Juventus' transfer conundrum: Sell before you buy, buy before you sell?

Claudio Villa

Transfer strategy: Secure your new players before you bring in new ones, but don't make anything official until you sell.

Next year Juventus will likely return to the field with a 3-5-2 formation. And why shouldn't they? This formation was important when achieving Scudetto No. 30 and was central to Scudetto No. 31. I do believe that Antonio Conte would like a more flexible Juve, but our coach is not one to change things on a whim. So if I was a betting man — I am not — I would put my money on Juve starting next season with two strikers.

Two strikers means Juventus would like to give Conte five forwards to choose from. And would you look at that, Juventus have five strikers on the roster: Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco, and Fernando Llorente. Keeping that magic number five in mind, this can only mean that if a new player comes, another must leave. This is a first since Marotta took over as sporting director.

Some of our players have caught the attention of other clubs. If you believe the rumors, Matri is on many clubs' radars. Milan, Lazio, and Napoli have been linked with the ex-Cagliari player. Vucinic is also rumored to be catching the eye of some English clubs. The sale of these or other forwards will open the space necessary for a new addition while also bringing much needed cash.

Unfortunately, the issue for this and other transfers in Italy is that there appears to be no money. For example, if Napoli are to buy Matri (or anyone else for that matter), they will theoretically do so after offloading Edinson Cavani. Or, if Milan are buying Carlos Tevez or Matri, they will seek to offload Robinho before securing an incoming transfer.

Juventus may be one of the few clubs in Italy that have a transfer kitty that doesn't depend on selling players. However, such a financial position has not been obtained by being reckless. For this reason, I think Beppe Marotta will likely offload and buy players over a short period of time. This approach will allow him to increase the value of the player being sold while decreasing the value of the player being purchased.

Imagine if Marotta buys Tevez tomorrow. The message to other clubs interested in our strikers is that Juve needs to sell a player. This will result in Marotta getting less bang for his buck. Teams like Lazio, Napoli or Milan will see to low-ball Juventus for Matri.

The opposite scenario is not that much better. Let's say Juventus sell Matri tomorrow receiving 15m in the process. Now that the whole world knows that Juve have an extra 15m, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Fiorentina will be likely to push Juventus for more money.

One solution to this problem would be to include a player in a negotiation. For example, include Quagliarella in the potential Stevan Jovetic deal. Of course this is easier said than done. So, what happens when a player can't be included as part of a deal?

The best solution in that case is to conduct two transactions in a short period of time. If you believe the rumors, Juventus have agreed terms with at least two reinforcements in attack. All that is missing is for Juventus to decide which one of the two will be purchased and to reach an agreement with the club. On the other end, Marotta should have an agreement for the outgoing player in place. Once both deals are ready to go, Juventus can perform both operations in a short period of time.

Luciano Moggi was a master at this. Good ol' Luciano had not only a great eye for talent, but his timing during negotiations was impeccable. Before selling Zinedine Zidane, he already knew what he was going to do with the money and had agreements in place for the incoming players. Marotta's success in this market will depend on his timing. And as they say, timing is everything!

The transfer market will open officially in less than 10 days, and 12 days after that, Juventus will go to the ritiro. I strongly believe that within that time frame Marotta will secure another striker. I also believe that it is in the club's best interest to release one of our forwards before ritiro begins. Some may think that Marotta's priority this summer is purchasing a forward. I would argue that his real priority is to get the greatest economic gain when selling and the least economic loss when purchasing. Getting his timing just right will accomplish just that.

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