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Juventus Running Out of Gas?

Having competed with Inter Milan at the top of the Serie A standings until January 2024, The Old Lady, Juventus, is now floundering and has slipped to third place. Massimiliano Allegri’s troops couldn’t even win in their last four matches. Ran out of gas? Or is the quality of the squad just that?

Before facing Inter Milan at the Guiseppe Meazza on February 5 2024, Juventus recorded their only defeat against Sassuolo in Serie A. They are known as a team that is pragmatic and difficult to break down, typical of Italian catenaccio. A difference of one or two points with Inter Milan means they often swap places at the top of the capital.

It turns out that the match in Milan was the point of their freefall. The 0-1 defeat through Federico Gatti’s own goal was the start of a series of other bad results. The next Giornata (13/2/2024), the Old Lady again lost 0-1 to Udinese at home. Juve hit mental!

Two consecutive defeats were enough to shake a squad that relied on a combination of mediocre players and academy-trained players. Until Giornata 30, Juventus had been overtaken by AC Milan, and was in third place with 59 points.

They no longer have the power to look up to catch AC Milan with a difference of 6 points, especially as Inter Milan is already unreachable with a difference of 17 points.

Juventus actually has to be more vigilant about Bologna’s targets, who despite being 5 points behind (54 points) still have a game in hand. Don’t forget that AS Roma is slowly rising under the leadership of Daniele De Rossi with 51 points.

So what caused Juventus to lose focus in the final third of the competition? Haven’t they made a profit by not participating in the European championship? Let’s discuss them one by one.

Talking about Juventus as a strong team that has a winning mentality is far from burning. The last time they had this “mojo” was when Antonio Conte and Allegri managed the Zebra team for the first time, 2012-2019. They have legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, the defensive trio of Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini and maestro Andrea Pirlo.

After Allegri’s departure, Juve tried a frugal way to build a team by buying free players to polish them into team stars. Aaron Ramsey, Paul Pogba and Adrien Rabiot are some examples. To continue to make the squad respected, they even bought superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, whose prime at Real Madrid had ended.

The results at domestic level are still very good because they were able to extend 9 seasons with the Scudetto title (2012-2020), even though they are still without achievements on the European stage. But it is also worth remembering, until 2020, two Milan city teams are still having financial problems.

The wheel turns, it’s their turn to experience financial problems. Findings from Serie A auditors prove that Andrea Agnelli (former owner of Juve), Pavel Nedved (legend and former Vice President of Juve) and Fabio Paratici (former director) were involved in collusion with fictitious financial reports.

They were personally punished by being banned from being involved in the world of football, and Juventus as a club received a 15 point deduction last season.

The bottom line of the problem is, they are trying to cover up the financial deficit within the team with fake “numbers” in order to circumvent Financial Fair Play. As a result, in Europe Juventus also faces a ban from competing this season.

Of course, this makes it difficult for them to improve, especially catching up with the quality of the squad from Napoli, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Now, these three clubs are the main destinations for world-class players if they choose Serie A as their port. Only local caliber players such as Federico Chiesa, Dusan Vlahovic, Federico Gatti and Manuel Locatelli can be obtained by the Old Lady.

Having fallen down the stairs, Nicolo Fagioli and Paul Pogba were hit by non-technical personal issues that made them unavailable for the team this season. Fagioli was hit by a gambling scandal, which resulted in him being suspended until May 18, 2024.

Then the bleakest is Paul Pogba, who must be banned until 2027 because of doping problems. In Pogba’s case, he and the club are still seeking appeals to reduce his sentence.

These three things have become a threat to Juventus this season. Max Allegri had difficulty bringing in players, while Fagioli and Pogba, who should have been important elements of the team, were instead punished.

After the financial scandal was revealed, Max Allegri stated his loyalty to continuing to coach Juventus. Also responding to the cases of Fagioli and Pogba, he thought coolly by trying to promote a number of Juventus Primavera players. Fabio Miretti, Andera Cambiaso, Iling-Junior, Hans Caviglia and Kenan Yildiz have already won a number of caps this season, joining other senior players. Their performance can be said to be decent, with Fabio Miretti, Cambiaso and Yildiz being the projected core players in the future.

Completing his young squad, Allegri only has the opportunity to bring in players like Bremer, Tiago Djalo and Timothy Weah. In fact, when they needed an additional striker last January, they could only borrow Carlos Alcaraz. Southampton striker who is now in the Championship Division!

This frugal mode is certainly the biggest cause of them starting to lose money in the final period of this competition. Other big teams are starting to approach the peak of their performance and filling their squad with quality players, while Juventus, which has been pushing hard since the start of the season, is starting to run out of gas.

Player choices are limited, while Max Allegri’s strategy is starting to read. So it can be concluded that apart from running out of gas, Juve also have that quality of players!

For Juventini, a realistic target is to remain in third place and compete in the Champions League next season. That way there will be significant additional income, as well as being an attraction for quality players to come to Turin.

The opportunity that is still open to win the title is the Coppa Italia. After being defeated by Lazio 0-1 yesterday (31/3/2024), the two teams will meet again in the first leg of the Copa Italia semi-final, Wednesday 3 April 2024. Juventus will have the opportunity to host Lazio first, before visiting the Olimpico three weeks later.

The Coppa Italia title will be an additional morale for the Old Lady going into next season. Not to mention the addition of a number of young names who will return from loan spells, such as Nicolo Rovella, Dean Huijsen, Mathias Soule and Kaio Jorge.

Fans can’t expect “wow” purchases just yet, but Allegri will build this team on a fairly solid foundation. It won’t be until the next two or three transfer windows that they will be able to enter the market for the world’s top players.

Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic might also be sacrificed to increase the club’s finances. These two players are quite adaptable to playing in the Premier League, especially Vlahovic, who is keenly interested in Arsenal.

If they have received the transfer money, they can enter the Serie A hot-list for players like Teun Koopmeiners, Joshua Zirkzee, Lazar Samardzic or Raoul Bellanova. Purchasing “local” players can be easier because Serie A teams often divide ownership portions fifty-fifty.

For Juventini, hopefully until the end of this season Juve can at least maintain their position in third place. So that next season the proud club of the city of Turin can compete with Inter Milan and AC Milan, which are once again respected in Europe.

ASL

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