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The revolution to continue?


Browsing the muddled, generally ME ME ME twitter realm earlier today when strewn happily on a bed of sand with the soothing symphony of the ocean lapping at the shoreline near my lower paws I happened upon a curious tweet…

Which leads to an expansion of this idea which can be found here. I have no knowledge of the credibility of Mr Bargiggia, yet I very much was roused in the generally tired love for our shared cause in black and white of many decades… by the gist of his piece. For what this journalist is suggesting, is the following>>

Some informal discussions may have taken place between Agnelli (perhaps intermediaries) and Beppe Marotta, also Marcello Lippi, in regards to potentially replacing both Paratici and Nedved in the Summer.

With Inter’s ongoing financial trauma, and the major success Beppe oversaw during his lengthy stint at Juve previously, it doesn’t beggar belief to consider this story a possibility. The caveat, of course, is that Paratici would need to be culled…as would Nedved, we must presume.

A few years back I would have laughed at such a rumour. I knew Andrea Agnelli as composed, strident yet logical, a welcome Agnelli back on the throne, whose reign returned us to the upper echelons of continental football.

And yet…something went wrong in 2018. Since then, especially last Summer and then during the visit of Signore Conte recently, I have experienced different perceptions of Andrea.

The President has worked wonders at the club. Yet he cannot get everything right for eternity. The move to publicise Pirlo as our U23 coach then a week or so later, promote and publicise him to first team coach, cannot have been planned. For this would suggest he had little business sense. Potential investors in the club, potential players to head to our squad, would be thinking we were at best in hideous upheaval, to find the top man behaving in this way. A well run business does not act the way Andrea pranced with wild fury last Summer.

Add to this the uncouth response to Conte’s middle finger last week, and the words of Signore Bargiggia, stretching towards a possible move even going so far to suggest Andrea Agnelli moving to Ferrari (owned by the family firm Exxor, as is Juve), quickly seem less far flung into fantasy. For I imagine John Elkann – who is chairman and CEO of Exxor – appalled at the behaviour of his cousin, not applauding or feeling like he has the right man in charge of one of his prestige businesses. And we are a business. Make no mistake on this score. There is a hierarchy above Andrea Agnelli, our management does not end with him. Not in the slightest, no matter what autonomy he has been given due to his bloodline. Which is a murky story in itself to get deeper into if you wish. There is a typically brutal battle long waged and raged in the upper tiers of one of the richest families of Italy. With Juve not the sole focus; more akin to a pawn in the battle of the corporate elite.

As for Nedved…A superb player with true warrior spirit, who I used to assume and perhaps feel more than think about, was offering his value as a director through his presence and enthusiasm. What else beyond this?? I have then started to ponder….With the best I can conjure as logical and reasonable, appearing as his connection to Mino Raiola, one of the most nefarious agents to deal with. An agent who works first and foremost for himself, then his players, never for a club…

What else does the former Czech Fury bring to the club as director? What does he do?

To replace him with Marcello Lippi, former Juve supremo, world cup winner, hugely respected, ever oozing class…would be wonderful. I am sure he would have a stronger impact. His mind is one of the finest in the game, his contacts far beyond Raiola and such is his standing, he would command respect. From within and without the Juve ranks.

Fabio Paratici is a man to whom I have never developed a fond or even pleasant perception. I dont know him personally, of course, though an idea of what he is can be fathomed from his words and more importantly his work on the recruitment front.

His corporate endeavour as something along the lines of head of the scouting unit, working under Beppe, both at Samp, then at Juve, was decent, perhaps excellent. However, the move to usurp his boss felt wrong, underhanded…these two longstanding colleagues, who had for many moons worked in tandem, suddenly the young gun made his play. A new project sold to the President, with Nedved on side, the need to transform to mega signings, to focus on branding and marketing, and Andrea took the bait. So away Beppe was sent, and in his place…his former charge.

It seems to me that the Ronaldo move was engineered very much by Paratici, behind the back of Beppe, who would have baulked at the investment.

“It all started when we played vs Real Madrid in the Champions League,” said Paratici.

“I met [agent] Jorge Mendes, like I always do and he told me: you may not believe it but if Cristiano leaves Real he’d want to join Juventus.

“Then I started to study the move. During the talks to close a deal for the phenomenal [Joao] Cancelo, Mendes looked at me and said: remember what we talked about? 

“‘If you want him, he is ready’. Then, in our next meeting, I asked Mendes: so what figures are we talking about? 

“He replied: this is the salary and this is the transfer fee. So I told him I would get back to him in a few days, because if I had said no, he would’ve contacted other clubs. 

“There were hours of extreme tension and energy. Many thoughts started crossed my mind: we have [Gonzalo] Higuain who we’ll need to sell, but Ronaldo is a star who will open various channels: technical and commercial.

“Finally I convinced myself that we must at least try. Up to this point, I had not told anything to anyone (at Juventus). 

“I met with Andrea (Agnelli) and Pavel (Nedved) and we all agreed. We must give the entire environment a shock. A positive shock that can project Juventus to a new level. 

“So, I told Agnelli and Nedved: I have an idea…but it is yet to be evaluated, so do not laugh and do not throw yourselves out of the window. 

“There are two ways to galvanise the team: one which I cannot disclose now and the other is to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“The first way? It was to buy Icardi and unleash an incredible fiasco or we can sign Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“I told them: Mendes told me to tell you that if Juve wants Cristiano and meets his demands, he is going to come to Juventus. He does not want anyone else other than Juventus. 

“You must also understand that Andrea is not just a president. He knows football and business very well. And always wants to make Juventus bigger.

“So he said ‘give me a moment to think about it’. At that point I was happy I wasn’t thrown out of the window! 

“On the same day, during the afternoon, he told me to confirm all the numbers that we had discussed, because if it was like I said it was, we are going to go forward with the operation.”

Beppe was still his boss at this time. It is instructive that long after the startling move, Paratici does not mention Marotta at all. He went straight to Nedved and Agnelli. Sold the move as making us ‘bigger’. Not long after Beppe left the club.

Now as for Marotta…sometimes I may come across as praising him too much. He made mistakes. He made a fair few successful moves. I do not believe he is a master class of sporting director, and perhaps he has proven mainly capable of building winning teams within his means, then muddled when expected to make the jump to bring in the elite signings. I am not so sure of that, but its a fair criticism to make. Still…in terms of the core task of the role, he proved at Samp, at Juve (return to the top domestically after too many years in the wilderness, two CL finals, plenty of silverware), and since then at Inter- that he is very capable of choosing signings which can build a side. His history has clear and demonstrable evidence of an understanding of the chemistry of a team. I see nothing of the same in Paratici.

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I look at Paratici’s record and find the Ronaldo move his finest crowning glory, yet still I am unable to conclude it was a superb acquisition beyond the marketing value, and even that, I have come across nothing to confirm we have broken even on the immense investment, let alone forged a profit on or off the field. Add to this the sacrifices he has been forced to make…to service this staggering investment of EU340m (wages and transfer) – required sales of Kean and Cancelo, plenty of promising youngsters, the focus on free signings to shore up our failing central midfield – and to then look at our progress under his guidance. It paints a far less appealing picture than what took place under Beppe in the same role.

There are mitigating factors to consider, yet the reality is that we have gone downhill in form, chemistry, identity and proximity to the ultimate goal of CL glory since Ronaldo joined the side.

The total cost of the move with wages was around EU340m. This is more than enough to have financed the recruitment of 4-6 top players for the first XI.

It has long been my conclusion more than inkling that Beppe was appalled at the Ronaldo transfer. Not merely his pride injured to find his underling dealing around him with Andrea and Nedved, but due to the cost to the recruitment policy more expansively. As I strongly assert that Beppe would have invested more wisely across the squad with that huge outlay…

Yet kindly take note, that I am not suggesting Beppe as the man guaranteed to bring the club back on an even keel. I would prefer his return than more of Paratici, yet highly doubt it will happen, unless Andrea Agnelli is removed from the club by his cousin-boss John Elkann. Which is highly doubtful. For what we have presently, is very much decided by our President.

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This is not intended as a major show of support for the ideas broached of Paolo Bargiggia. More a case of …I believe that the President and those above him especially, are well aware of the serious decline on the field, and I suspect also, off the field.

How can our share price – which is what John Elkann and his advisors will be looking at – not have fallen dramatically this season? Our worst league campaign since Del Neri, when the club were given much less money to play with, and expectations were comparably lower…humbling defeats to Inter, to Napoli and of late on the grand stage of the Champions League to Porto, a game from which we were very fortunate to emerge with a golden ticket of an away goal, and were universally criticised, rightfully, for playing very much unlike what is expected of Juventus.

If I were to suggest the profile, a man specifically, to bring in to take us forward, I could look no further than our former player Brazzo. Who has performed a very similar role as our Sporting Director at Bayern, and they remain, exceptional. Never removed from any conversation of the elite sides of Europe and beyond…

I am certain that both cousins are aware that this trajectory cannot be allowed to continue. And more of our flock need to understand that Andrea Agnelli, whilst overseeing an amazing return to domestic dominance and a well run club, has his own boss. He is not untouchable…Yet as I mentioned, I find this idea of him moving very unlikely indeed. As for Nedved and Paratici, much will depend on this season.

It is impossible to launch this discussion without drawing to the fore our current coach, Andrea Pirlo.

There was no surprise to find us humbled and looking bereft of ideas, languid, relying on a brief moment of some of the obvious, ill deployed quality we have in the ranks to earn the undeserved lifeline in our recent outing in Portugal.

Pirlo has been poor. His selections often wretched, and the side nowhere near alive until he corrects his mistakes, usually 60 minutes in.

I always look at the first XI and close to it, as the barometers of synergy between a coach and the squad. Admittedly, I have pointed towards Paratici for drawing together an unbalanced squad not naturally prone to finding chemistry, but still, I have been unable to shake the idea that we are hugely underperforming.

Lofty idealism over the pragmatism every coach needs to succeed.

Chiesa, a specialist RWF who also operated often as a CF last season, is deployed at LM, with duties to defend.

Kulu, a specialist RWF is played all over the field.

Danilo, one of the very few to prosper under Pirlo, is as often played at CBR, RB as LB…

Morata? Who has scored plenty of goals, yet is generally tasked at dropping deep to create connection between midfield and an attack of Ronaldo.

I am hard pressed to find more than less players prospering under Pirlo. Which suggests that the system, the tactics, do not fit the squad. So often do I see players looking like they do not know what they are supposed to do. Huge gaps appearing when defending.

In short, Pirlo is to be pragmatically appraised – a coach with barely any experience, who is failing to get even the sum of our parts as the regular output. Not solely his fault but largely his doing.

If he is to remain, he needs more cavalry on the bench. A wise old head, Mike Phelan type, to help steady the ship from the shadows. Our tactical management and selection smacks of inexperience, at very best…more like kids given the keys to the ferrari and told ‘take her for a spin!’.

I question if any of his entourage are confident and capable enough to challenge Pirlo. I suspect they are all so happy to be promoted in their careers to find themselves at Juve that they follow him blindly, as their own newfound glory is because of him. Its unhealthy and awful to ponder I am anywhere near Right on this.

So from lower to higher management, I find deep rooted problems,.

Perhaps too cynically, cruelly I am more focused on how far we have to fall before decisive further renovation, if not revolution, is applied to the manager, directors or even President.


Forza Juve