I have to admit, I was seriously thinking of putting "THE IMPORTANCE OF PADOIN" as the title…
After the lackluster performance that Juventus have mustered in recent weeks (notably the home defeat against 10-man Sampdoria and the away 1-1 draw to Parma), the never-ending complaints about the lack of a top striker has emerged yet again. A lot of Juventini felt that the club's reluctance to open its bank account and spend money on a super goal-getter is infuriating and frustrating, and their dismay is compounded by van Persie's continuous exploit in Man Utd jersey.
Is Juventus really that poor? Do we seriously have no money left to spend after 2 years in the red? Is the club really that terrified about FFP, so much so that it makes them such an impotent club in the transfer market? Does Marotta really shiver at the very thought of spending more than 15 million for a player?
A little disclaimer before we proceed: although I have a (very) basic knowledge on financials, I will not touch on this subject, especially because I have not done a thorough research on FFP and its impact. I also have not scrutinized Juventus financial, ever. You're better off visiting swissramble blog (http://swissramble.blogspot.hk/) if this is what you're looking for. What I would do, however, is offer a layman's perspective on the strategy, management, and vision of an organization that is Juventus.
Now to be clear, I am 100% sure we are capable of going out and spend 35-40 mil on a player without breaching FFP regulation and all that crap. Don't ask me to prove it, because I can't. But if we look at PSG and City spending billions without so much of a condescending look from UEFA, I am willing to bet that had we wanted to, we could.
My question is, however, have we considered the snowball effect of being involved in a big money transfer at this moment of time? Can't we acknowledge that there is a possibility, probably very remotely, that these things could happen:
- we'll gain reputation of a big spender, potentially making a lot of future transfers more difficult (i.e, more expensive)
- players will see us as clubs with ambitions (good thing!), with money to back our ambitions (not always good...)
- agents will probably stir up a bidding war whenever we are linked with their players (even though their players actually really want to join us), because at the end of the day, they know we'll spend more than necessary just to fend off other clubs' interest (ambitious, right?)
- maybe in the future, our stars (the likes of Vidal, Vucinic, Chiellini, etc) would insert a clause in their contract: match highest earner in club
- or maybe, those players who have agreed to a high portion of achievement related bonus instead of a high basic salary would feel betrayed and unhappy
- and the club will try to increase its revenue stream to cover the cost, finally doing so by raising ticket prices, initiating protests from its most loyal fans (the Ultras), leading to silent match just like the home game vs Shakhtar
- and maybe some other things that I miss.
Considering the above, in this writer's humblest opinion (Yes, I’m a humble schmuck. Problem?), we have to be really careful when making a major investment on a player, because it sends out a message. Spending big is not only about buying a star player, and then (hopefully) winning a trophy. It actually involves the club's long term strategy, vision, and high level management. Now if you’re interested in understanding what is our management's vision/strategy for the club, I'd suggest you watch this video:
Intervento di Andrea Agnelli alla London Business School - Agnelli speaks at London Business School (via juventus)
In the video, Agnelli (speaking at the Global Leadership Summit in perfect English) conveyed the challenges of managing a professional football club, especially in finding the right balance between sporting achievement and business viability. Seriously, watch it. It's very eye opening for a generic fan like yours truly.
Anyway, one key part of the strategy on how to find the right balance is to, again, link sporting achievement with players salary, because obviously players salary is the biggest cost base of every football club. And for those who are not aware, we (that's
me, Agnelli and Marotta) actually have been trying to get players to sign contracts with relatively low salary and comparatively large bonus, in accordance to our strategy of linking revenue with expense. Obviously, revenue in football is related with on field achievements, with all the sponsorship agreements, TV money deals, tournament prizes, ticket prices, merchandise, etc.
Back to topic. Considering all those troubles that the club have gone through, not to mention the deals they have been missing out since they started implementing this strategy (Lucas Piazon, Veratti, van Persie, etc), it’s rather far-fetched to think that they will suddenly change direction and apply a totally new strategy, one more akin to the likes of Man City and PSG and Chelsea. Also bear in mind that this current strategy have resulted in 2 trophies within 2 years, which are the first trophies since calciopoli. Remember that this year we are still on track for more trophies, too. So far, so good.
Me, I personally believe the management is doing the right thing. We have often praised Marotta and co. for getting Barzagli (300K), Pirlo (free), Pogba (free), and Vidal (12mil), yet we're also cursing them for missing out on van Persie and Veratti, for not trying to rob Fiorentina of Jovetic, and for being so uptight on spending and FFP and all that crap. It's 99% confirmed that we'll get Llorente for free in the summer, yet we're still not pleased. We still want them to sign Cavani, Lewandowski, Suarez, Jovetic, Drogba, David Villa, and even Lisandro. Even Immobile is mentioned nowadays!
I trust these guys. Do you? Pic via 4.bp.blogspot.com
To summarize, it would be great if we can sign a super striker who can feed everyone on the planet and stop wars and prevent global warming. But it’s also important that the signing is done to support the club's long term strategy, not in spite of. And if that means I have to be content with Matri and Quagliarella and Bendtner alongside Vucinic and Giovinco missing sitters after sitters after sitters, so be it. At the start of this season, most fans would have been pleased with winning the scudetto, reaching the Coppa final and the quarterfinal (or possibly the semifinal) of UCL. I know I would be pleased with that. And you know what? So far we're on track, despite not having that mythical super striker capable of solving all of the world's problems.
This post is written by JDAngkasa. You can follow him on twitter: @JDAngkasa