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Mercapolypse Now: A mid-summer look at the Mercato

With training starting tomorrow, the rebuilding of Juventus has not finished, though we are likely to see fewer signings and more sales. Beppe Marotta has been busy for quite some time, wheeling and dealing behind the scenes and converting our team into a younger 4-4-2. Below, a list of transfers thus far.


Refusing to celebrate his first goal against Juventus.

Davide Lanzafame- (Palermo, loan) Lanzafame, who refused a January move to Juventus in favor of playing time (Paolucci was his replacement, enough said) has come back home to Torino. Originally sold on co-ownership to Palermo as part of the Amauri deal, he spent his first season split at Palermo and Bari, where he first made his name. Last year, he spent the whole year at Parma doing very well in the process, scoring 7 goals in 14 league starts, and putting in 3 assists. (27 league games total) After two years, Juventus and Palermo had to negotiate or risk the envelopes, but chose to renew co-ownership and send Lanzafame on loan to Juve. If Del Neri doesn't particularly fancy him, there's always the possibility of him leaving on loan before the summer ends, training is going to be a crucial time for Lanza to demonstrate his maturity and case for playing time.
Question on the Move: It's positional. Lanza is more of an attacking winger like Cristiano Ronaldo, playing wide in a 4-3-3, as he did at Parma, rather than a "winged midfielder" like Camoranesi. So are we going to play him as a winger in a 4-4-2, or move him up top as striker? I'd assume the former, given that Del Neri likes his wingers more attacking than defensive. Nice move though, as it brings another Juve youth player back to base. Hopefully it goes more like Marchisio and not Giovinco.

Welcome to SampJuve, Marco

Marco Storari- (4.5mil, Milan): Given Buffon's injury troubles, Marotta swooped in for Milan's Storari, who played on loan at Sampdoria for the second half of last season as replacement for the injured Luca Castellazzi. Storari will battle with reserve Alexander Manninger for the position of Buffon's #2, and while Manninger is great, Storari was the highest rated keeper during his loan spell at Sampdoria last season. He signed a 3-year contract with the club. 4.5mil seems a bit high for an aging reserve keeper, but we signed the best. Should Storari displace Manninger as the #2, Alex will officially displace Julio Sergio as the best third-string keeper in the world.
Question on the Move: What in God's name is wrong with Milan? For the last 2-3 years or so, they've had no permanent #1. You can forgive them perhaps for not playing Storari initially, but if I was Milan, I'd have brought Storari home and given him the #1 instantly. Abbiati is good, but Storari has been much better. Instead, they sell him to us and went out and signed, of all people, Marco Amelia, who wasn't good enough for Genoa or Palermo.
Read Roberto's profile on Storari here

South Africa Italy WCup Soccer
"C'mon man, we're both going to Turin, you come too!"

Leonardo Bonucci- (15.5mil, Bari): It's been a hell of a year for young Leonardo Bonucci. Sold by Inter to Genoa in a mega-exchange for Milito and Thiago Motta, Genoa then sold him on co-ownership to Bari. Along Genoa-owned Ranocchia, the young duo were at the heart of the defense of a surprisingly strong Bari team, conceding the fewest goals in the league as of December. During all this time, Bonucci was always the "second defender" mentioned after the great performances of Andrea Ranocchia, but misfortune struck Ranocchia's knee ligaments, and thus, there was Bonucci. He continued to put in strong performances, though without Ranocchia, the defense started to unravel a bit more as Bari as a team suffered from the mid-season doldrums. He was called up for the 2010 World Cup, though he never played a minute, there's no doubt in retrospect he should have played over than man he is replacing at Juventus, Fabio Cannavaro. Juventus was very interested, and negotiated with both Genoa and Bari. While formally the deal is strictly with Bari who signed his second part from Genoa for 8mil last week, I would assume Marotta promised Genoa he'd sell Criscito to them, and thus they agreed to relinquish their share to Bari, who certainly facilitated things for us nicely. (Much easier than Genoa would have) Bonucci has signed a 5-year contract with us. While Bari took up their option for signing Almiron on co-ownership, I wouldn't be surprised to see them sign the second half of him during the summer.
Question on the Move: Can we still get Ranocchia? I like Bonucci and all, but him and Chiellini are very similar style of defenders, tall bruising hardmen. Ranocchia's more of a sweeper. (Also, Leo, can you please score against Inter in the derby? That'd be lovely!)
Read Roberto's profile of Leonardo Bonucci here

Bidding farewell to Catania, one of my least favorite cities in Italy. (no offense meant to any Catanesi here)

Jorge Martinez- (12mil, Catania): I thought Martinez was a smokescreen to get CSKA to lower their asking price for Krasic, and while it might have been, eventually we did go through with the move and sign the Uruguayan. Martinez's first move to a big league was with Catania the last few years, and he has been one of the consistent stars of the team since. Last season was very impressive, as he scored 9 goals in 19 starts (25 games total) and was linked with, surprise surprise, Manchester City in addition to us. He's an attacking midfielder with good dribbling skills. Like Lanzafame, he seems to be more of an attacking winger than a "midfield" winger, which again points to Del Neri's preference for pace and attacking movement on the wings. This is the move that I have the most hesitancy about, as I'm sure is true for most Juventini. 12mil is a fair amount of cash to spill, although it's probably a fair evaluation of an attacking winger who has been having a few good seasons. Signed to a 4-year contract.
Question on the Move: Will he flop? Serious question, as Uruguayans outside of defense have not had the best of records at Juventus. Fabian O'Neill (for those of you with long memories), Daniel Fonseca, Ruben Olivera...hasn't gone well. Maybe he can tell Marotta to give 'ole Martin a call....
Read Roberto's profile of Jorge Martinez here

No doubting the man has heart...but as Molinaro showed, that's not always enough

Simone Pepe- (Loan, Udinese): As I imagine is true for many of you, Pepe begrudgingly won some respect from me in the World Cup. His decisions on passing were sometimes atrocious, but he was pacey, determined, and put in a few decent crosses here and there. Not bad for the player that half of Italy saw as the proof of Lippi's incompetency with the Azzurri. (believe Cannavaro ended up winning that) Marotta got a hell of a signing here, which I do not understand. Udinese gives us Pepe, Candreva, and Iaquinta on a platter, but played hardball with D'Agostino and potentially screwed up his career? There is some definite schizophrenia about their transfer dealings. Marotta got him on a 1-year loan for 2.6mil, and then a fixed option to buy him at 7.5mil. So he's a bit cheaper than Martinez, actually, and the bonus about Pepe is "Try-before-you-buy." If he sucks, we wasted 2.6mil and that's that. Forget the money issue, then we wouldn't be forever burdened with him like Tiago and Almiron, fruitlessly attempting to ship them out.
Question on the Move: Can he make the step up to Juventus-quality? He seems like a solid winger for a mid-table team, but we've got ambitions to return to greatness.
Read Roberto's profile of Simone Pepe here

Cristian Molinaro- (Stuttgart, 4mil): Hooray!
Fabio Cannavaro- (Al-Ahli, free): Hooray x2!
Antonio Candreva- (Udinese, loan return): Eh.
Domenico Criscito- (Genoa, 6mil): Genoa finally snatched the second half of his player registration rights, as we sold him to Genoa partially to facilitate the Bonucci move. Not gonna lie, despite some average performances at the World Cup, I was hoping we'd bring him back and use Palladino as the bait instead. That would have meant we only needed a CB and a RB, now after signing Bonucci we still need to sort both our damn fullbacks out, as we have for the last 3 years. (Marco Motta is not the answer...)
Martin Caceres- (Barcelona, loan return): :(