In a revealing interview with media outlet Tuttosport, Juventus Director of Football Federico Cherubini shared some interesting insights about a number of players that have been linked with the club over the years as well as recent departures and arrivals.
The transfer window reached a boiling point in the last days before deadline day, with no bigger news than Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Juventus to head back to England. However, in a moment of intrigue, he ended up choosing to return to Manchester United instead of Manchester City where he was widely expected to land up.
While Pep Guardiola’s side had initiated conversations with the player’s camp, Juve were not interested since they were not interested in paying any transfer fees for Ronaldo.
“There weren’t the right conditions to do so. Manchester United behaved differently, as a club with tradition.”
Selling Ronaldo was in big part a financial decision for the Bianconeri who still need to get their books in order, but the player had also made up his mind to leave.
“I must say that sometimes in the past, we had to pay to part ways with some players. In this case, with other clubs [like City], we wouldn’t be able to get anything at all.
“There couldn’t be a different end, given the way Ronaldo had spoken to us. We couldn’t force a player to stay in a context that he didn’t recognize anymore.
“We respect Ronaldo, but I share the same view as our President: ‘Juventus’ history is made by great champions, coaches and directors, but the club remains the most important thing.”
Cherubini insisted that the Portuguese superstar’s decision to leave only happened late in the window.
“The week before the game against Udine, we were sure he would have stayed. I don’t want to be hypocritical and say that it was nice to manage this situation on August 28th. Everybody would have been happier to handle something similar a month earlier.
“The only risk is that a player like Kean may not have been available at that point, not all the players are waiting until August 31 to know if Ronaldo will stay or leave.
“It’s impossible to replace Ronaldo.”
He went on to add that the decision to bring Moise Keane back to the club from Everton had been made well in advance of knowing Ronaldo’s plans.
“We anticipated the future by signing Kean, but it’s a signal for future generations. We brought an academy product back home. Here at Juventus, there is space for players coming from the youth sector.
“It’s true that he had been sold two years ago, but it was for an important fee for a guy who was only 19 at that time. Today he returns to Juventus as a different and grown player. He has so much room for improvement.”
Italian national team goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been linked with Juve in the past but Cherubini confirmed making a move for him was not in the plans this summer when his contract at AC Milan expired.
“Juventus have a reliable goalkeeper with a long contract [Wojciech Szczesny]. We believe in him and we think he is the ideal solution. For the policy we have, it would make no sense to do what PSG are doing. It wouldn’t be good to have two important goalkeepers in the same team.”
Juventus tried to sign budding superstar Erling Haaland in 2017, did he have any regrets in not being able to convince him to join?
“We do, it would be stupid to say something different. However, things must be put into context.
“Young players can be scared about going out on loan, we were at the beginning of our U23 project and perhaps the perspective we offered him wasn’t too exciting. Maybe the idea of going out on loan wasn’t ideal for a player like him. Maybe today, things would be different.”
He went on to expound on Juve’s policy going forward with regards to the transfer market.
“We want a competitive team with a different project with young players that will change the team. If, in the past, there were players with a solid background, now there are different players with a great potential that the coach will have to develop.
“We remain very competitive and we still want to win, but using a different approach.
“However, we also have many champions such as Chiellini, Bonucci, Danilo, Dybala, Morata, Cuadrado and De Ligt and even our young players are already part of their national teams. Our target remains to win.
“We already know the budget for the future and how much money we can spend on new signings. I am sure we will be able to get other opportunities, signing young prospects, possibly Italians, even if we need to pay attention when making predictions.
“We have to understand which kind of market we’ll face when the pandemic will be over.”
Finally, he provided an update on the ongoing talks with Paulo Dybala’s representatives regarding his new contract.
“Even if there’s a tendency to leave the club at the end of the contract, I remain calm, as it happened with Manuel Locatelli, it doesn’t matter if we need one extra meeting to reach an agreement.
“Both parties want to reach a satisfying agreement, so we are not forced to close the deal after the second meeting.”