Juventus Ready To Exorcise Demons

Five seasons have gone by since Juventus’ relegation to the Serie B, a span which has  yielded only a second division title for the men in black and white. Juventus’ fall from grace over the past few years has been well documented, the Old Lady were victims of their own greed and arrogance, as well as of Italian footballing culture.

However, after yet again finishing the season empty handed last time around, the bianconeri are ready to bounce back; insure that in 2013 they will go without the ignominy of absence from all European competition. The seeds of a successful new year were sown right at the beginning of the summer transfer window, as a host of loanees were made permanent additions; old faces, soon to be complemented by new.

 Andrea Pirlo had already arrived from AC Milan, the veteran regista ready to prove that he still has gas in the tank, and the hunger to pursue a last wave of silverware. Swiss defensive duo Reto Ziegler and Stefan Lichtsteiner joined the Italian on the list of newcomers, moving from Sampdoria and Lazio respectively. Michelle Pazienza also, added a fourth name to the list, trading Naples for Turin, accepting the chance to play for one of Italy’s most legendary clubs.

At the other end of the pitch, Juve’s transfer dealings are particularly fascinating; a move for Sergio Aguero is still in the pipeline, as are ones for Giuseppe Rossi and Carlos Tevez. It seems strange that Juventus are concentrating so much energy on bringing in a high profile striker, they already have five recognized forwards in their ranks, namely, Luca Toni, Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Del Piero, Vincenzo Iaqinta and Alessandro Matri.

Doubtless last season’s mid year striker crisis is the advertised reason for the search, but in fact, Juve’s pursuit of star power shows that they are determined to acquire something more than just a goalscorer. In their transfer dealings so far, the bianconeri are looking to send a message to the World; after years of hibernation, Italy’s most successful club is back.

Respect is foremost on Juve’s transfer radar, respect they lost with Luciano Moggi’s greed, respect that has fallen even farther afield due to a chain of unimpressive seasons. The last trophy Juventus won was a Serie B title, their most important twenty first century super stars either retired or nearing it- Juve are in bad need of a lift, and they’re going out of their way to get it.

So what does all this business mean in respect to the Serie A next season? The top clubs already know they will have to be on their toes, as the safety net of fourth place Champions League qualification is no longer available. Last season heralded the rise of two teams into the Italian top flight’s upper echelon- along with the traditional big boys, clubs like Juventus will have Udinese and Napoli to contend with too.

Even if a big name is attained, Juventus’ chances of Scudetto glory remain remote; the new flow of cash into the red side of the Olimpico will insure a more consistent showing from Luis Enrique’s new club, while both Milan teams are looking to strengthen over the summer.

However, of all the teams jostling for position, Juventus will see themselves as the only worthy candidates to reclaim the title that they have so often called their own. Still haunted by the ghost of Calciopoli, Juventus are working hard to put themselves on the fast track for redemption; whether it will come next year or not, only time will tell.

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