Regardless of the level of dissatisfaction at Chelsea following Saturday afternoon’s loss to Manchester City, in which the European champions were beaten and foiled by domestic title holders, the contrast with the mood around for Juventus ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League game in Turin couldn’t be more austere.
Max Allegri’s side sit in the middle place in Serie A, climbing thanks to two narrow wins last week after starting with two points in their first four games. A club that prides itself on its defensive courage has not yet kept its clean sheet and seems to be struggling to maintain its lead.
To make matters worse ahead of their biggest game of the campaign so far, forwards Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala will be sidelined with injuries sustained in the unconvincing 3-2 win over Sampdoria on Sunday morning. Allegri, who returned last month for a second spell, is already wondering if it was fair to reunite with the club that inaugurated him due to a perceived obsolescence after winning five league titles in a row.
Even more concerning is the weakening of Juve’s position off the pitch, with the release of their latest financial results last week painting a grim picture.
The headline to take away was that they recorded losses of â¬ 210million (Â£ 179million) for the year, but there was also a fascinating remark in which it was said that the club remained convinced that the Super League was a legitimate idea.
Owner Andrea Agnelli is one of three original dozen signatories still committed to the idea and given the debt they find themselves in, thanks to questionable transfer investments over a string of years as much as the pandemic. biting hard, it’s obvious why they would be so passionately attached to a cash cow.
Yet with no looming prospect of creating such a league, the club find themselves faced with the reality that they are unlikely to be able to fight for the Champions League in the near or medium future, perhaps. even be struggling to qualify.
Instead of being rightly considered a Champions League favorite every season, they are now, like Barcelona, ââscaling back their ambitions to simply being one of 32 contenders. This is the priority for Allegri for the simple reason that retaining his place at the big ball, which can be worth Â£ 100million for a team going deep, is a must if they are to get out of their financial black hole.
Juve’s income rose from Â£ 489million to Â£ 410million due to empty stadiums imposed by the pandemic last season (Serie A still limits capacity), while their total debt has risen slightly for reach Â£ 332million.
This caused them to cut their fabric and Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure for Manchester United was by far the most important saving measure. That Ronaldo, who was unhappy anyway, could return to Old Trafford for as little as Â£ 13.5million underscored how desperate they were to withdraw his huge salary, around Â£ 46million pre-tax according to the Italian media, off the books. Their current breadwinner defender Matthijs de Ligt earns around Â£ 14.5million before deductions per year.
The transfer window is over and the season is off to a good start
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The Netherlands international has teamed up with veteran Leonardo Bonucci in his leaky defense, with Giorgio Chiellini also still involved and likely to return in a three tomorrow. Their team is always filled with familiar names and a quintet of European Championship winners. But the stardust of yesteryear is missing, and there is no prospect of any first level additions due to their financial situation.
Optimistic fans may think that at the national level their team should be doing well due to the club’s infrastructure, reputation and the fact that a number of rivals have little financial footing. But it is difficult to see how they can compete with Chelsea, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain for the best talent in the world and therefore at the forefront of European football.
So, as Thomas Tuchel and company arrive in northern Italy later today determined to bounce back from the worst performance of her tenure, they will know that the Old Lady is fragile, lacking in power and lack of power. the influence of the old. It can rarely be said that Juventus are an underdog on their own turf, but it can perhaps be a case study of the dangers of overspending on an unattainable goal.