The first domino in what should be a very interesting summer has just fallen.
Juventus has officially announced that sporting director Fabio Paratici will not return to the club once his contract expires at the end of June. A press conference will be held with Paratici and Juve president Andrea Agnelli on June 4.
Paratici has been at Juventus for 11 years now. A journeyman player who never played above what is now Serie C, Paratici joined Sampdoria as head of their scouting department in 2004 and quickly became the right hand man of then-Samp sporting director Beppe Marotta. When Marotta was poached by Juventus he came along—infuriating Samp’s owner at the time, who expected Paratici to take on Marotta’s role at the Marassi.
Over the next eight years the two worked in tandem, with Marotta building the team and Paratici serving for the most part as his closer on transfer deals. Together they kick-started Juve’s incredible run of nine consecutive scudetti.
Not everything ran smoothly. Friction between Paratici and Antonio Conte was allegedly one factor in the latter’s departure in 2014. After the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, Marotta, who was allegedly never keen on the deal, was pushed out in favor of Paratici, who took over the sporting director job. Paratici, along with Pavel Nedved, is generally considered the man who convinced Agnelli to move on from Massimiliano Allegri in 2019.
Paratici’s tenure in the front office’s top job was decidedly less successful than his predecessor. While he signed some excellent players over his three years at the helm—in particular Matthijs De Ligt and Federico Chiesa—he never seemed to have a sense of how to fit players together to make an effective team, and the squads he presided over never seemed to be in sync with each other, especially considering the attempt to transition the team into a more modern, passing-and-pressing style of tactics. Some position groups (coughfullbackcough) were largely ignored while others were heavily over-populated on the depth chart, and his continued efforts to simply paper over the cracks in a midfield that has been on the decline for years has led to serious problems in the team’s engine room.
He also whiffed badly on a couple of the Bosman transfers that had made Marotta so well known, particularly Aaron Ramsey and Emre Can, and consistently failed to trim dead weight off the roster in any way other than terminating the player’s contract without getting anything in return (see: Higuain, Gonzalo and Khedira, Sami.) In hindsight, it seems like momentum alone carried Juve to their last two titles before Paratici’s failures stopped the streak in its tracks this past season.
Paratici will certainly leave the club with a mixed legacy. It still remains to be seen whether that June 4 press conference will be a farewell for him alone or for other members of the board, like Pavel Nedved or even Agnelli himself. As for a replacement, multiple reports from La Repubblica (h/t Football Italia) and Tuttosport indicate that Federico Cherubini, who has been at Juve since 2012 as head of the youth sector and the first coordinator of the U23 team, will take the job.
This is the first head to roll after a difficult season at the Allianz Stadium, and it remains to be seen whether it’s the last. What’s clear is that this is the first move in what will prove to be a long chess game this summer.