We all know it's coming. It's bittersweet, sort of like a weekend where you're happy that you have off, but then you remember you have a ton of housework to do. The summer mercato is just about ready to heat up. Along with all the legitimate moves and signings, comings and goings, and things to hope and actually, truly get excited about -- there are going to be a ton reports and rumors that have absolutely no basis whatsoever. It's going to be frustrating, and it's going to get tiresome. And it only seems as if things are getting worse, beginning earlier, and becoming far more incessant as time goes on. It's already starting. At least in the summer there's the excuse that there's no actual games to be played, so the writers have to make up for the slow news days.
At any rate, I've decided to give a quick look at what the sites are reporting.
If you can't get'im, get someone that looks kinda like'im.
Mourinho to Juventus? Completely absurd. Despite the fact that one of the greatest coaches in the world is at one of the greatest and richest clubs the world, it would make sense for him to be linked with a rebuilding (dilapidated) squad like Juventus, right? Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying these rumors were even being taken seriously, but I do remember in the past couple of weeks reading such craziness. It probably stemmed from nothing more than Trezeguet's wishful thinking. If Tuttosport hasn't globbed onto this by now, it really can't be going anywhere.
Alternatively, one name that has been actually linked is Andre' Villas-Boas.
Why? Well, I'd guess that it's because he looks kinda like a poor man's Mourinho. He even fits the profile of limited or no playing experience, Portuguese nationality, and former experience at Porto on his resume. And, if you looked at their silhouettes, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two of them.
We've also all heard the rumors regarding Franck Ribery, right? That's another one that makes perfect sense, for so many reasons. Not. At any rate, Morgan Amalfitano looks nothing like Ribery from straight on, but he does in the side-angle shot that goal.com decided to use in a report claiming that "Juventus are keeping tabs" on him.
Really, the above-reference can be just about anyone. Literally. Just change the name, and bam.
The Jason Voorhees -- stories that just won't die.
The best part about missing out on Edin Dzeko was the thought that I would at least never have to hear about him being linked with Juventus again. Is he a great striker who would've been a welcome addition? Yes. But the endless speculation, particularly after the Krasic signing, when it would've literally been impossible for Juve to sign another non-EU player until this summer (despite whatever transfer guru Emmanuel Adebayor believes), the story just wouldn't die. Not all fall, or all winter long. Until he was finally transferred to Manchester City. End of story, right? Wrong.
What is the moral of this story? Nothing, really. Without belaboring the obvious -- media sources need to sell papers, and drive up web traffic. Players and their agents need to drive up their perception of demand in order to drive up their wages. Selling teams need to drive up value and demand in order to drive up transfer fees.
We're going to be reading a lot of this stuff in the coming weeks and months, for many of the above reasons. But there are a few things that Juventus as well as all European Clubs should be cognizant of.
1) UEFA Fair Play. It's not immediately clear what impact this will have on the market, particularly in light of the fact that the regulations are to be gradually implemented. If all teams have to break even, it theoretically should drive down the price of transfers. Unless teams like Barcelon and Real Madrid are killing it financially, and can outbid virtually anyone else. After all, the global sports landscape is changing.
2) No Champions League. If Juventus do not qualify for Europe's elite (looking more and more likely each week), there will certainly be a dip in funds available. However, keep in mind that despite this season's absence, they've invested substantial sums last summer in what was to be the first year of a two to three year project. If the plan was to lay the foundation last summer, and inject true class into the team for next season, it stands to reason that more money will be spent. Of course, the lack of Champions League action can and will certainly dictate which players would even want to come here in the first place.
3) The New Stadium. This ties into the second point, at least financially. I've heard/read that the revenue expected from the new stadium is supposed to be roughly equivalent to Champions League funds. I stress, however, the word "expected." We don't yet know if the fans will come out, with two drab seasons and no Champions League. While Juventus remain wildly popular in Italy and worldwide, it should also be noted that they are known to also draw more fans away than home. That's great, but it does little for matchday revenue; particularly with teams such as Bari outselling us at their own home matches.
First salvo already launched?
Even though Aaron hasn't made it Officially Official -- and nothing ever is until he does -- last week I mentioned reports that Juventus have signed teenage Brazilian brothers, Gabriel and Guilherme Appelt. While a reference has already been made to Esteban Cambiasso, I will reserve judgement so far. In the meantime, please enjoy this video that I found, just for fun.