While Juventus have seen Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and most recently Arturo Vidal leave for greener pastures, the revolution at the club is a necessary one for future success.
For the second time in two years, July 15th was just a horrible day for Juventus fans. Last year, Antonio Conte announced his resignation while yesterday reports from Italy emerged that the club sold Arturo Vidal to Bayern Munich for €40m. On the surface, the idea of selling one of the club’s crucial players to a European powerhouse is baffling. When you think about it, however, it may not be the worst idea ever. While Vidal is certainly one of the best players in the Serie A, the Italian giants are in a good position to replace him. Ironically enough, Massimiliano Allegri’s side are learning from their arch rivals, Inter’s, previous mistakes. After Inter won the treble back in 2010, a few of their players left and the nerazzurri failed to replace them adequately. As a result of this, Inter went trophy-less in the next season and their decline slowly unfolded before the eyes of the calcio world. That’s why it’s quite funny to think that the bianconeri are avoiding failure by looking at Inter despite being sworn enemies for the last decade or so. Here’s how they’re going about doing this.
For one, 2014-2015 Juventus and Inter’s treble-winning side are similar in many ways. Out of the eleven players who played in the 2010 Champions League final for Inter, a majority of them were on the wrong side of thirty or very near thirty year’s old. Following their historic win, there was a need to rejuvenate the side. Unfortunately, the nerazzurri completely ignored this and opted to only make a few acquisitions. Moreover, Inter also handed the team’s older players lengthy renewals tying them down to the club for the foreseeable future. This would prove to be a fatal mistake as the team struggled immensely in the following season and did not win a title. In the next few seasons, the situation at the club only got worse and their demise intensified. Since the 2011-2012 season, Inter are yet to finish in a Champions League spot and have floated around in the mid-table more than anything. A large part of this can be attributed to their lack of activity following the treble win and due to the contract renewals of the club’s older, senators.
Juventus, on the other hand, looked at Inter’s mistakes from 2010 and decided not to commit the same ones. After winning the double and reaching the Champions League final with a similar set of players to Inter, Juventus immediately took to the transfer market to re instill hunger into the team. With the transfer window barely open, the bianconeri signed Paulo Dybala, Simone Zaza, Daniele Rugani, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Neto. Furthermore, they sold Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and most recently Arturo Vidal. When a team wins everything, or should I say almost everything, the desire to win is significantly reduced. Legendary Juventus and Italy manager Marcello Lippi, once said that winning cycles in football take place over three years. At the end of three years, the cycle must be renewed with a new set of players. While Juventus proved that they can extend the cycle for another year, they are no exemption to the rule. As a result of this, they decided to significantly reduce the average age of the side and change the core of the team. The departures of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez clearly bring down the quality in the side but Juventus have done an impressive job at replacing them. Let’s take a look.
In Mandzukic, Zaza and Dybala, the Italian champions have ensured that they don’t feel all the effects of Tevez’ departure. By bringing in an experienced player like Sami Khedira, a younger player like Stefano Sturaro still gets the leadership that he needs without having Pirlo in the team. Furthermore, Claudio Marchisio will likely take Pirlo’s spot in the team. Vidal’s departure, however, is a bit trickier. The Chilean is among the very best midfielders in the world and it will be an uphill battle to find someone like him. Ever since his transfer has been announced, Juventus have been linked to a plethora of attacking midfielders and Porto’s Alex Sandro. The arrival of Porto’s left back would allow Kwadwo Asamoah to be deployed into his preferred midfield role and could soften the blow of Vidal’s departure. In addition to this, the bianconeri have been linked with players like Julian Draxler, Isco and Chelsea’s Oscar. Should one of them arrive at the club with Porto’s Alex Sandro, Vidal leaving to Bayern Munich isn’t the end of the world. Especially, for the reported €40m fee.
While Juventus have been proactive in the market to replace the team’s pillars, Inter never fully replaced their side’s top players. When Diego Milito, Wesley Sneijder, Walter Samuel and Maicon among others, all eventually left the team, they not only lost plenty of quality, but a host of leadership. Due to this, it was no surprise when Inter faltered and failed to return to their past heights. Juventus, by contrast, did not sit back and already begin the team’s revolution with a host of new signings. They also ensured future success with the signings of talented, younger players like Domenico Berardi, Daniele Rugani, Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro. This can only bode well for the team long-term while not necessarily reducing the side’s chances of winning in the near future as the blend of youth and experience is still there.
The saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, applies wonderfully to Juventus and Inter. The Turin-based giants have learned a lot from Inter’s treble winning team. For one, Juventus renewed the team’s hunger with a number of signings. In addition to this, they added quality youngsters to the core of the team and did not offer lengthy renewals to the club’s older players. They have instead, offered renewals to Leonardo Bonucci and Claudio Marchisio ensuring the well-being of the team for quite some time. Despite selling Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, and Carlos Tevez, the club has taken steps forward to gear up for the afterlife. If Inter had acted similarly, they may not be in a position today where they must spend significantly to compete once again. In many ways, like it or not, Juventus of 2015, are the anti-Inter of 2010.