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The New Juventus Era Begins

marotta

A new era. Hopefully it'll lead to a trophy-laden era, after the 3-year drought. Today, at the meeting of the Board of Directors (CdA), Andrea Agnelli, Giuseppe Marotta, and Gigi Del Neri officially have signed on with the club. As I mentioned a few weeks ago here, Juventus have proven to be too strong of an allure for the two men, despite a great success at Sampdoria. For Marotta, he gets a larger transfer budget, a prestigious club, and the ambitious project of rebuilding a once great team. For Gigi Del Neri, it is possibly his last chance at managing a big club, he has done excellently with "provincial" sides in the past, but never really received a shot at the top. Short bios and a brief analysis of each after the jump.

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Andrea Agnelli-

As from today, Andrea Agnelli is the chairman of Juventus. The nomination came from the board of management of the club which met at the headquarters in Corso Galileo Ferraris. «The role that I am undertaking today – declared the Chairman at the end of the Board Meeting – is the concrete evidence of our family’s unity and commitment to this Company. The work to be done is very demanding. This is why Jean-Claude Blanc and I, along with all the staff and Board of Directors, are already drawing up the programme and strategies for the upcoming season». The Board of Directors has confirmed that Jean-Claude Blanc will be keeping his posts.

Excellent news, of course. Andrea Agnelli is one who knows football, everyone he knows from Moggi to his close friend Nedved has attested to such. Four or five months ago, Luciano Moggi lauded Agnelli and said "with him, I would return to Juventus." At the time, it seemed unlikely for the last male with the surname Agnelli to inherit the throne, but a quickly degrading season convinced John Elkann to demote Blanc and install his cousin as President. This is a man who knows calcio, his father was President of Juventus and as mentioned, he has always been close to the club and its directors.

When his nomination was revealed, Moggi declared it to be the best possible thing for Juventus, and that he had taught Andrea never to reveal his targets. While he was not unveiled officially until today, he has clearly already been at work. While the media was focused on Benitez-to-Juventus over much of the last two months, Andrea Agnelli was working in that time quietly to secure Gigi Del Neri as coach. It seems Benitez was solely a focus of Blanc, and Agnelli kept the rumors going to delay his target. Let's hope himself and the club continue to do so- no more announcing of the transfer budget, no more openly declaring club targets (Diego, D'Agostino, Amauri) and hopefully, few month-long negotiations. All of these have ended us in teams like Fiorentina, Palermo, and Udinese knowing that they can squeeze money out of us, and not surprisingly, it's happened. Much of this however, is dependent on the below man.....Giuseppe Marotta.

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Giuseppe Marotta-

Giuseppe Marotta was born in Varese on March 25, 1957 and in Varese in 1978, when he was not yet twenty-three, he began his career as Director of Youth Department. Only one year of apprenticeship, and already next season he was appointed General Manager, a position he will not abandon even more in future experiments. From 1987 to 1990 is with Monza, and then enters the senior management of Como, and later of Ravenna. In 1995 he lands to Venice, where he remained for five years and achieved a historic promotion to Serie A in '97 / 98. The following year, Venezia centers salvation, also thanks to the work of Marotta leading great talented players and composed, with Recoba and Manor, a pair of first-rate attack.

From 2000 to 2002 he became General Manager in Atalanta and also in these two years there are some satisfactions. In 2000/01 Atalanta, in the first month of sport season, are even at the top and then close the season with an excellent seventh place. After the ninth place centered in 2001/02, Marotta changed Club and lands at Sampdoria. With Sampdoria he is first General Manager and then, since 2004 also Managing Director. Over the years he built a more competitive team, thanks to sensational "shock market", such as those leading Antonio Cassano to Genoa, from Real Madrid and Gianpaolo Pazzini from Fiorentina, two leading architects, along with trainer Del Neri, of the historic goal centered by Sampdoria last season: the Champions League preliminaries. In May 2010 he was appointed General Manager of Juventus.

Like Andrea Agnelli joining as President, this was not exactly a secret move, it was just short of John Elkann coming out and announcing it himself. The former Director General of Sampdoria has joined Juventus after a few months of speculation, quite obviously a pick of Andrea Agnelli and a smart one at that. Over the past decade, Marotta has established himself as one of the best transfer gurus in Serie A, which is obvious from the success of Sampdoria, from Serie B to the Europa League and Champions League in a decade, much of it thanks to his picks. Like Andrea Agnelli, he likes Italian players and young ones, though Sampdoria have also benefited from experienced Bosmans in the last few years. (Read my past musing on Beppe Marotta here)

If you look at Sampdoria's team this year, it's full of smart and shrewd calls. Luca Castellazzi, and Marco Storari have been in goal, both experienced goalkeepers signed for free. Castellazzi has been excellent for Samp for the last few years, before getting injured, and Storari quite possibly is goalkeeper of the year of Serie A 2009-2010. In defense, there is Reto Ziegler, ex-Tottenham winger reject who has blossomed this season as an attacking fullback, who spent a year on loan at Samp before they picked him up in full at age 21 for peanuts. There is Stefano Lucchini as a CB, who was signed on a Bosman after leaving Empoli in 2007, who was in negotiations at the time to come to Juventus and has been excellent for Samp this season. Also ex-Juventino Daniele Gastaldello who has come into his own in defense. In midfield, there's Stefano Guberti on loan for free, Daniele Mannini who arrived for cheap on co-ownership, Andrea Poli and Angelo Palombo, both who were scouted at a young age and signed for virtually nothing, in Palombo's case he was a free transfer when Fiorentina went backrupt. In attack, Pazzini was signed for cheap from Fiorentina as he was unsuccessful with the Viola club, and Cassano, of course, is his greatest negotiation. Cassano was signed from Real Madrid on loan, with the Spanish club paying 66% of his salary, and then signed for free the next year, with a clause promising 7 million if sold the next summer, and 5 million if sold in the 2 summers after that. Cassano could be sold for quadruple that now, easily.

So what can we expect from Giuseppe Marotta? Well, he likes to be shrewd with money, which is a significant departure from the Secco era. He prefers Italians, he also likes young promising players, but otherwise he does what he's supposed to....finds talented players, whether they are young and inexperienced, in a crap situation at another club, or older players who are still productive. All in all, I think signing Beppe Marotta is a coup. He's been just as good as Fiorentina's director Corvino.

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Gigi Del Neri-

Luigi Delneri was born in Aquileia, in Udine’s province, on August 23rd, 1950.

Right in the Aquileia, the team of his native city, begins to be a soccer player and starts a career that will take him to Foggia and Sampdoria, among other teams.
With the people from Puglia, inter alia, makes his debut in Serie A on October 7th, 1973 and the opponent of that day is exactly Juventus. His career as a trainer starts in 1986 with the amateurs of Gorizia and four years after that he arrives to professional soccer world and leads Teramo at third place in Serie C2. The following year, during season ‘91/92 he leads Ravenna and achieves the promotion to Serie C1. After two seasons with Novara, he does the same in ‘94/95, when he leads Nocerina to Serie C1. The year after, he gets to the third place in the Championship, worthy the play-off. From ‘96/97 to ’98/99 Delneri leads Ternana, grasping fully two consecutive promotions, from C2 to B and in 2000 he starts his adventure on Chievo bench.

The first year in Seria B he gets to the third place and conquers the top Serie. “Chievo miracle” is born this way, the team from a district in Verona that, during their first year in Serie A, leads the Scudetto race in December and at the end of the Championship is at fifth place. Delneri stays in Veneto for two more seasons, so, in 2004 he goes to train Porto, European Champion, but the relationship ends even before starting the season. In September Roma calls him, and he leads them for 24 matches. Following to that, his experiences in Palermo and his coming back to Chievo, before arriving to Atalanta, in 2007. In Bergamo, Delneri centers “safety” twice consecutively, taking the nerazzurri to the ninth and to eleventh place. In 2009/10 he trains Sampdoria and, after “Chievo miracle”, the trainer from Aquileia, wraps up “Sampdoria miracle”: he conquers 67 points, in 19 victories and 10 draws, worthy the fourth place and the access to Champions League’s preliminaries and to Delneri the call to train Juventus.

Unlike Giuseppe Marotta and Andrea Agnelli, the signing of Gigi Del Neri hasn't filled Juventus fans with confidence. And for good reason, he has never really managed a big club or won anything in his coaching history. However, it also seems fair to say the Del Neri deserves the chance to coach a big team. With Chievo, he led them to a historic promotion and of course, the famous Chievo miracle where a newly promoted team led Serie A during the Christmas break, narrowly missing out on the Champions League. Thus began some years of mediocrity, his work with Chievo got him the job at Porto, who had just won the Champion's League under Jose Mourinho, though he quit only a week into the job. At Roma, he encountered a team in turmoil that had 4 coaches in a year, of Prandelli, Voller, Del Neri, and finally interim Bruno Conti. He then signed with Palermo, where he was inevitably sacked after a run of poor results, and returned to Chievo. After a year with Chievo, he signed with Atalanta and the positive results returned. With Atalanta, he did very well leading them to 9th and 11th placed finishes, he quit this summer for Sampdoria and they were promptly relegated this year. His tenure with Sampdoria I don't need to explain to you, achieving 4th with that team (and its little depth) is an incredible accomplishment. It is notable that Giuseppe Marotta wanted to bring Gigi Del Neri with him to Juventus.

As for my thoughts on him, I echo many of your sentiments. (You can find my Pros/Cons on my musings on managers, also a solid endorsement of Del Neri's work at Sampdoria over at Football Italiano) The main pros is he builds a compact side, one that doesn't leak a lot of goals and one that fights well against big clubs, Sampdoria have beaten Inter, Juventus, Milan, Roma, and Fiorentina this year. He has plenty of Serie A experience, though very little in Europe. There is a big question whether he is a mid-table manager, or one that can genuinely build towards silverware. The other big question is what will he do with our squad? At Chievo, Atalanta, and Sampdoria, he has stuck completely with the 4-4-2, with pacey strong wingers as the focal points of his attack. Last summer we shed two wingers, and with Camoranesi perhaps leaving, we might lose our third this summer. So what does that mean about wingers? Well, Giovinco might get a shot, De Ceglie might be pushed up, and players like Vargas and co are back in the picture. What does that mean for Diego? He's talked about him and said like Cristiano Doni, he might fit him in at trequartista in a 4-4-1-1. But what does that mean for our other strikes? There's a lot of unanswered questions for this mercato.

The other problem I have with Del Neri:

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Oh no.