Any juve fan who has followed the club the last few years will know that we have some quite serious problems.
After our superb stint under Conte then Max, which led to plenty of silverware and two CL final appearances, the world class midfield of that squad was allowed to depart and unfortunately not replaced with players of the same high levels of mentality or technique.
Then came the decision by Andrea Agnelli to buy into a mega focus on marketing/branding spearheaded by Paratici…part of this same change of direction involved Paratici bringing the Ronaldo deal to the club in an manner which led to the dismissal of Beppe Marrotta.
Whilst Beppe had made some mistakes, he was also the undisputed overseer as Sporting Director of the rebuild which led to a lengthy period of domestic dominance and renewed success in the CL. Marrota has since proven he remains a top drawer team builder by quite quickly pulling together a side Conte was able to mould into champions.
The reality of the Ronaldo move is that with such a staggering investment (340m) we were always likely to struggle to break even…the marketing potential to be explored was not a given, in that we would easily make the money back. Far from it. We have also won less on the field since he arrived.
It is fair to suggest that recruitment has gone downhill since Beppe left. Ronaldo as mentioned, who has created lots of personal records whilst our domestic form suffered and in Europe, it has been ever worse. De Ligt was a good signing but at the money was he what was needed? Will we even be able to recoup the large investment in these post-COVID times?
Purchasing Kulu, a specialist RWF, then Chiesa, a specialist-ish RWF, made little sense. Even less sense to find Pirlo deciding to play neither as a RWF…
The midfield recruitments were focused on free signings, with both Rabiot and Ramsey proving a huge waste of money and more failure than success. Can mis-used then frozen out, never to even replicate his finest form in England though strangely decent one again as soon as leaving Juve…Other than a curious punt on MckEnnie, who likely was selected as much, if not more for his potential marketing avenue into the US scene.
So yes recruitment has been poor. And it is fair of course to include the inexperience of Pirlo. Unreasonable to expect him to be Lippi, more likely Lampard.
Still, he played under some amazing managers, and in some amazing teams. he must have had an idea of the coaching and systems and selections he was a part of? He was also taught coaching, where we must assume the teachers do not praise and pass only those with lofty idealism? In short, he should have an idea of what has worked in reality and how a coach manages a side. Which generally revolves are a few basic systems, which a manager must find to fit the squad at his disposal. Especially new coaches who lacking any experience with any system, outside the classroom, would be at best cavalier to demand a new, never before proven to work system is adopted by his players and coaching staff…
He has used 35+ different selections in almost the same amount of games. He has stuck with a hybrid transitional nonsense which places a box to box or AM often as a tucked in RM.
He has played many players out of their natural roles.
In short, Pirlo has stuck to his lofty idealism and done close to zero to work a system around the players. What happens when you consistently put players out of position, in a system with bizarre transitions and hybrid roles, which has never been proven to work anywhere outside the classroom, is you get a side where many players are muddled, and performing below their average previously demonstrated level. Which is precisely the story of this season.
Most the squad have been poor or inconsistent. Only Juan, Chiesa, Danilo and Ronaldo have shown any consistency. In a squad of 25 this is a sure confirmation of bad coaching.
We have seen many individual mistakes, and this again smacks of players in a damn muddle, not playing anywhere near their natural game. Which gets back to the coaching.
By playing a RWF at LM, sometimes LWB…a RWF at SS or LM…a CM at RM…Pirlo has created a side without any balance or cohesion.
Add to this the many times we have emerged from HT looking closer to comatose, lethargic, forlorn than fired up with either enthusiasm or tactical solutions fuelled with belief.
When we have looked good, it has appeared that the players are connecting and playing their own game, the result of talent working together in patches almost in spire of the tactics, not due to them. Yet the spine has been weak. Not only have we struggled immensely against sides much weaker on paper, we have deservedly lost to a few of them, and won many matches purely on moments of individual talent not the collective all working as one. This is expected when you play a CM at RM and a RWF at LM, which leaves the 2 CMs hideously exposed and in turn the defence behind them all at odds as the transitions of the fullbacks have also felt confused. Other than for Danilo, strangely enough.
The fact that Pirlo has stuck with his system for so long has staggered me. It seems arrogance beyond what I thought possible, almost as if the season is an experiment for him to try his ideas and see if they work…very little passion or love for the club itself let alone the fanbase.
I disagree with what many assert of the low rent quality of the current roster, as I find the squad the best in the league,. Yet failing close to miserably by having the weakest coach and a team not built to work together. Perhaps Inter are not just vastly superior on chemistry but also as a finest first XI, though what when some of their first XI is missing??? We can still put out Chiesa, Kulu and Juan as attacking threat in the final third if we have Ronaldo, Morata and Dybala all missing. In midfield they seem to have better options, yet its mainly the chemistry and coaching to my mind, that makes them stronger.
On individual talent we should be 1st or 2nd. Not struggling for 4th…It seems easier to finish in the top four than outside it.
Morale has been dashed, performances have worsened…and add to this the superleague bother, further damaging our reputation, as well as the spat with Conte which was ugly for a President to become involved with. The ongoing problems with Dybala’s contract with the club looking to sell or trade him for the third summer running…Ronaldo’s wages and the difficulties in avoiding him leaving without a major loss on the books. All is a shambles, as it was last Season when Agnelli went berserk, sacked Sarri and promoted his friend to the first team coach role.
That move by Agnelli had no pre-thought, no planning. Else he would not have been given the U23 role 10 days before. It smacked of the absence of any set business model.
And now we have Paratici, who might leave, yet supposedly in charge of a mercato campaign which must have already begun in the shadows, working with or without a manager who I very much hope will be sacked. This does not bode well for next season…
I would prefer to see Agnelli replaced. A clean out top to bottom. bring in Nasi to keep it in the family.
Also Paratici and Nedved, keep Cherubini in there for some continuity…with Pirlo of course replaced, and not given our U23 side to destroy.
Who could come in??? I quite like Jardim. Who has experience of developing systems to best fit squads, success in several leagues and is available and of a good age. Conceicao also seems a curious idea.
And yet, I fear the current management are unable to move beyond what is trending on twitter, so will likely never have heard of Jardim and be focused on Zidane, Max or even Gattusso.