As a Juve fan, this past week has seen my attention not focused on June 6th, but whether or not one of our favored bianconero will still be at the Vinovo next season.
My first instincts are the same as any true fan – PLEASE STAY! However the more I dwell on this, the more it makes sense.
Juventus signed Vidal from Bayern Leverkusen with the vision of a ball-winning midfielder – an athlete more than a footballer to fit into Conte’s, at the time, desired high tempo 4-2-4 system – despite this it is worth noting that Vidal was Leverkusen’s leading assist provider that previous season. But like everything else teams, tactics, ideas and players evolve.
Pirlo’s renaissance in Turin saw him become the focal point of the team as Vidal adopted a box-to-box role tirelessly contributing in attack and defence.
My reaction to Max Allegri’s appointment as successor to Conte was the aligned with every other fan’s – “How could they appoint a man who was stupid enough to allow the world’s best playmaker to join their fiercest rival?” A move that saw Milan knocked off their perch and Juventus leap from 7th in consecutive years to champions that very season. This feeling lasted about 60 minutes before I realised what could and would unfold.
Any thoughts of a grudge between our best player and new manager were banished by the professionalism of both. And in reality it was Milan’s directors who were most at fault in the whole saga.
For years I have been hoping for Juventus to abandon their 3-5-2 – A system that is great for reactive football but one that’s lacking in a pro-active sense – See our upcoming blog article "3-5-2: Understanding it and how it is effective”. Allegri’s appointment meant my dreams of a diamond midfield or a X-mas tree system were now a reality.
Vidal is by no means a traditional Trequartista. Whenever have you seen a Zidane, Totti, Rui Costa and all the rest, run and tackle with the ferocity of Vidal? Never is your answer.
Vidal is a much more modern attacking midfielder – a dynamic footballer and one perfectly aligned with the evolution of football. Playmakers are dropping deeper and deeper and the fantasia that drifts between the lines of midfield and attack has all but disappeared – the only traces of it are seen in Complete Forwards such as Ibrahimovic or the magician that is Messi – who somehow performs that role without the physical dimensions of Zlatan.
Vidal’s technical and goal scoring ability combined with his natural strength in winning possession is most valuable further up the field, high in the opponents half – it’s only logical that he is placed there. His desire and energy to make late runs into the box along with his power makes him a force to be reckoned with in the air, despite his relatively small stature. And at age 28, he is about to enter his peak.
Here in lies the dilemma for Juventus – how do you replace that? Sami Khedira, also 28, signing for Juventus on a free transfer is all but a formality at the moment and represents another major coop for the bianconeri. Fallen out of favour at Real Madrid, nonetheless he was key in Germany’s world cup triumph.
Whilst he does not have the characteristics to play behind the strikers, Paul Pogba does.
Pogba is a technical marvel and one of the best physiques in football. He represents an even more complete midfielder than King Arturo. I have no doubts that as an attacking midfield role he has the potential to win the Ballon D’Or.
Mino Raiola, the master-agent who had sold the world the idea that Balotelli was a good player, has already expressed his desire to see his client play further up the field knowing he will score enough goals that even Michele Platini will consider him a “superstar”.
Despite this, I am still hesitant to see El Guerrero leave. But football is a business at the end of the day.
Whilst it is important for players to remain at a club as a symbol - one who represents their values, the reality is you can’t hold on to too many. Take Milan 2003 – 07 for example. Maldini, Nesta, Ambrosini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf - all club legends and each loved by all, from directors to the fans.
It is hard to say goodbye to a footballer and especially one that us beloved and at the peak of their powers but had Milan sold Gattuso, Pirlo and Seedorf after their 2007 UEFA Champions League triumph for commanding fees, they wouldn’t be in the predicament they’re faced with now.
This has been Juventus’ key to their success of the late 90s to early 2000s. Signing good players such as Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Baggio, Paulo Sousa and all the rest, turning them into world beaters and selling them off has been Juventus’ ethos.
Make no mistake, Juventus do not buy world class, they make it – something they forgot when they felt they signed finished articles in Diego and Felipe Melo.
As heartbreaking as it is for the fans, continual revolution is key to long term success. Pirlo and Buffon are at stages where their abilities far outweigh their market values. They must stay till the day they decide to leave the game. Marchisio and Chiellini are two of the clubs longest serving players and future captains, they also will stay.
As for Bonucci, Morata, Lichtsteiner and even Pogba; there will be a time where Juve will have submit to the highest bidder.
At the present, a transfer fee of €45 million would represent a good profit for Juventus and an acquisition for Arsenal that would, in my eyes see them win the premier league. A great purchase considering Mesut Ozil went to Arsenal for +€60 million as a Real Madrid cast away.