There were quite a few things that Juventus Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici had to address in the summer transfer window. And it just so happened that he had to do under the cloud of a pandemic where Juve’s financial profits have gone in the tank. That, in turn, means the flexibility to do the deals that he’s done the last couple of summers just simply might not have been there.
(Translation: The money to bring in another Matthijs de Ligt-like player just wasn’t there.)
But one of the biggest things that Juventus’ top transfer decision maker had to do was inject some much-needed youth into the roster, one that was the oldest in Serie A a season ago. That involved getting rid of some surplus players as well as bringing in younger players to fill the holes on the roster left by those in their 30s who are no longer on the roster.
Paratici was able to lower the average age of the squad that was over 29 years old last season to a much easier on the eye average age to 27 years old, according to data from La Gazzetta dello Sport released earlier this week. And when you consider that Juve’s backup goalkeeper is the oldest player Serie A currently has and the club’s captain is tuned 36 years old two months ago, that number is going to be a little higher than it could have been.
Think about it for a second. Here are the ages of the players Juventus brought to Turin during the summer transfer window:
- Dejan Kulusevski is 20 years old. (He came back from loan, so he’s part of the group, folks.)
- Weston McKennie is 22 years old.
- Arthur is 24 years old.
- Federico Chiesa is 22 years old. (And will be 23 in a couple of weeks.)
- Álvaro Morata is 27 years old. (And will be 28 in a couple of weeks.)
And here are the players Juventus saw leave during the summer transfer window:
- Miralem Pjanic is 30 years old.
- Blaise Matuidi is 33 years old.
- Gonzalo Higuain is 32 years old. (And he will be 33 in a couple of months.)
- Douglas Costa is 30 years old.
- Mattia De Sciglio is 27 years old.
- Daniele Rugani is 26 years old.
There’s also this: You could count on one hand the number of first team players that were 25 years old or younger last season. If you throw in 21-year-old fullback Gianluca Frabotta, who has been part of all three of the first match day squads of the 2020-21 season, and the number of Juve players who are 25 years old or younger has doubled. That’s how you drive down the average age of the squad within the span of a month and change.
Remember, bringing down the overall age of the squad was something that club president Andrea Agnelli mentioned in the hours following Juventus’ elimination from the Champions League Round of 16 at the hands of Lyon back on early August. He made it clear that having a squad that has an average age close to 30 was going to be something the club was going to look at. Per Agnelli himself:
I keep hearing we have the oldest squad in Europe, so that’s something that we need to look at. It has been a very difficult campaign with a lot of changes in the staff, so these are dynamics and ways of understanding each other that need to be created.
You bring in a young (albeit incredibly inexperienced) manager — remember, Andrea Pirlo is only 41 years old — who wants to play a very, very, very energetic and uptempo kind of football ... of course you’re going to want younger players who are capable of doing exactly that on a consistent basis. And, in theory, that’s what Agnelli and Paratici have been able to do. You look at the mobility of the midfield now compared to a few months ago, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Pirlo’s main four options in the center of his 3-4-1-2 formation are all 25 years old or younger.
So the goal was to get younger, and that’s what Juventus’ front office has done.
Now we just wait and see how much that might pay off. Because if it does, that’s a nice foundation to build around the next few years at the very least.