La Juve Vita

By T G, 1 November 2021

By: Travis M. Gallardo

Let’s start the bidding at 40m!

Do I hear 50m?!

The modern era of the beautiful game has become so synonymous with coin and highlights that the line between reality and fantasy is far too casually blurred. Certainly we all deserve a moment’s peace with the wandering mind that dares to dream of things nigh impossible, but, we must come back to reality at some point. 

Our beloved Old Lady is a perfect study for this exercise.

According to Forbes, the 2020/21 season saw us record a loss of €210m. A historical record loss for any team in Serie A. Max Allegri has returned, making him the fourth manager in as many years, that is, if you, like I do, count him on either side of Sarri and Pirlo. What’s more is the appointment of Arrivabene. The gears are spinning: not for a sprint, but for a marathon.

Maurizio Arrivabene arrives at Juve aws CEO
Arrivabene arrives.

That being said, the squad is in need of some upgrades, certainly. As it stands, we’ve got a largely haphazard assortment of players. Allegri was keen to make sure it wasn’t an issue in the long term. Signaled in no greater way than his adamance at having a say in the transfer dealings of the club upon his return. In fact, it was conditional.

So, inevitably, as speculation mounts and bounces from one prospect to another, the question is, where does the money come from? Quite frankly: it doesn’t. At least not easily. Antonio Conte remarked once, albeit far too early for Juve then, but markedly poignant now:

“Well, you cannot go to eat at a €100 restaurant with just €10 euro in your pocket, can you?”

Alas, we arrive at the puzzle that is the current squad. Not only from a sporting aspect, but from a financial aspect. It is if nothing else, an interesting year. Depending on where you plant your flag, one might go so far as to presume that Max’s task this year is to simply qualify for the Champions League next year. Though, lest we forget, Max has a rabbit or two in his hat yet, and likely wouldn’t be content with such an outcome.

max allegri returns to juventus
Allegri returns to the bench for Juventus.

Now, I understand that I will lose some at this point, and that’s quite alright.

The reality is, we simply cannot afford the grandeur many have delusions of.

One needs to look no further than one Gianluigi Donnarumma as a glaring example of this. The heir apparent to the throne of Buffon in the national side, and likely, at a mere twenty-two years of age, the most talented, and experienced keeper in his age bracket. He left Milan on a free after his contract ran out, but, the salary required was well beyond our capacity. Imagine for a moment what it would have taken from a business, strategy, and financial aspect to make that happen. Locatelli? Absolutely couldn’t have happened. Chiesa? Perhaps we would have needed to terminate his loan, forfeiting a redemption option. Morata? His loan may have to have been terminated early, leaving us thin up top. All of those considerations before we even think about the wanton bird’s that are player’s we’d like to, and perhaps could move, if it were not for abhorrent salaries and poor fitness at times. Not the least of it being that their suitors are few and far between, and to this point, all have turned down to stay and, “fight for their place in the side.” Or perhaps more aptly, take their payday as they know they’re secure in it. 

It seems that lost are the days of a true sporting director. Someone who builds a complete, and rounded squad, rather than splashing the cash for the shiniest object available at the time. 

Perhaps think of it in this way: we absolutely need a world class playmaker in the center of the park, but that doesn’t preclude players like Bentancur, Rabiot, Arthur, and Mckennie from having value. Up top, we certainly need a more potent and consistent marksman, especially after the departure of Ronaldo, but that doesn’t render Kean, Bernardeschi, Kaio Jorge, or Kulusevski useless because they aren’t marquis names. Sandro, tasked with playing much deeper and defensively in recent years, not making the forays forward that made us clamor that he’s the best left back in the world, has been one of the most consistent and reliable players in the squad alongside Cuadrado. 

In a circuitous way to arrive at the point: what we need is a bit of a reality check. The recognition and knowledge that what’s possible in a video game, or in our daydreams, isn’t necessarily plausible, or probable. That after an unprecedented nine straight league titles, we are certainly in the midst of change and growing pains. Most importantly, we must remember, it will take time, whether we like it or not. 

“Rome ne fu pas faite toute en un jour”

~ Li Proverbe au Vilain

Fino All Fine. Forza Juve.