Serie A

Juve planning for next year already

After their elimination from the Champions League Juventus are already looking at the transfer market. They need reinforcements in every department if they want to return to winning ways: Diego and Silva remain the obvious alternatives to Cassano, but Hamsik has also emerged as a possibility

Playing Alessandro Del Piero and Antonio Cassano in the same team is an ambitious but complicated undertaking. The difficulties are not so much technical as environmental. Del Piero’s contract expires in June 2010 and he is likely to want a renewal in the hope of being able to play in his final World Cup. Cassano’s arrival might cast a bit of a shadow over this.

 On his part, Cassano is also attracted by Lippi and needs to reflect before saying yes to Juve. Rivalry in such a contained environment could be dangerous. This is why club bosses have been discussing the issue over recent weeks. Juventus’s interest in the Sampdoria player is now apparent. However if there is no agreement on Del Piero’s future, there is a danger that Operation Cassano may be postponed for a year. That is if Internazionale don’t go for him first…

Claudio Ranieri’s words were not chosen randomly. The coach is working out with Blanc and Secco how best to invest in the transfer market. It is apparent how much Cassano is a priority. With the 20 million euro clause and a 4.5 million euros signing fee it is already clear that this operation comes within the club’s financial parameters. Indeed, it is cheaper than the other options. For example, Werder Bremen are still asking 25 million euros for Diego and the Brazilian expects a 4 million plus signing fee. However, it is plain that the doubts about Diego have always been to do with Del Piero, plus the fact that he is less of a finisher than Cassano. Ranieri is still pursuing Valencia’s David Silva, a left-sided player, perfect for 4-4-2. However, Barcelona are also after him, so he won’t be going anywhere for under 30 million. The player is attracted by the Catalan giants.

A quick decision has to be made about these players, partly so as to plan what best to do about the other targets. A central defender is needed to relieve Knezevic (who won’t be sold), while Zebina’s recovery needs assessing and a possible replacement found.

The pursuit of the Slovak Hamsik is also linked to the future of Tiago and Poulsen. It will cost a lot to take him from Napoli, at least 35 million euros and there won’t be any discounts. Finally, the attack depends on Iaquinta and Trezeguet. If one of them were to leave, discussions are already under way with Udinese for Fabio Quagliarella.