Juventus Club Focus: Juve, Once Again, Shows Class Against Lazio
I have to admit even I did not see this coming. Yeah, Juventus had beaten Lazio 4-0 only weeks prior to this match, but come on, Lazio are not going to lose to Juve like that twice in a row, right? Right?
Ok, so maybe I overestimated Lazio, because Juve just embarrassed them. Arturo Vidal (with two goals) put Lazio out of the match within half an hour, as he has to so many other Serie A sides, and from there it just kept going.
Lazio did have one nice moment, where Miroslav Klose finally scored against Juventus. Klose, who has been so clinical for Lazio at times, had up until then failed to scored against Juventus.
Aside from that, it was not a fun match for the Laziale. Even ex-Roma man, Mirko Vucinic (and as we’ve seen with Stephan Lichtsteiner’s interactions with Roma, these rivalries tend to transfer over with certain players, especially ones as fiery as Lichtsteiner or as mercurial as Vucinic) scored seemingly without effort, as he ran past his marker and calmly slid the ball past Federico Marchetti.
Vucinic later came off for Fabio Quagliarella, winner of the Juventus Striker Battle Royale (against Alessandro Matri), in a move that seems to signal that Quagliarella is staying at Juve to be a depth striker.
For Juventus the match was capped off with a Carlos Tevez goal, who has seemingly become Juve’s surefire scorer. Tevez, with his bulldog like approach (just kidding) has been the headliner of what has been a somewhat subtle but altogether genius mercato. Juve only brought three players in, but the club has made some incredibly shrewd moves.
For starters, one of the three newcomers is a free transfer, I am of course speaking of Fernando Llorente.While his wages are pretty high for the team, the team saved themselves a fine amount of money by not needing to exercise a purchase price. Then there are the purchases of Tevez and Angelo Ogbonna. Ogbonna was the most expensive, at €13 million, but with that money Juventus bought itself a proven Serie A centerback to eventually replace Andrea Barzagli (as he has in the Azzurri squad as Barzagli has pulled out due to tendonitis.)
At first the Tevez purchase (€12 million if all bonuses are paid out in full) seemed like a good bargain, but now with Matri joining Milan for almost the same amount, the transfer is a down right steal. I like Matri even more than the next guy, but he’s not one million euros less skilled than Tevez is, the gap is much bigger. There were other sales, some upsetting for Juventini, but all smart moves financially.
Emanuele Giaccherini had become a talisman of sorts for Conte’s Juve, but his sale allowed the club to strengthen itself financially without really harming themselves on the pitch. Then there is the sale of Felipe Melo, who was a drain on Juve’s finances for two full seasons as he was loaned out and the club found themselves unable to sell him permanently. That was a nice move for Beppe Marotta, who at times has struggled to unload players. It seems he has unloaded that reputation this summer, in addition to a few players.
The club also sent out promising young striker Richmond Boakye out on loan to Spanish side Elche. I was hoping to see Boakye with a Serie A side, perhaps Sassuolo, but it was not to be and I am sure he will score a fine amount of goals in Spain. Speaking of Sassuolo, they are no co-owners of midfielder/centerback Luca Marrone, who has joined the side as per the agreement and will (hopefully) finally get some meaningful playing time.
The club will be able to truly test this new side in a few weeks, when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League. They drew Real, Galatasary, and FC Copenhagen in their group. It’s a nice draw for Juve, as they will probably go through without issue and have the chance to upstage Real Madrid. Of course, they can also blow it as Galatasary are a tough side and last season the club struggled for the first half of the group stage. At the very least, we will get to see another chapter in a Champions League rivalry that has birthed some great matches in the past.