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BWRAO Mailbag, Vol. 1: Talking Gonzalo Higuain, silver stars, bad tattoos and more

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You had questions, we tried to provide some decent answers.

Juventus v Bologna FC - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Welcome to the BWRAO Mailbag!

First of all, thank you to everyone who submitted questions, we will try to have a mailbag ready to go every Monday or Tuesday, so keep the questions coming.

As previously mentioned, if you want to get your questions in the mailbag send an email to BWRAOmailbag@gmail.com with your question and name, or if you’d like to keep it anonymous, that plays as well. Another way to get your question to us is via Twitter. @JuventusNation is our handle and do something other than argue with Danny. Write the question and use the hashtag #BWRAOMailbag.

Let’s get to it.

Q: When do you think Juventus is going to add the silver Coppa Italia star (achieved 10 Coppa Italia wins) to the jerseys?Tyler, St. Louis, Missouri

Manu C: As the self-appointed uniform expert here at BWRAO, I feel reasonably qualified to answer this question. As you mention, tradition dictates that for every 10 Coppa Italia wins you get to add a silver star to the uniform, however, as I was doing research, I couldn’t really find any source that said how that tradition came to be, or if it even IS a tradition.

In fact, there is no regulation by the FIGC insofar as sewing a silver star on your kit for winning 10 Coppa Italia’s and when Andrea Agnelli was asked about the silver star in 2015, he stated that they would not use the silver star in the uniforms.

Some speculated it had to do with Juventus ongoing fight against the FIGC regarding the recognized number of Scudetti won by Juve, since the FIGC continues to omit the two Scudetto’s from the Calciopoli scandal.

It doesn’t seem like there is much desire for Juventus to use the silver star in the near future, and since Juve continues to be the only team to win 10 Coppas, there’s no pressure either. You can find some designs online of what it might have looked like, but as far as I know, those kits were never actually manufactured.

As it stands, only Roma with nine Coppa wins, is positioned to be the second team to “earn” the silver star, so we might have to wait and see if they adopt it.

It would be interesting to see the silver star, especially with the new, more minimalistic, badge. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to appear on the Bianconeri kits any time soon.

Should Juventus start looking for a replacement for Higuain and maybe sell him trying to get some of that $90 million back?Nael

MC: Now we’re cooking!

Since being signed for Juventus, Gonzalo Higuain has been a hot topic of debate, mostly because of his €90 million transfer tag. While the price was considered expensive by most experts, the thinking was that not only were you getting one of the top strikers in the world in his prime, but also directly weakening a direct competitor.

Has he lived up to expectations? In his two seasons as a Juventus player, Higuain has scored 55 goals and recorded 12 assists across all competitions, which is a fairly impressive tally for anyone not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. At 30 years old, he is not quite a spring chicken, but he can still be a very productive striker and, in my opinion, still one of the top pure strikers across Europe. With a contract that runs through 2021, I don’t see Juventus looking for a replacement in the summer transfer window.

There have been rumors of Alvaro Morata wanting to move back to Juventus after a stint at Chelsea where he has managed 15 goals in all competitions. However, with Chelsea paying close to €60 million for him last transfer season, I doubt they would be willing to part with Morata for a fee of Juventus liking.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the board tried to get younger at the center forward position, Moise Kean turned in a less than spectacular season at Hellas Verona, so he might not be ready to have heavy minutes with Juventus. Mario Mandzukic will be 32 by the end of May and has been deployed as a left winger more often than not.

The transfer season is long and unpredictable. The Higuain signing itself came out of nowhere a couple years ago, so if a Premier League team throws a crazy offer at Juventus anything can happen. But if I had to make a prediction, I would bet on Higuain staying put and Juve bringing in a low-risk, low-cost move a la Simone Zaza to add depth and youth to the center forward position.

With everything that is happening and a lot of fans asking for “Exciting football,” I was wondering how much control the coach is actually allowed at Juve. Max has said in the past that he trusts the club to get him good players and then he will figure out how to use them. Does this mean a coach is hired by the club only if they are a corporate type and do what they are told?Lloyd

MC: From what I understand, the coach and the board are always in communication during the transfer season and plan together when it comes to their transfer targets and strategy.

I believe that what Max Allegri was referring to was the fact he doesn’t have the final say or is not directly involved in the transfer negotiations, unlike, say, Arsene Wenger, who for most of his career at Arsenal acted as the manager but also as the “board” as far as which players go and which players stay at the club.

Regarding control, I believe the Juventus board lets Allegri handle the football aspect as he sees fit regarding formations, lineups etc.

You could also assume he gets a say in what type of players the board targets during transfer season — both Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi were brought in specifically because Allegri wanted more winger depth to be able to play the 4-2-3-1 formation; the Miralem Pjanic signing a couple years back probably had to do with Allegri’s desire for a pure trequartista. (Allegri decided to play him as a regista instead, which is a whole other issue.)

However, in order to better understand the transfer dealings at Vinovo, I have tried to get in touch with Pavel Nedved, Beppe Marotta and Andrea Agnelli to propose the position of “Transfer Czar of Juventus”, of which I hope to be announced as, in the near future. I will be updating y’all as soon as they get back to me.

Shouldn’t be very long now.

If you could select any 11 Juventus players from the past seven years, but they’re the age they are now (2018), who would make your Juventus first 11?Christopher

MC: This is tricky question because of the caveat that I must get them at their current age. So, I can’t just make a mash-up of the best possible version of any Juve player from the last seven years.

How much of a cop-out is it to say that I would probably keep most of the starting lineup of this year? Despite the general overturn of the roster year after year, some of the main players during this seven year run, are still here.

Let’s say our make-believe Juventus side plays the 4-3-3 formation, keeping it relatively consistent with the most successful formation they have used this year. I think you still have Gianluigi Buffon at the goalkeeper position, with Mattia De Sciglio at right back, who I believe at this point in their respective careers is the better option over Stephan Lichtsteiner. There is a solid argument to be made for Dani Alves at this spot, but, in my opinion, he was far too inconsistent during his lone Juventus season and only came into his own at the end. He also had an unremarkable season at PSG, so with the caveat we are taking them at their current form, I still go for De Sciglio.

Alex Sandro is still manning the left back position and Giorgio Chiellini has one of the center back spots locked up, with the other one going to … Leonardo Bonucci! In this scenario, I pretend there was no drama and consequent fallout with Allegri and the board, so he is still with the club.

The attack stays the same, with Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and Higuain. I have no interest in bringing Carlos Tevez at his current form back, or Alvaro Morata. And as much as I want to, I doubt a 43-year-old Alex Del Piero would be a better option than Pipita up front.

Not a lot of change so far, until we start talking about the midfield, easily the weakest link during the Juventus season.

I’m only keeping Miralem Pjanic as our nominal regista and bringing back two guys that should have probably never left. Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba are coming back from Munich and Manchester respectively and giving our ideal Juventus a hell of a midfield, something that has been sorely missed this season.

So, our Juve top 11 plays the 4-3-3 and lines up: Buffon, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Pjanic, Pogba, Vidal, Costa, Higuain and Dybala. Only weakness is probably at the right back position, but otherwise ...? Pretty damn good lineup.

Parting shot of the week.

Want to take a moment to give a massive shout out to the anonymous gentleman who, impulsively and under the effects of alcohol, I’m assuming, decided to put ink to skin and immortalize the final score of a meaningless regular season game between Napoli and Juventus:

It’s worth pointing out that Napoli had a hell of a season and should be commended for making the Serie A race as tight as it was, with an all-around lesser squad than Juventus, kudos all around.

It’s also worth mentioning that celebrating a pivotal victory at your most hated rival’s pitch like you just won the championship is all well and good, but maybe it’s not the wisest move when you’re still one point behind in the table.

And it is most assuredly NOT the wisest move when you proceed to get blown out by Fiorentina and draw with Torino at home to lose any hope to win the aforementioned championship.

The lesson, as always, don’t get sports related tattoos before your team actually does the damn thing.

And, if you come at the king...

Until next week!