The transfer window hasn’t even started yet, and some of the most anticipated signings have already been finalised.
Kaka will be unveiled for Real Madrid next Thursday in a sensational move. Cristiano Ronaldo announced that the UCL final in Rome would be his last match for Man U, before going to Real Madrid. Bayern Munich signed Mario Gomez from Stuttgart. Genoa shocked most Inter fans when they managed to sign Quaresma on a dual ownership deal from Inter.
But one club has, more than any other, made the richest of billionaires count their bills and the most talented of footballers practice even more, raising the eyes of many the onlooker: Juventus.
In little over a month, the Old Lady re-signed ex-defender Fabio Cannavaro from Real Madrid on a free, and finalized the long-awaited signing of Diego from Werder Bremen for an estimated £21 million.
But it’s not over yet.
Shortly after sacking underperforming coach Claudio Ranieri, the team, under the guidance of caretaker manager Ciro Ferrara, thrashed Siena 3-0 away from home. And, with more money in Juve President Cobolli Gigli’s pockets yet to be spent, Juventus look set to rise from the ashes of the not so far away Calciopoli, and once again become one of the strongest teams in Europe, and the world. Except this time, there will be no bribing involved.
This is not to say that it will be easy: of course it won’t. A new Galacticos, masterminded by Florentino Perez and Manuel Pellegrini and spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, will definitely not be easy to overcome. A narrowly defeated Bayern Munich, with the likes of Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, and Franck Ribery, and managed by Louis van Gaal, will not be easy.
A rejuvenated Chelsea, under the helm of Carlo Ancelotti and overhauled by Abramovich’s millions, will not be easy. A new, all-conquering Inter chock-full of talented Portuguese recruits and headed by their compatriot, Jose Mourinho, will not be easy. A Kaka-less, but nonetheless menacing, Milan coached by van Basten will not be easy. Arsenal are very, very dangerous with Arshavin; Liverpool have shown what they are capable of; and Barcelona are Barcelona.
Manchester United will find it hard to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, and may well find themselves in the same position of AC Milan. Along with a plethora of more talented teams, among these Wolfsburg, Bordeaux, and AZ Alkmaar, the new, and improved Juve will rise.
Now to the transfer targets. There are always the usual suspects: Diego Lugano, some Valencia player, etc. But there are some tantalizing prospects. Stuttgart’s Serdar Tasci has already penned a deal with Juventus, but will be arriving at the end of the 2009/10 season, and will therefore only play in 2010/11.
Napoli’s Marek Hamsik, eager to escape the clutches of a Europe-less Neapolitan team, has a clause in his contract and may well sign for Juve; negotiations have already commenced. Napoli teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi is in a similar position. Although long-time target Quagliarella was snapped up by Napoli, Partizan’s promising left back Ivan Obradovic has been strongly linked to the Turin club.
Lilian Thuram, perhaps influenced by Fabio Cannavaro, has also hinted he might be considering going out of retirement to rejoin Juve and reunite with the Old Guard: Buffon, Cannavaro, Camoranesi, Del Piero, Trezeguet, and Nedved. Goran Pandev is also a target, but Lazio want big money and Milan are also reportedly in the chase. And of course there is the manager: Antonio Conte, ex-Juve player and director, currently manager of promoted Serie B side Bari, has agreed to become manager. Conte could well be Juve’s Guardiola, as he guided an underachieving Bari team to historic promotion.
An already strong Juve team will be joined by several world-class players, and Europe is trembling, a prelude to the white-and-black-striped earthquake that is about to come. As the famed rapper Kanye West once said, Juventus will come back harder, better, faster, stronger.