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Juventus Transfer Review

Juventus ended 2012 on a high being crowned Winter Champions yet again and amassing a massive 7 point gap at the top of the table. They qualified for the knockout stages in the Champions League after topping what can be said to be the second toughest group of the Competition consisting of European Champions Chelsea & Ukrainian Heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk. They now face Celtic in the round of 16 and although their progress in the Competition seems ensured they must not make the mistake of taking Celtic lightly as The Bhoys pulled off a memorable victory against Barcelona after the Catalans were left frustrated despite having more than 80% possession.

Juventus can boast of having the best Defensive and Second Best Offensive record (behind by a single goal) in the league conceding only 15 goals and scoring 46. But the fact of the matter is their league top goal scorer is Fabio Quagliarella with 7 goals followed by Sebastian Giovinco with 6 goals. Pirlo, Vidal and Vucinic have chipped in with 5 goals each and the teenage sensation Paul Pogba with 4 goals. None of their strikers feature in the top 10 list of Serie A Goal Scorers.

Now let us break down the goals scored and we have a picture which does not look too good.
The top scorer Quagliarella has scored 5 goals in 2 matches – a brace against chievo & a hattrick against lowly Pescara. He found his name on the scoresheet after quite a while in the last game against Genoa.

Sebastian Giovinco does have 6 goals to his tally but 2 of those came against Udinese when the game was already won, a goal against Roma and Pescara again when the game was already won, a goal against Torino and a penalty against Sampdoria.

Andrea Pirlo undoubtedly the best playmaker in the world has scored 5 goals all of which have come from freekicks against Parma, Roma, Siena, Atlanta & Parma again.

Artuto Vidal also has 5 to his name 2 of which are penalties against Udinese and Roma, a goal after just 19 secs against Inter Milan although in vain as Inter handed Juventus their first defeat after coming a goal down to win 1-3, a goal against Catania in a game which was embroiled in controversy and a goal against Pescara where Juventus demolished them 6-1.

All this reads a poor picture since Juventus on an average control 59% of the possession during games and do not convert the number of opportunities they create.

“Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists.” – Edward de Bono

But yet the obvious is always the least understood. Water is wet and the sky is blue; never has it been clearer that Juventus NEED a top striker who is lethal in front of goal.

January was welcomed with great optimism for this absolutely compact unit which could do no wrong last season. Despite the Striker problems, Juventus still found the goals and the wins although January 2013 had to be one of the worst months for this Juventus side guided back to Europe’s elite under the guidance of Conte. 2 Losses, 3 Draws & Just 2 Wins saw them eliminated from the Coppa Italia and now having only a 3 point lead over Napoli who sit in 2nd place.

The absence of Chiellini due to injury and Asamoah to the AFCON in South Africa along with the rigidness of Conte not to change his 3-5-2 formation has cost Juventus. 9 out of the 20 teams in Serie A now use the 3-5-2. Juventus no longer look like the same invincible unit as of last years.

Below is the quick brief of Juventus Mercato:

FEDERICO PELUSO (Atalanta)

Additional cover to the injured Chiellini and to supplement an already strong Juventus defence consisting of Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Caceres and Marrone.

Federico Peluso

Peluso has signed on an initial 6 month loan deal with a view to a permanent. (Photo: tuttosport)

Pros: Worked with Conte before, Primarily a backup defender.

Cons: Price too high, Yet to establish himself as a true quality player worthy of wearing the Juventus jersey.

NICOLAS ANELKA (Shanghai Shenhua)

This transfer was met with criticism from most section of the fans. The fact that Juventus needed a striker was obvious. Juventus have been previously linked with many big names and to end up with Anelka a big disappointment.

Anelka

Anelka will be in Turin until the end of the season (Photo: tuttosport)

Pros: Loads of experience, May prove crucial in the Champions League, good technique inside the box and can complement existing forwards.

Cons: Age not by his side, hasn’t been playing regularly for Shanghai Shenhua and has scored only 3 goals in 22 games while in the Chinese Super League, known to be temperamental.

FERNANDO LLORENTE (Athletic Bilbao)

Finally the Bilbao legend will arrive for free in the summer. Massive coup by DS Marrotta. An upgrade on Matri & Bendtner.

Fernando Llorente

This is arguably one of the best free transfers in recent times (Photo: deccanchronicle)

Pros: Quality striker, good aerial ability (scored maximum of headed goals last year), good movement off the ball and a known finisher.

Cons: Arrives only in the summer and is not the answer to the striking woes of Juventus for this season, will be playing in Italy for the first time and may take time to adjust.

Juventus also made a couple of deals to sign some youngsters for the future Cevallos, Mattheus, Bajebah and Pepic. There were rumours linking the club to highly rated youngster Andreas Poli of Sampdoria but despite a late bid, the Bianconeri failed in their attempts.

Throughout the January window, Juventus were linked with Lyon’s Argentine forward, Lisandro Lopez. But despite many reported bids, Juventus failed to land their man. They failed in their attempts to sign Parma youngster Ishak Belfodil who has also played for Lyon in the past.

The club failed to address the striking issues, where other teams in the Serie A have strengthened their team Juventus have only found back up players and have not improved since the window. They will have to hope that this does not come back to haunt them

To put it simply if Juventus fail to win the Scudetto from this position their season will be dubbed a failure. More importantly Juventus will be waiting the return of Chiellini, Pepe & Asamoah who would significantly boost the current squad. With the window shut now and Juventus not capitalising it will have to be seen where the team goes from here.

This article was written by Juventus fan, Akshay Hariharan. You can follow him on twitter @akshayhariharan.

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