We have a theme this week: Transfers That Won’t Die.
The Angelo Ogbonna saga continues, perpetually on the verge of a signature, never quite official.
Meanwhile, Stevan Jovetic is hanging onto Juve for dear life, while Fiorentina is hanging onto purple pride and their eternal hatred of all things Old Lady.
It’s all covered here, plus two phantom deals with Sampdoria for players we may not ever see as Bianconeri, a few transfer rumors, two legendary birthdays—and most importantly, the official beginning of the new season.
To the news!
Bianconeri Back in Business
And so ends another paradoxical offseason: so tortuously long for us, so brief for those actually playing and running their bodies ragged about 11 months of the year.
Most of Juventus — minus eight Azzurri and one Uruguayan, who are taking a much-needed vacation after the Confederations Cup (and minus Paul Pogba, who is presently captaining and converting penalties for his French Under-20 World Cup side) have assembled in Turin for a battery of medical tests and two days of practice, in view of the first official preseason training camp in the fan-favorite, remotely northwestern Italian locale of Val d’Aosta.
Yesterday saw the medical tests completed. Now here’s what went down today:
This morning saw the squad, still minus the 10 players involved on summer international duty, undergo a series of fitness checks devised by the Mapei Research Center.
Three different types of tests were taken: the Mignoni, CMJ and HIT. The first, which detects the buildup of lactic acid, involved the players running for six minutes at 13.5km/h. The second, used to calculate muscle quality and strength, saw the squad carry out a number of jumps on a piezoelectric platform. The third and final assessment, conducted to monitor recovery ability, consisted of ten repetitions of 25 metre sprints.
These examinations, which produce detailed reports for Conte and his backroom staff on the players’ individual levels of fitness, will be repeated on several occasions throughout the 2013/14 campaign.
Our Italian champions will be in the Chatillon/Saint Vincent area from this Friday, July 12 through the 22, an engagement which will be followed by their US tour.
Here, courtesy of the Mothership, are the main events for the Val d’Aosta trip:
Juventus are gearing up for the start of an intense pre-season programme which officially gets underway with the team’s first training session on Friday 12 July at Chatillon’s Stadio Brunod.
Traditionally afforded a rapturous reception throughout ten days of open training sessions in Val d’Aosta, Antonio Conte’s men will also have the opportunity to treat their adoring public to a fully-fledged workout, with a friendly arranged in the neighbouring town of Saint Vincent on Wednesday 17 July.
This first test of the season will subsequently be followed by the TIM Trophy, a traditional pre-season three-way tournament which, for the first time in its history, will be held at Reggio Emilia’s Stadio Città del Tricolore. Juventus will play two 45-minute matches against Milan and newly-promoted Sassuolo on Tuesday 23 July.
You’ll remember from a previous episode that Sassuolo are filling in at the TIM Trophy for cop-outs Inter, who are citing an unreasonably packed preseason schedule for their absence, but who simply are trying to hedge their bets for winning the Scudetto by avoiding the dreaded TIM Curse — either that, or they are simply the Italian equivalents of “scaredy cats” (gatti spaventati?). I believe in both theories.
But let’s steer this conversation back to winners: Juve are only days away from starting what we hope will be another peninsula-conquering campaign, and — dare we hope — some European glory thrown in for good measure.
It all starts here (or there, technically)!
Ogbonna to Juve, Part 6 (At Least): Seriously, What the Hell?
When will this transfer finally go through?
Last week, all reports indicated that Angelo Ogbonna’s arrival at Juve was beyond imminent. The press are saying the exact same thing today. In fact, they’re claiming Angelo will sign this very day. So what’s the holdup?
Well, within the past week, two things have happened: Napoli attempted to hijack the deal with a €15 million offer, and Genoa rightfully held onto their half of Ciro Immobile, once a pillar of the Juve-Torino deal.
Now various Italian media suggest that Marotta has apparently weathered both the Nap attack and the Genoa stall, and that Juve and Torino are working on a revised deal. Beppe’s success may have had something to do with reports of a last-minute Bianconeri flirtation with old defensive standbys Andrea Ranocchia and Davide Astori, but in any case, the deal is still on.
However, the details of the revised deal are very murky at present. La Gazzetta claim that the two sides are about €1 million apart. Meanwhile, Football Italia are claiming that the two sides are close to sealing a deal for €12 million, plus an additional €3 million in performance-related bonuses. The problem is that Football Italia are citing Tuttosport for their source, and if you’ve learned anything from this column, it’s not to trust Tuttosport.
The deal’s subplot, the co-ownership of Ciro Immobile, is also unresolved. There apparently exist two deals: one with Genoa’s cooperation (money and Ciro) and one without. It seems likely that Juve and Torino will negotiate a separate deal with Immobile and Genoa in order to get this Ogbonna business settled.
As mentioned above, the media are confident that the deal will be finished today. We’ll believe it when we make it official next episode.
More on this as it develops, sadly.
Jovetic Still Hanging onto Juve Hopes!
We move from one interminable deal to another running on Montenegrin fumes.
Stevan Jovetic very much wants to play for Juve — that much is clear. You don’t enrage an entire fanbase by stating a preference for their hated rivals unless you’re sincere.
And by all accounts, Juve would love to have him. Unfortunately, our friends at Fiorentina want cash or nothing, despite the financial furies they’ve unleashed by agreeing to pay Bayern Munich between €16-20 million for Mario Gomez.
Here’s Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle threatening — I mean speaking — on Mediaset Premium, via Football Italia:
They can give us €30 million cash or nothing at all. Otherwise, we’ll give him to someone else. It’s time to understand whether Juve have the money or not. I think they do. We will not accept players in part-exchange.
We won’t wait much longer…
This is either a colossal bluff on the Viola’s part (and if so it’s a dangerous one, vis-à-vis their recent expensive purchase), or more likely a visceral repulsion at the prospect of compromising with Juve.
To be fair, the Viola must be sick of having players thrown at them. In their attempts to lower the price to €20 million, Juve have offered a pretty good five-a-side squad at Fiorentina in the past month or so, from young Luca Marrone to Mauricio Isla, through Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella and now Marco Storari. So far, nothing has stuck.
It’s hard to figure out who has leverage here. Manchester City’s reported interest in Jovetic may fall anywhere on the spectrum from speculative to serious, while Juve’s constant bartering has certainly indicated a lower (i.e. sane) evaluation of Jo-Jo’s talents.
What I can say is that, next to the Ogbonna business, this relatively lame Mexican standoff for Jovetic is downright riveting. And who knows? Maybe somehow this deal goes down — whether Juve overspend or Fiorentina compromise — and the Bianconeri end up taking their second big risk of the summer mercato.
You can’t say we’re not trying this summer. Unless you’re Andrea Della Valle…
Juve Make Gabbiadini-Zaza Deal with Sampdoria
Bear with us now: Yesterday, the Bianconeri finalized two deals with Sampdoria, neither of which will see the player in question at Juve this year. Which is a good thing.
The first deal, finally finished after a few months of colossally boring back-and-forth, sees Juve buy out Atalanta for the other half the rights to promising 21-year-old striker Manolo Gabbiadini, only to sell that newly acquired half to Sampdoria.
Here are the details, courtesy of Juve’s official press release:
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that it has terminated in its favour the current player sharing agreement with Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio S.p.A. (ex art. 102 bis N.O.I.F.) concerning the registration rights of the player Manolo Gabbiadini. The sum for the termination has been set at € 5.5 million to be paid by Juventus in 3 years.
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces the disposal to U.C. Sampdoria S.p.A. of the registration rights of the same player for a consideration of €11 million to be paid in 3 years. At the same time, Juventus and Sampdoria signed a player sharing agreement (ex art. 102 bis N.O.I.F.) related to the same player for a consideration of €5.5 million to be paid by Juventus in 3 years.
This is a standard “smart piece of business” for Juve, as they can thus watch Gabbiadini either succeed or fail with Sampdoria on a yearly or even half-yearly basis, all the while reserving the option to either negotiate a loan during the co-ownership term (thus sharing him) or eventually even buy Manolo outright, should Conte, Marotta and co. believe he can cut it at Juve.
The second deal concerns 22-year old attaccante Simone Zaza, who scored 18 goals in 35 appearances while on loan to Ascoli last season from Sampdoria. He’s been sent to newly Serie A-promoted Sassuolo on a similar co-ownership agreement, with similar language involved:
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces the agreement with U.C. Sampdoria S.p.A. for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Simone Zaza for a consideration of €3.5 million to be paid in 3 years.
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces the disposal to U.S. Sassuolo Calcio S.r.l. of the registration rights of the same player for a consideration of €5 million to be paid in 3 years. At the same time, Juventus and Sassuolo signed a player sharing agreement (ex art. 102 bis N.O.I.F.) related to the same player for a consideration of €2.5 million to be paid by Juventus in 3 years.
Another shrewd signing, especially if Zaza can make good on the undeniable promise of those 18 goals for Ascoli. If not, Juve are still making a profit from his registration rights (a player can only be registered to one team, hence the separation of registration rights and co-ownership concepts and the subsequent flow of cash in both directions).
In any case, welcome, Simone, to Juve’s official This Could Be You Someday! Program. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Manolo, you already know the ropes. Just don’t let Samp pull a Bologna and play you out of position this year.
Strike, strikers, strike!
Ogbonna and Jovetic may be standing still, but otherwise the word of the week is “movement.” We’ve got players moving, season tickets going, going, gone, and Real Madrid putting the moves on everyone.
- Following an impressive Confederations Cup, Emanuele Giaccherini has a potential suitor in Sunderland, who according to La Gazzetta dello Sport have offered Juve enough money (€10 million) to force Marotta not only to listen, but to start serious negotiations. Say it ain’t so! It would be difficult enough for Juve to lose such a loyal, tireless player, but more importantly… who’s going to illustrate our articles? Priorities, Giacch!
- According to some translations, Arturo Vidal recently claimed that despite his allegiance to Juve, any player would be “seduced” by the siren song of Real Madrid. Watch out, Arturo: They’ve seduced A LOT of players. Sometimes Florentino Perez gets ‘em two at a time! Seriously, Real Madrid is the Wilt Chamberlain of soccer clubs. Not so attractive now, right? Maybe even a bit dirty?
- Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are all competing with Juve for the right to overpay for Stevan Jovetic. Now it comes down to who Fiorentina want to stick it to the most… suck it, Premier League!
- 20-year-old defender Alberto Masi, he who mightily impressed last preseason before going on loan to Pro Vercelli, has now been sent to Umbrian Serie B outfit Ternana in a co-ownership agreement that will net Juve around €1.2 million this season. Just think, Alberto: If you play you’re cards right, you could once again subject yourself to our harsh, sometimes unreasonable criticism. Eyes on the prize!
- Our new No. 10 has reportedly been told to lose some weight. And so the Conte-Tevez love affair begins…
- Juve are reporting that all 26,000 season tickets have sold out for the upcoming season, which includes a staggering 92% of ticket holders from last season who have opted to renew. Excellent. Another year of replicating the ninth circle of Hell for opposing teams—maybe the seventh if it’s a Coppa Italia match.
- So long, Nicklas Bendtner. Gone to Frankfurt to hit on unsuspecting German girls and score no goals.
Away Kits Officially Unveiled
It’s a pretty badly kept secret: We’re used to knowing the design of both home and away jerseys well in advance of their official unveilings.
So today’s (mild) surprise is the shorts: they’re blue!
And, as usual with Juve, the yellow-and-blue scheme carries historical echoes:
The elegant yellow shirt and blue shorts combo provides a fitting nod to the past, worn by Bianconeri legend and inspirational captain Gaetano Scirea when he lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup in Basel on 16 May 1984.
Whilst every effort has been made to keep with tradition – yellow and blue are also the colours associated with the city of Turin – this year’s new away kit is modern in appearance and features an impressive attention to detail.
The shirt collar, black and white in colour, bears an inscription of the club’s year of foundation, 1897, along with a Scudetto symbol to mark Juventus’ status as defending champions.
The shirt is complimented by blue shorts featuring a yellow swoosh on the left leg, while the socks match the shirt’s yellow colour.
In addition to the design, Juve were quick to stress not the athletic performance specs of the shirt, as they have in previous years, but rather the environmentally conscious manufacturing process:
Through extensive research, Nike is committed to producing merchandise designed to both enhance player performance and reduce the impact its operations have on the environment.
These principles are also applied to Juventus’ new kit. The shirt and shorts are both made from 100% recycled polyester, with each kit removing 13 plastic bottles from landfills, reducing energy consumption by 30% compared to manufacturing virgin polyester.
The new away jersey goes on sale tomorrow online and in all Nike and Juve stores. JuventiKnows’ Consumer Bureau has been told that they will not honor any “ironic retro requests for customized Nicklas Bendtner shirts.”
Buon Compleanno, Gianluca!
A very happy birthday to former Juventus captain Gianluca Vialli, who turned 49 yesterday. These days, we may seemingly only hear from him whenever Juve and Chelsea meet (admittedly quite a bit), but he has certainly never left the collective memory of the Ju-niverse.
The official site was more effusive than usual in offering their best wishes, coming up with a pretty inspiring ode to Vialli’s talismanic effect on those old Juve squads:
The Bianconeri fans will always remember Gianluca Vialli’s determination against Fiorentina in 1996, scoring twice to level a match that seemed finished, but by no means stopping there. While a lesser man might have sat back to bask in the glory of what he had achieved, Vialli was not finished: he rallied the troops, and minutes later a magical goal from Alessandro Del Piero made history of his efforts.
He was a great leader of men, a player whose 53 goals in 145 appearances brought five trophy victories to the club: a UEFA Cup, a Scudetto title, a Coppa Italia and an Italian Super Cup as well as his Champions League win.
Gianluca has had many memorable moments in a Bianconeri shirt, but chief amongst them was his contribution to Juventus’ victory in the UEFA Champions League of 1996. He captained the side to a win against Ajax in the final after dominant performances throughout the tournament campaign.
Vialli remains an idol to the Bianconeri faithful, and all associated with Juventus Football Club wish him many happy returns.
As do we here at STTBS. Tanti auguri, sir!
Boniperti at 85
And finally: While we were away towards the end of last week, Juve legend Giampiero Boniperti turned 85 years old.
Like Scirea, like Del Piero, Boniperti is that rare breed of Juventino whose contributions transcend even his famous exploits on the pitch, resulting in a legacy that moves past history into myth. And of course, he is still making contributions to today’s Juve, in both a professional and inspirational capacity (just reread the inside of your jersey collar).
Check out the official site’s photo tribute to the great man, an elegant montage perfectly befitting our prolific goalscorer, captain and bandiera.
Buon compleanno, Signore!
That’s all for today. Check back here for more transfer updates and preseason news. Who knows — we may even land an Ogbonna or Jovetic one of these days.
Ciao for now!
[STTBS]: Juventus News is a daily feature where the JuventiKnows editorial team discusses the JuveNews stories you need to read, without the “Messi signs for Juve on loan thanks to Nike” kind of nonsense. What does [STTBS] mean? You’ll have to guess that for yourself. We wouldn’t tell you even under pain of torture… (though we do take bribes)