Khedira pleased to stay under Sarri

Sami Khedira was interviewed by Kicker and confirmed the rumours about him staying put: “I have the enthusiasm of a 20-year old and I feel fine physically. My goal is to play in the 80 percent of the games and won the three main titles with Juventus. I questioned myself, but I gave positive answers. My knee is okay, I am completely fit and I have faith in my physique.”

On Maurizio Sarri: “He wants a completely different football than Massimiliano Allegri, that is why we had some difficulties and we need time to adapt to the new system and find the right mechanisms, but it is a normal thing.” Continue reading

Brescia bring Balotelli back home

After three years, Mario Balotelli has returned in Serie A, as his hometown team Brescia managed to reach agreement with him after he left Olympique Marseille as a free agent, pipping Flamengo at the post. The 29-year-old striker reportedly agreed to a two-year contract, with an out-clause in case they get relegated, but also bonuses and an automatic extension if they do not. As a kid, Balotelli was adopted by a family from Palermo, which then quickly transferred near Brescia and played in the Lumezzane youth system before being noticed by Inter.

He is coming off three good years in Ligue 1, where he posted 43 goals in 76 games with Nice and then eight in 15 appearances with OM. As far as Serie A is concerned, he had his season in 2013/2014 at Milan, where he notched 13 goals in the domestic league alone. Continue reading

Ramsey and Sandro ready to begin and Pellegrini to Cagliari

Juventus finished off his pre-season last night with a 1-0 win over Triestina, where Paulo Dybala scored a gem and then missed a penalty. Aaron Ramsey finally managed to get on the pitch after skipping the previous friendlies due a hamstring issue and commented to Sky Sport: “I am very proud for my debut and very happy for the minutes I played. I can help the team now.”

“I am fine, I have recovered very well, now I can focus on improving to support my teammates. I am very pumped for this experience in a completely new League for me. Continue reading

Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap

It was a dull week as Italians do not bother working around the 15th of August, but Roma dominated the news in the last two days, announcing three extensions: Nicolò Zaniolo, Cengiz Under and Edin Dzeko. The first two were expected, as Zaniolo had been playing on a minimal contract after last summer’s move directly from Inter’s youth academy, and Under is a big part of the plan, while the third one came out of the blue since Dzeko has been long expected to move to Inter, but he will stick around instead, removing one end of the supposed strikers’ carousel. Continue reading

Chiellini impressed by De Ligt and Sarri

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini weighed in before and after the exhibition game at Villar Perosa, heaping high praise on Matthijs De Ligt: “He is a very capable guy and certainly I am not the first one to notice that. He was the most coveted defender in Europe and the officials worked very well to get him. He can grow and do well in the next few years. We signed important players that increase the value of the team, but everything goes through sacrifices and daily work. This is our goal now, we finally start to get serious because we are fed up with just friendlies and training sessions. We are the only ones in Europe that start the season so late.” Continue reading

Paratici keeps it close to the vest on the transfer market

Juventus main official Fabio Paratici talked to Sky Sport after the usual intra-squad friendly at Villar Perosa: “There are a lot of talks in these days of negotiations, but then not a lot of business really gets made. We are serene and confident. It is a great day to be here with our people, this is the Juventus equivalent of Christmas.”

On some players potentially on their way out: “The Champions League list has precise parameters and neither the coach or I can change that. We have just one local player this year compared to the previous ones, so we will have to let somebody go to have a 22-man squad. Marko Pjaca and Mattia Perin are unlikely to leave because of their long-term injuries, while Luca Pellegrini is headed to Cagliari.” Continue reading

Cristiano and Pjanic open up

Cristiano Ronaldo participated in a ‘Making Of’ documentary produced by DAZN that will soon fully released, in the meantime the platform has put out some excerpts: “I always give my maximum effort to win trophies with the team first and foremost, because I know those can lead to individual awards. That is your job, your everyday life. You wake up to practice with the goal of earning something. It is not for the money, which thankfully I no longer need. I want to earn my place in the history of football and win even more.” Continue reading

Danilo unveiled by Juventus

New right back Danilo, who joined from Manchester City in the Joao Cancelo deal, got introduced today by Juventus: “My first impressions were excellent, I was welcomed very warmly and I felt at ease right away. I want to give my best on the pitch.”

On Alex Sandro: “I talked to him several times during the process and it was very important to me, because he gave me positive indications about the day-to-day work here. It is nice to have a friend like him, we met ten years ago and we are very close. He will be helpful moving forward too.” Continue reading

Inter send Perisic to Bayern

After four years, Ivan Perisic’s time at Inter is over as the club accepted Bayern Munich’s offer: the winger will move on a €5M season-long loan with a €25M option to buy. All things considered, the 30-year-old Croatian international put up solid numbers with the Nerazzurri, logging 40 goals and 37 assists in 163 appearances, but he also cyclically went through lengthy scoring droughts and lackadaisical displays.

Perisic’s faith was quickly sealed this summer once new coach Antonio Conte realized that the he could not be used in the role he first envisioned for him, at left wing-back, but only as second-striker, but he would have been behind Lautaro Martinez and probably Matteo Politano too in such role, so he became expendable. Continue reading

The Summer of the Plusvalenza

The first time I ever heard of the word was while reading Luciano Moggi’s autobiography “Il Pallone lo Porto io” which in many ways is so fitting. Juventus’s notorious former sporting director used the terms “plusvalenza da urlo” (a capital gain to scream about) in two different chapters to describe the substantial positive financial impacts of selling both Zinedine Zidane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic while he was running the bBianconeri’s mercato before the Calciopoli scandal.

Because he had acquired the two legendary players for a bargain fee before they broke out on the international stage and kept them a few seasons in Turin, there was a substantial gain to be made even with Ibrahimovic who left for Inter at a below market value when Juventus were abruptly relegated. As many remember, the Zidane sale to Real Madrid brought in such a big pluslvalenza that Moggi was able to acquire Lilian Thuram, Gianluigi Buffon and Pavel Nedved with the proceeds.

So while the term “plusvalenza”- which is the amount a selling club earns above the remaining amortized value for a player they are moving to another team- has been around for a long time, it feels that this is the summer where even a Serie A fan who has no interest in accounting has finally heard about it.

While a plusvalenza has a positive impact on clubs’ bottom line, this summer it has often been used with a negative connotation. As a matter a fact, Plusvalenza FC is now competing with Piemonte Calcio as the new ironic way to refer to Juventus while both Roma and especially Inter have been accused of using creative accounting with their sales in an effort to use plusvalenze to meet their Financial Fair Play parameters (this is even more relevant when you consider that Chievo received a point deduction at the start of last season as punishment for a series of questionable plusvalenze with Cesena).

Moggi certainly was the Godfather of the plusvalenza, but the prime of his management career came in Serie A’s glory days when almost all teams were flush with cash. Nowadays between Financial Fair Play and most Italian clubs carrying substantial debts, plusvalenza is becoming an essential tool when it comes to survival and fielding competitive teams.

Juventus fans have seen the good and bad sides of plusvalenze in past two years. The club was essentially able to cover the cost of the transfer fee to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo by selling likes of Audero, Sturaro, Cerri and Mandragora to mid-table teams in Serie A. These players had been previously bought more as future financial instruments than building blocks for the team and after owning them for a bit, Juventus flipped them for a considerably higher amount than their remaining amortized value.

Plusvalenze used to acquire an all time great like Cristiano Ronaldo are easy to digest, especially when they involve players that aren’t able part of the squad, but it then becomes much more painful to see the likes of Moise Kean, Leonardo Spinazzola and Joao Cancelo leave to generate the profits necessary to maintain a squad that features Ronaldo, newly acquired De Ligt and numerous veterans earning over 7 million after taxes a season.

Cancelo and Spinazzola generated a substantial profit despite spending just one season in Turin, as part of those deals Juventus also acquired Danilo and Luca Pellegrini. It’s hard to argue that the Bianconeri are considerably weaker at the wing back position as a result of the two transactions, but the financial gains on the transactions are what helped pay for acquiring the likes of De Ligt and Demiral. The same applies to Rabiot and Ramsey, who despite signing on a Bosman deal come with substantial annual salaries.

On top of paying for an expensive squad, Juventus posted a significant loss during their last fiscal year. There is the obvious spending to secure Ronaldo (and to pay for his salary), but also the Bianconeri didn’t make a very deep run in the Champions League thus limiting their revenue. To help compensate for the recent expenses and difficult financial outcome, Juventus had to also sacrifice Moise Kean who was sold for 30 million to Everton.

While some complained about the low return, Kean was also in the last deal of his year and at least his entire transfer fee was a plusvalenza since he had no amortized value as a home grown player. For the same reason, Milan strongly encouraged Patrick Cutrone to accept Wolvehampton’s offer- the plusvalenza generated by that transaction can essentially cover the annual cost of all of the Rossoneri’s new additions this summer.

On the other side of Milan, Inter have perfected the art of generating plusvalenze to help meet their Financial Fair Play parameters. While moving Nicolo Zaniolo in the Radja Nainggolan deal certainly came back to bite them, overall the Nerazzurri have done very well selling their Primavera players (who in almost all cases are pure plusvalenze when sold since they tend not to have amortized values to offset) to balance their budget, their most recent accounting masterpiece featured Zinho Vanheudsen joining Standard Liege for over 12 million.

It’s certainly understandable that fans mainly just care about seeing their squads improve in the summer, and someone who is Juventus’ sporting director has to accept that you can go from being a called a genius on the day you sign De Ligt to being called a bumbling fool for selling Cancelo on top of considering selling Dybala- but there are usually connections between the two things, as Moggi taught us a “plusvalenza da urlo” can also net you three champions like Buffon, Thuram and Nedved because you sold Zidane at the right time.