On behalf of the Juventus Offside writing staff, I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year. A lot has happened since I got that e-mail from Aaron last spring, asking me if I was interested in writing. I honestly wasn't prepared, and I didn't realize that I would be thrown in so quickly. The next thing I knew I was given log in information, and instructed to post a small intro about myself. The rest, as they say, is history.
I was never much a part of the Offside community -- hell, I've never been much for online communities in general, mostly because I just don't understand the cyber world very well, nor am I particularly technologically savvy. Anyway, I've quickly became part of the team, pun intended. The banter that accompanies my pieces is something that I look forward to now, and some of the entries elicit hundreds, and sometimes literally thousands of comments. And of course, your readership is what makes this blog what it is today. As 2012 begins, and the transition over to SB Nation eventually takes place, I am glad that I get to do it with everyone. Never walking alone isn't just for Liverpool. Thank you.
When we last met, we briefly discussed the mercato and the team needs and probable departures. Now is time for the fun part -- the speculation about who might possibly join the team. For purposes of organization I will categorize the potential acquisitions not by position, but by probability of arrival. Each will have its own separate post. I'll begin with those who are more probable, and I'm sure eventually end up somewhere in the land of fantacalcio. I had hoped to do them all in one shot, but as I began writing and noticing an SAT-score amount of words already written, I decided to break it up a bit. My one resolution will be to be more concise and spread out thoughts into more entries, rather than fewer but farther super-posts. So for now, I will focus solely on the more probable acquisitions, which are reportedly imminent.
Marco Borriello, 29, Striker, A.S. Roma
Most tifosi are annoyed by this move as a matter of pride. In the summer 2010 mercato, our favorite walking PSA for safe sex refused a move from Milan to Juventus, but because he wanted a permanent move, not a loan (Ironic, huh?). I can't say that I can blame a player for wanting some sense of stability, so I'm not hung up on that.
Regardless, I'm also not crazy about this move either, but for purely tactical rather than personal reasons. Yes, he's a walking petri dish, but I don't hold that against him either. Simply put, he's excess to our needs right now. He's not getting any younger and, at 29, not getting any better either. I can also think of several people off the top of my head who are faster than him. Myself being one of them.
His role: Clearly, a vice Matri. I guess when you put it that way, he's a better option than Iaquinta, Toni, or Amauri for that role, all three of which are on the opposite side of 30. But still, that leaves us with Quagliarella, Del Piero, and Vucinic, and while all three may not be natural prima puntas, they can all at least fill in at that role if need be. We also have people like Ciro Immobile still on our books and even though he may not ready to come in immediately and contribute 20-30 games and 15-20 goals a season, he is clearly at least as good of an option, right? Perhaps maybe a move for Borriello buys us some time before he's ready for the first team. Meh, what do I know...? I'm rambling again.
Odds of joining: 1.5:1. It's pretty much a done deal by this point, with only the medical left; although he's technically injured right now. And his Wikipedia page lists him as a Juventus player wearing the number 23 shirt. Great. Reports list a loan for approximately 500,000 to 1 million Euros, with a nonbinding option to make it permanent for around 7.5 million. The bright side is that Roma wanted a binding option, but Marotta was able to negotiate out of that, meaning we don't necessarily need to be stuck with him come next season. I guess it could be worse, especially considering Roma's binding option that they had to pay Milan last summer was for 15 million (bullet dodged on that one from 2010, no?). Makes you really appreciate Matri, huh?
Martin Caceres, 24, defender, Sevilla
I have been hoping for this move for months. Honest. I'm not clairvoyant, and I didn't think it were a possibility since Marotta showed a willingness to let him go in the past, but a Caceres 2.0 made so much sense to me for a while now. While there were very low whispers about a partial Motta for Caceres exchange with Sevilla from the summer, there wasn't much else chatter about this. Obviously, Sevilla aren't run by mentally incompetent people. But now it seems as if my dream will be a reality.
His first stint in black and white was mixed, but mainly due to injuries. When he did play, however, I liked what I saw. When his loan was up, Marotta, then the newly appointed DS, decided to pass and gamble on Marco Motta. We all see how well that's going for us. For the life of me, I don't understand why this happened. I know that the 11 million fixed option from Barcelona was steep, but surely they could have negotiated a lower price. Especially considering that Sevilla was later able to secure a loan from Barcelona with a right of redemption fixed at around 3 million -- roughly the same amount for the option we paid to make Motta's loan permanent last summer, a move which still leaves me completely flabbergasted. I guess all's well that ends well, right?
His role: This is why I have been clamoring for this move. He can fill a few holes for us. During his first stint here, he played right back, where he continues to play for Sevilla. He also plays left back quite a bit for Uruguay, becoming an integral part of a newly resurgent squad which made the semi finals of the 2010 World Cup and won the 2011 Coppa America. He can also play central defender. Signing him gives us many options. We can move him to the left side, and slot Chiellini back to the center. We can give poor Lichtsteiner a break once in a while and let him play on the right. If need be, we can move him to the center himself. This move pretty much negates the debate about whether we need a left back or another center defender. Kudos.
Odds: 2:1. Reports are either that it's a virtual done deal, or that the negotiations are progressing towards completion. I think that it's going to happen, but I won't hold my breath until it's officially official. Especially with P$G allegedly lurking and interested in the player. Still, all of the necessary ingredients are there for it to happen. He's stated his desire to come here and, with Marotta's track record, that means a lot towards the deal becoming complete.
The burning question: Our old friend Aaron hasn't cut his hair since Caceres was let go, out of protest. If he does indeed come back, does that mean that he will cut his hair?
That's all for now. Next up, I'll discuss the "Hmm...perhapses." For now, discuss amongst yourselves. And have a Happy New Year.