Are Juventus in danger of being victims of their own success?
We explore the direction Juventus are going, and what they need to do in order to achieve more success.
Juventus are the most successful Italian club in the 21st century. They won the Serie A for the 5th consecutive season, equalling their own record (1930-31 to 1934-35). It's a huge achievement for any club to win the league title for 5 successive seasons, especially when you consider that they went undefeated for the 2011-12 season.
The Bianconeri have had their ups and downs as they were relegated to the second division at the end of the 2005-06 season after being found guilty of match fixing in the Calciolpoli scandal. But, they bounced back in the very next year, and have been on a steady rise culminating with their 5 Scudetti.
The Old Lady have won 9 trophies in their last 5 years averaging almost 2 trophies per season. Also they have finished as runners-up on 3 occasions, including the Champions League final in 2015. Considering the situation that Italian football is in at the moment, their success is worthy of being praised.
Antonio Conte the man behind the success of Juventus – guiding them to a hat trick of league titles - left the club to manage the Italian national team, and Massimiliano Allegri was chosen to replace him.
The appointment raised a few doubts but after the completion two seasons now, the decision has proven to be the correct one. Allegri didn't change the philosophy, but rather added on to it, and has made Juve into one of Europe's strongest side.
Despite a lack of huge financial backing the Bianconeri have become one of Europe's most formidable forces, even with Andrea Pirlo, Alturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez all leaving after the 2014-15 season.
Though Juve had a few hiccups during the start of the 2015-16 season, but they managed to fight back and reclaimed the Scudetto with 3 games to spare. But by achieving so much success in recent years are they heading in the right direction?
The Turin club have one of the best squads in Europe. In the 2014-15 season they were able to knock out the defending champions Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League against all odds. Even this past season, they was close to eliminating Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, but eventually lost in the extra time. They have showed the spirit of champions against Europe's elite.
This is in no small part because The Old Lady have a squad with an abundance of experience. But as each coin has two sides to it, they might be concerned as to how long can they survive with this ageing squad. Though they have a few young and emerging players in their side, most of their core players are either above 30 or close to it.
Juve need to bring in some young blood to rejuvenate the squad. Though the likes of Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata and Daniele Rugani have a bright future and might become amongst the world's best someday, Juve might find themselves in a similar situation to that of Manchester United if they aren’t able to bring in new talent.
Most of the older players they do not have an ideal successor in places. The likes of Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, Pirlo and Marchisio might be legends, but Juve need to find their replacements if they are to continue their success.
Every club has its own transfer policy. Clubs like Real Madrid, Paris St. Germain and Chelsea like to buy established players by paying huge transfer fees. While there are some clubs who depend on their youth academy and invest in young players with potential instead.
Juventus have more or less a similar philosophy, as they tend to make very few big splashes in the transfer market. The club is financially sound but can't compete with the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona. Over the previous years, they have hardly made any big money signings. Players like Pirlo, Pogba, Khedira, Kingsley Coman and Evra have all joined on a free transfer.
Most of the players they have signed have been discarded by their previous clubs or are close to ending their careers. This shouldn't be a policy of any big club. But, it looks to continue as they’ve scooped up Dani Alves, signing another player on a free transfer who is above 30 years of age. Also the Old Lady have been linked with the signing ofJavier Mascherano from Barcelona, another player above 30 years of age.
The Bianconeri's transfer policy is focused on short term rewards which can be very dangerous. The average age of Juventus’ squad is 28.2 years while starting lineups average age is 29.5. They cannot sustain with this model, and might be in real trouble soon.
They seem to ignore these flaws in their transfer policy due to their current success. Considering that experience is necessary in any squad, they should try and assemble a team which has both youngsters and experienced players which will help and guide the youngsters.
Signings like Pogba and Dybala are what Juventus require now. Even though Dani Alves is a great player and maybe one of the best on his position, they should try and sign players who are young and have the potential to become one of world's best.
Last season Juventus were heavily linked with Julian Draxler but were priced out of the deal and he eventually went on to join Wolfsburg. Now, they are linked with players like Andre Gomes and Miralem Pjanic but considering their price tags, it doesn't look like Juventus will be able to buy them if big clubs like Manchester United or Bayern Munich join the chase.
Yes, they do not have the funds to challenge big clubs but they need to be intelligent in the market. They can invest more time and money into scouting, and attract young talents who want to improve their game and get minutes at the top level.
If Juventus want to improve their midfield and defence they should rather sign players like Riechedly Bazoer, Julian Brandt, Max Meyer and Bernardo Silva. These players wouldn't cost huge transfer fees and have a bright future. These players will like to play at a higher level and Juve can make their dreams come true.
Another key is to keep their core intact, as season after season their star players are linked with big moves to one of Europe's best clubs. It will be interesting to see if they can hold on to players like Pogba and Dybala in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Juventus should have a long term goal which can sustain them for years to come.