Blog Written by John Baldino (@ThaGreatBaldino):
In 1984 the world of football had stopped, football fans from all across the world witnessed the world record fee for a football player broken. Diego Maradona, the world-class goal scoring machine had transferred from powerhouse F.C. Barcelona to Napoli for a fee of almost €6 million. At the time this fee was sought out to be an towering amount and unheard of in the past. The past transfer records were immensely lower, millions lower in fact. This transfer in specific had opened up a door for the future of football that not many people would have predicted.
In today's game we see astronomical prices for players being sent out and received by clubs all across the world. Players such as Alexandre Lacazette of Olympique Lyon, John Stones and Leroy Sané of Man City, Paul Pogba of Man United, and many more have all been bought and priced at tens of millions of euros, all supposedly worth about 10 times more than what Diego Maradona was worth during his prime. Now, everyone can agree that Diego Maradona is one of, if not the best, football players of all time along with a few others. Maradona did things for club and country no one does today yet these players are worth more than his talent. Yes, the influx of money into the game from multiple deals, sales, and everything in between has an effect, but when is enough, enough? I don’t intend in any shape or form that these players don’t have any talent, all of these players are fantastic and would love them to be apart of my team, but I think the pricing of these players is a little off and many agree.
Another players such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Neymar, James Rodriguez, and dozens more throughout recent years have also gone for insane amounts of money. Many can ‘argue’ that these players deserve that type of fee due to their play, but did they really? The game is all about money and teams will pour the money on these players simply because they have it and they will do anything in order to win a trophy. As bidding wars begin more and more money is thrown back and forth simply for a single man, when this money could be used for scouting and youth systems for homegrown players. If money will be continued to be poured into football like this homegrown legends such as Francesco Totti will be a thing of the past, and the transfer market will continue to rule the game. So when will clubs and their owners realize it doesn't take all the money in the world to win a title?
Blog Written by Joseph Pizziferri (@_joepiz):
Well, it has certainly been a busy transfer period in Serie A this summer. Pjanic to Juventus. Higuain to Juventus. Dani Alves to Juventus. Benatia to Juventus. You get the point, Juventus is loaded and expected to win their 6th straight Scudetto with some ease. Even with the loss of Paul Pogba, who mercifully ended the #Pogback saga this week, and Real Madrid's shrewd buy-back of Morata, many experts see this squad as better equipped to win the Champions League this campaign. However, is this reality?
I'll grant you the Scudetto should be wrapped up. The Bianconeri weakened both their closest rivals from a year ago in poaching Pjanic from Roma and Higuain from Napoli. Inter has made some positive changes, but coaching turmoil just weeks before the season doesn't make closing the huge gap with Juve very likely. Fiorentina was another team in contention last year while Juve started off slow. Unfortunately, La Viola has not made any additions of note to make them anything more than a Europa League spot qualifier. The Champions League argument is where it gets interesting for the club from Turin.
The fact remains only 11 can play at a time. It is not a given the projected starting XI is better suited for a deep Champions League run than last year, or better than the side who lost, a closer than the scoreboard suggests, 3-1 final to Barcelona a year prior. The backline, with or without Benatia, is very stout as always. Once again, Juventus have a multitude of options at midfield for their preferred 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 formations. Dani Alves probably takes over on the right for Cuadrado while also rotating with Lichtsteiner. If Marchisio and Khedira stay healthy they'll join Pjanic in the central midfield. Now, is this much of an improvement from Lichsteiner/Pirlo/Marchisio/Pogba/Vidal or Lichsteiner/Khedira/Pogba/Marchisio/Cuadrado? Personally, I'll take the 2014/2015 group with Vidal every time.
Now here is probably where you say "but they added Higuain". Yes, acquiring the man who broke the single season goal record in Serie A is undoubtedly a positive. Mandzukic never seemed to fit comfortably, similarly to how he didn't flourish at Atletico either before joining Juventus. Dybala paired with Morata was always the more dangerous attacking option. With that in mind, the addition of Higuain should be looked upon as a Morata replacement. In the biggest games Morata was always one to shine. Whether he received the start or off the bench he delivered when it mattered. Can the same be said for Higuain? Of course Higuain is a fantastic finisher, but his track record in clutch spots leaves a lot to be desired, just ask Messi. Ask yourself this question - with a game on the line which Argentinian would you want taking a penalty - Higuain or Tevez? Tevez never backed down for Juventus on the march to the UCL Final in 2015, not so sure Gonzalo has the same backbone.
When we look back, the 2014/2015 Juventus squad just might be the one we look back on as being their best of the decade.
Blog Written by Lucas D'Orazio:
Juventus will now enter the 2016-2017 season without their star midfielder Paul Pogba, who has now joined Manchester United for a world-record fee of €105 million. Before Juventus start the new season they should not bat an eye at the young midfield talent they already have. They should follow this three-step process.
Step 1: Juventus should acquire only “one” more player. If they sign anymore players without selling then they won't get to exploit any of their young talents and give them more playing time. In my opinion, they should sign either one of these three players to hold down the midfield: Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, Ivan Rakitic from Barcelona or Blaise Matuidi from PSG. All three of these players are perfectly capable of doing great things at the club and can hold down that midfield.
Step 2: Juventus have a few good younger players they need to help get better. Pogba came to Juventus being surrounded by great talent like Vidal, Pirlo and Marchisio in the midfield that helped him grow as a player and become even better. Now Juventus need to make sure they keep their new younger talents of Mario Lemina, Stefano Sturaro and Roberto Pereyra who haven't hit their peak yet. They are all now surrounded by great players like Marchisio, Khedira,and the newest player in the midfield Pjanic. Giving these young players some more playing time this season and helping develop them one of them might be the next Pogba like player.
Step 3: In my opinion Juventus should develop a new formation to accompany the new players and concepts for the team to move forward. I believe a 3-3-2-2 would work best for this team. It keeps Buffon and BBC at the back, allows for Khedira to hold the central midfield while also having Dani Alves and Alex Sandro playing the wide midfield positions that Juventus love so much. Marchisio and Pjanic can play the central attacking rolls is very smart because it allows both to create chances for the forwards and take long shots outside the box which they are both prolific at. And of course Higuain and Dybala starting up top filling the two striker positions.
If Juventus can continue to develop their young talent, find the right addition to the midfield, pick the right formation, then the Old Lady will have another successful football campaign this upcoming season.
Blog Written by Alex Ramos (@AlexRamosATR):
This is a 2016-17 Serie A season preview look at the top 3 teams to keep an eye on. With the Serie A season just over a week away this is bound to be an exciting season both domestically and internationally. Many transfer deals will have an impact on the league this year. New teams will be given new tests in Europe. Juventus, Napoli and Sassuolo will be the most entertaining teams to watch.
Juventus: The Italian Champions look to challenge for their 35th league title, which would be their sixth in a row. They are also searching for the highly coveted Champions League title. Juventus signed the best goal scorer in Serie A last season, Gonzalo Higuain, whose fitness has been highly scrutinized. 21-year-old Marko Pjaca has been brought in from Dinamo Zagreb and it looks as though he has immense potential. The Bianconeri also signed central midfielder Miralem Pjanic from Roma after triggering his release clause. Medhi Benatia and Dani Alves have come in to add even more depth and experience to the squad. The veterans such as Buffon, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini and Marchisio will all return for another season with the Old Lady.
Napoli: Napoli finished 2nd last year and will return to the Champions League with a chip on their shoulder ready to prove themselves. Napoli have brought in Polish youngsters Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski who look to be promising prospects. Utility man, Emanuele Giaccherini has also been brought in from Sunderland. Giaccherini impressed many with his performance for the Italian squad during Euro 2016. With the departure of Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne will be called upon as well as Manolo Gabbiadini to score goals as proficiently as Higuain did in the previous season. Slovakian international and center midfielder Marek Hamsik has renewed his contract until 2020, which should provide hope for Napoli fans. Ultimately, Napoli will be looking to impress in European competition.
Sassuolo: Eusebio Di Francesco's team that will look to prove themselves in Europe as they will be competing in the Europa league. Sassuolo are a very young team known for performing well in important matches. Although they are not favorites to win the Europa league, Sassuolo could go much further than others expect. Sassuolo are an all around promising team but have not been very active during the transfer window. Although, they did sell Nicola Sansone to Villarreal for €14 million so they may be signing a replacement. Sassuolo’s youth and unpredictability makes them dangerous opposition that will not be underestimated. Expect continued success from Sassuolo this season.