We are about 48 hours from the end of the latest summer transfer window. That means, naturally, the evaluation process on how every team fared is the next step in the process. Ratings, opinions, hot takes, anger, whatever you want to call it. It’s all there. The combination of the transfer window ending and an international break arriving at the same time means that even with the deadline now a thing of the past, all we’re left to do is talk about transfers for a good portion of the time, if not all of it.
Here’s a controversial statement regard a certain Turin-based club’s transfer window: Juventus had a damn good summer worth of moves.
(Ha! And you all thought I was going to be talking about Joe Hart for the next 700-plus words!)
Okay, so that’s not so controversial. Nope, not at all, really. It’s probably more of the common opinion rather than the unpopular opinion. Much praise has been heaped upon the five-time defending Italian champions — and rightfully so.
Juventus’ 2016 summer transfer campaign is one of the best we’ve seen the club have under Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici’s watch. Of course, a lot of the talk the last two days has involved the inability to get a deal done for Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel, which is unavoidable. That’s only natural considering how everything seemed like a lock to be finalized and then the rug was just pulled out from beneath all of us in one fell swoop.
With all the frustration of what did — or didn’t — happen on the final day of the transfer window, Juventus still has quite a bit to show for it. And by that, I mean this...
That’s a beautiful thing. Seriously, take a look and admire what kind of talent that is in the picture above. Miralem Pjanic, Marko Pjaca, Dani Alves, Gonzalo Higuain, Medhi Benatia, Juan Cuadrado. That’s a pretty good base for a starting XI right there at any club. For Juventus, it’s been adding onto what is already here.
Let’s just go ahead and be honest here for a second...
- Of course Higuain is front and center because you don’t spend a club-record €90 million transfer fee on a dude just to have him not be featured. (Don’t worry, folks, he’ll soon be starting on a regular basis.)
- Why the gotta hide Mire in the back like that?
- That is just an amazing photo even though they probably didn’t take it at the same time. (They didn’t because Juan Cuadrado is currently in his homeland of Colombia on international duty.)
Okay, fine, I’ll be serious.
Juventus’ transfer window didn’t take a massive hit or is suddenly going from good to bad because of Witsel not signing. Would it have been nice that the number of afros in that picture above was two instead of one? Definitely — especially when you think about just how truly close Witsel was to signing with Juventus, with his medical being done, personal terms probably 100 percent agreed upon and on and on and on.
But here’s something to think about: How many times can you loose a player of Paul Pogba’s ability, an up-and-coming striker like Álvaro Morata and a couple of other players who had plenty of value on the market and still feel this good about things?
Higuain is a world-class prima punta in his prime — right now. Pjanic, at 26 years old, is somebody who is just about to hit his prime, is already one of the best midfielders the game has to offer and is probably the best passer not named Andrea Pirlo that Juve have had in quite a while. They arrived on two very different kinds of transfer fees — seriously, Pjanic’s €32 million price tag, a deal that was done even before the summer transfer window opened up, looks more and more like a bargain every single day — but they also are going to be centerpiece-type figures both this season and hopefully the years to come. We know about what Alves has achieved in his career. We also know what Benatia can be like when he’s 100 percent healthy because he’s proven it at Roma and Udinese.
Then there’s Pjaca and Cuadrado, who add their own unique characteristics to the attack on the wings. We already know Cuadrado, but Pjaca is the wild card because we’re getting to know his game more and more with every appearance he makes.
All of this is why Juventus’ summer mercato was so good. Not because they didn’t sign Witsel or saw Pogba and Morata both return to their former clubs. It was because Juventus was able to assemble a collective unit and add it to a team that already has one of the best defenses in Europe, an attack with a budding superstar in Paulo Dybala and a pretty good midfield even with Pogba breaking a world record for transfer fees.
Juventus’ transfer window wasn’t ruined by one move that didn’t happen. It could never be that way. Marotta and Paratici did too much good to have one element of bad completely throw things out of whack.
So what if Juventus didn’t get its cherry on top when it came to finalizing a Witsel deal? That’s fine. The other stuff they did far outweighs it. And when Witsel arrives on a free transfer summer, we’ll just sit back and have a nice little laugh about it all.