When Cristiano Giuntoli arrived, many Bianconeri dreamed of immediate ramifications, and immediate ramifications there were indeed, although not the kind for which fans were hoping. Sergej Milinković-Savić, whose “is he coming to Juve this summer?” saga has finally be at an end, is off to the land of silly salaries, and young fullback Fabiano Parisi, whom nobody talked about all season long but is suddenly a club-altering acquisition in the eyes of some, seems on the cusp of a move to Fiorentina. Two connected players, two misses.
With less than 40 days until the start of the season, there’s a ton of work to do for the Old Lady’s new sporting director. Here, though, is the truth about the momentous arrival of Cristiano Giuntoli, who I truly believe is the best thing to happen to this club in a long time: Giuntoli did not come to Turin so Juventus to sign big names with big salaries (like Milinković-Savić) or the newest name everyone on the block is clamoring about (like Parisi).
The road ahead is going to be long, painful, and cheap. But that’s exactly why Giuntoli is here.
This is going to take longer than you want
The world moves fast these days. So fast, it seems, that honest reflection and contemplation sometimes seem like relics of an ancient era. Patience is, allegedly, a virtue, but not a prized one.
The first difficult reality to face in the reconstruction — we hope, at least — of Juventus is the fact that this is going to take a long time. I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but even in the most cash-flush situations, building a good team doesn’t happen overnight. Manchester City has been reeling off domestic titles and trophies for a while now, but they only just this year won the prize after which their money suggested they sought. Chelsea gave the world a first-row seat at the fact that money doesn’t buy overnight success on the pitch this year after they spent half a billion dollars in January.
The notion that Juventus, on a shoestring budget, now with the additional obstacle of no European football next year, all of this with a veritable boatload of players who needed to be offload for any price possible — every penny Giuntoli can scrape back on some of these players will be impressive to me — the notion that all of this is going to happen quickly is ridiculous. We’re not playing a video game, and we’re not Chelsea. The club seems to be owning up to the reality that this is truly a rebuild, not a reload.
This is going to be more painful than you want
I don’t think anyone around here wants to see Dušan Vlahović or Federico Chiesa sold this summer. Even if both players experienced difficulty last campaign, even if the formation the manager chooses isn’t perfectly suited to their talents, you never want to sell your most potent players — especially when they’re young and still full of more room for growth, as these two are.
Nonetheless, it seems that getting closer to balancing the books might require the departure of one or more of the club’s star players, or someone like Samuel Iling-Junior, who has shown scintillating promise, and who ostensibly fits the tactical direction of the team, but who might be low-hanging fruit if a mid-table English club feels like taking a swing.
I am prepared to be very disappointed and sad at least once this summer with someone Juventus sells, and sometimes I feel like I should be prepared for more.
This is going to be afforded a smaller budget than you want
SMS is gone, but SMS is not the profile Juventus are after right now.
I believe that the day Juventus acquire a name that nobody here has heard of, from a country I need to look up on a map, on terms that seem so tedious and strange that they appear preposterous, is the day we know Giuntoli is doing the job he was brought here to do. I don’t think this is a situation in which Giuntoli walked into the Juventus offices for the first time and was shocked to see the reality before him; he signed a contract through 2028. Everybody here knows this is going to take a lot of time with a little money and not a little pain.
Like every other club on the planet right now, Juventus might be looking to Saudi Arabia for a deus ex machina. Whether that’s the Paul Pogba rumors that picked up steam over the weekend and don’t seem to be slowing down or the offloading of someone we don’t necessarily expect like Arthur Melo, although something out of the blue from the Arabian peninsula might jumpstart the Giuntoli project a bit, there is nothing that could occur this summer that would suddenly give Juventus the purchasing power we wish she had.
This is the reality for Juventus fans. It’s not a rosy one, and there are some starker realities I didn’t even touch on here that might even be more disturbing to ruminate on in the future — the state of the Italian league compared to England, for example — but for now it’s time to buckle up and double down on the meaning of fino alla fine.