue of necessity. Pursue sustainability, create a self-sustaining mechanism where you can spend based on what you collect. Lower the payroll and average age, have more young people who can grow in the club and be a value. Plus, create an environment that looks not just at the result but at the performance.
“Winning is the most important thing, but if we want to grow we have to analyze performance, and that takes time. How much? We reason about the middle distance, but setting a term also means creating a limit, and limits are for the mediocre. There is a precise program shared by ad Scanavino, Allegri, myself and Manna: to return to the Champions League.
“We also need it to have a showcase in which to grow our youngsters, because they need to be able to compare themselves with the best in Europe. For our stated goal, the rivals are Atalanta, Fiorentina, Lazio, Roma. Then there are Napoli, Milan and Inter who are ahead of us because their project started much earlier.”
“The Giuntoli method? I don’t like the term. Just I’m someone who works a lot, who is careful about the relationship with coaches, staff, players, agents. I love to be behind the scenes and talk little. Football is not a one man show, only all together we can bring Juve back to where it deserves to be. I am one who aggregates.”
“Allegri? Before I arrived they were saying and writing that our relationship was complicated, but it is not so. Allegri is the spearhead of the club, a great reference in this delicate phase of transition. He started with Aglianese, the team from my region, think of destiny, and he has twice reached the Champions League final.
“We are the ones who have to bring Juve to his level. Coaching is the hardest job in the world; he is one man, with all the weight on his shoulders. I have always protected my coaches: I try to understand how they think so I can meet with them and help them. I am a manager who helps the coach.”
“Lukaku at Juve? There was Chelsea’s offer for Vlahovic. We did not want to give up Dusan, but in face of certain figures we would have accepted. Chelsea never arrived at that figure and the exchange did not happen.”
“Pogba? We are waiting for the counter-analysis and will decide what to do together with his management. If there is annoyance on our part? I only think about how much we miss him on the field. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves and look ahead.
“Replace him? We will make a point at Christmas. First we want to understand what the players we have can give us. Then, if there are opportunities we will take them.”
Finally, on another summer target, Domenico Berardi: “He is a good and capable player but now, I repeat, we want to understand what we are worth.”
“On the staff there are people like Aldo Dolcetti, a soccer scientist, Marco Landucci, Simone Padoin, just to name a few. Magnanelli has replaced Bianco bringing some interesting ideas, no doubt, but the one who dictates the guidelines is Allegri.”