-"There will be lots of trades, a situation that will bring football closer to the NBA" -
Those were the words of Paratici to TuttoSport in march 2020. A few months later he kept his words with the mind-boggling trade of Arthur for Pjanic in a deal very much “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” with a debt-ridden Bartomeu Barcelona.
Paratici is very much criticized by Juventini for failing to live up to their expectations, however, despite of all the shortcomings of this season’s squad. He started laying the foundations of a very interesting team for years to come. I, for one, can take a scudetto-less year (Although not settled just yet), for a young squad that can compete for honors for many seasons.
We’ve seen it time and time again, too much success can make management rest on their laurels. The Milan of Shevchenko, Inzaghi, Maldini, and co., the Manchester of Sir Alex Ferguson, the post-Mourinho Inter and more recently; and to a much lesser extent, the all-conquering Barcelona and Real Madrid, have suffered the consequences of not rebuilding in time.
Juventus has a very good structure to build upon. De Ligt, Demiral, Bentancur, Arthur, McKennie, Chiesa, Kulusevski are all under 25 years old. We still have to see how the likes of Dragusin, Pellegrini and Fagioli develop and see if out-on-loan Rovella comes back to the team or is used as a trading piece. Even the “older” ones still have many years to give, Morata, Szczesny, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, Dybala. And finally, the senatori are by no means done just yet, Ronaldo, Bonucci, Cuadrado, Sandro, Chiellini and even Buffon are still playing at top-level standards and can still contribute to the team.
I feel Juventus is two or three pieces short of being a truly elite team, and it’s probably not a coincidence that precisely the missing pieces linked with Juve, are from teams that Paratici has years-long-relationships with. You can criticize him all you want, but the sought-after by Roma and Manchester director is a lot smarter than some give him credit for.
Locatelli, Aouar, and Gosens are three important pieces that are widely considered to possibly contribute massively to take Juventus to the next level, and; probably not by chance, Paratici is in an advantageous position to deal with all of them first hand.
Let’s take a closer look:
Hamed Junior Traore / Locatelli
Hamed Junior Traore is a 21 years old midfielder who plays for Sassuolo. He has played 24 out of 27 games in Serie A this season, scoring three goals and assisting one in the process. Sassuolo signed him in synergy with Juventus in exchange for a preferential price for two years in case Juventus decides to sign him. According to ilBianconero.com, the price for Juve would be 15 million euros. A very good price for a young and solid midfielder.
Considering Sassuolo are always looking for young bargains to potentially sell on a profit to keep the influx of cash coming and invest in further talents, it’s a no brainer to think they’d intended to keep him and develop him even more and sell him down the road for a heftier price. It’s not unthinkable to consider Juve exercising their option, giving him back for a little over that price plus some extra cash to get Locatelli, whose price tag is reported to be around the 35-40 million mark.
Cristian Romero / Gosens
“Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement has been finalized with Atalanta B.C. S.p.A. for a two-season loan, until 30 June 2022, of the registration rights of the player Cristian Romero for a consideration of € 2 million to be paid during the current financial year. The agreed consideration might be increased up to € 2 million upon achievement of certain sportive performance objectives over the two-season period. The agreement also provides Atalanta B.C. S.p.A. with the option right for the definitive acquisition of the player at a price of € 16 million to be paid in three financial years.”
The Juventus official page reported that, back in September 2020. It’s been recently rumored that Atalanta is keen to exercise their option, a year earlier than they’re supposed to. And it’s not a surprise given the quality of defending he’s been displaying for them, even against the almighty Real Madrid in the biggest stage, UCL.
Considering Juventus has long been interested in Robin Gosens, whose price tag is rumored to be around the 30-40 million mark. It will be interesting to see if Paratici reaches some sort of agreement with Atalanta, who are also always looking to make a profit to further invest in younger talent for years to come.
De Sciglio / Aouar
De Sciglio was once an up-and-coming star of the Milan academy. He is a useful defender who was maybe not made for the spotlight and the pressures of competing for the biggest accolades in football. When Allegri came to Juventus he requested him specifically, and after the tactician was gone, Juventus tried to focus on that bit of extra quality and flair that wingbacks in the modern football world have; and De Sciglio lacks.
De Sciglio was loaned to Lyon this season and has played 21 games for them in Ligue 1. He is reported to be very happy in Lyon and given the excellent relationship between Aulas, president of Lyon, and Agnelli, president of Juventus, is not unthinkable to consider some business being done for him in exchange for sought after midfielder Aouar.
It was reported that at the beginning of the season Pirlo was made to choose between Chiesa and Aouar, and we know he ended up choosing the Italian winger. Probably come June, they will sit back down to talk about it once again, now with Mattia De Sciglio in the mix.
According to transfermarkt.com, De Sciglio is worth around 7.5 million euros and Aouar pricetag has been reported around the 40-50 million mark. The “De Sciglio discount” would not represent a big dent in the price tag, however, in COVID times, everyone takes what they can. Add that to the fact that Aouar hasn’t had the best of seasons, so maybe his pricetag will drop a bit. We’ll see come the summer.
Paratici has managed to position himself in a very favorable position for the summer transfer market, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. Add this to the fact that there are some valuable surplus-to-requirement players in and around the first-team squad, and if (And this is a big if) Juventus manages to sell all of them, Paratici might count with that extra cash for the away-from-the-spotlight business he likes to do.
Some of the players reported to be considered “sellable” for the club are D. Costa, Perin, Rugani, Bernardeschi, Rabiot, Ramsey, Sandro, Mandragora, Frabotta, Dragusin, Pellegrini and even Dybala or Ronaldo. Some of them can bring a massive influx of cash to the team, to reinvest in important signings. Even the possibility of Ronaldo or Dybala being used for important swaps “Alla Arthur” for a certain Pogba or Icardi is not out of the question, however unlikely it seems at the moment.
In the end, Paratici could be in a much worse position than he is right now, so it’s up for him to add the finishing touches to the Juventus masterpiece he’s trying to accomplish. If he plays his cards right and destiny smiles back at him, we can be set for a very competitive squad for years to come, with lots of quality in every facet of the game.
“La Vecchia Signora” has a very itchy back at the moment, so if any team is looking to scratch it, Paratici will be very keen on returning the favor.
By: Juan E. Martínez Badillo