Paying Forward

Taking on Juventus with a 30.5 average aged first team was always going to require transition for longevity of the club, even if that meant a little sacrifice along the way although sitting as the 2nd most successful trophy hauling side over 15 seasons isn’t all too bad.

The club, now those seasons later, sit in a far more manageable position on all-fronts, as previously overviewed; with a squad that can compete in all competitions, season on season, but perhaps now might actually be a little short of winning any competitions, bar perhaps the Youth Cup, going from the S15 showing; D1 – 2nd, Cup 4th Round, Shield QF, WCC; QF, Youth Cup; Final.

But, in ‘Paying Forward’ perhaps now The “Young Lady” is only counting down time until a realistic haul of competition wins comes in spades, however a few bumps along the road are going to always cause issues.

In recent seasons, Juventus have sacrificed big current ratings for the long term big talents, slowly trading up the youth pile until a projected ‘moment’ where player ratings align collectively in the squad to enable a more realistic challenge in the League, or perhaps another run at the cup & shield. Juve have almost been in this position before & similar issues are bound to bubble to the surface again, of course here I refer to Juve’ perhaps more constant issue than rival clubs, ‘concerns’.

A few seasons back, around S12/13, Juve needed to sell 2-3 players in the 91-95 bracket due to the depth of numbers in the area, meaning no matter the rotation, concerns would keep levelling for players & eventually deals for the sales of Bruno Fernandes, Leroy Sane & Ferland Mendy were sanctioned as the club went again towards another waiting period. Of course, that cruel bitch, hindsight, could suggest the move would have been to take the plunge on the likes of a Robert Lewandowski, at that time at Chelsea & push on with a few 94+ ratings that would close the consistent 0.7-1.2 rating difference of strongest 11s to the title challenging pair of Barcelona & Chelsea in the past 5 seasons.

Instead, Foden was the chosen one, a player still not breaking into a star studded real life Man City team, but a player like no-other I’d seen in person since watching Kaka at the San Siro in 2006. In addition, Jadon Sancho was already on the books, a fellow Man City academy watched player now tearing it up in Dortmund, but more was needed. Bukayo Saka was yet to break through & still seen as a talent with an unlikely chance to prove his ability in the Arsenal first team & Benoit Badiashile had just been acquired from FC Porto in the Bruno Fernandes deal, another raw French CB but with the perfect build & left footed diag to undoubtedly ensure his continued rise to new heights.

Some time later & the depth in the squad at the 90-93 level has significantly dropped, the last of the two concern adding players, Paulo Dybala & Sergej Milinkovic-Savic used to bring in two of the worlds best young talents in Jamal Musiala & Pedri Gonzalez, adding to Gio Reyna & Florian Wirtz whom joined in the period between for vast depths in numbers of players used for their hopeful reaching of their potential.

In paying forward, the chance now presents itself for the high end of the squad by age & big ratings to be caught by some of the worlds best talented youngsters in a mesh of ratings peaking simultaneously. As the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Jan Oblak, Marquinhos & Joshua Kimmich hit peak ratings at ages on the 30 border, the youth of Foden, Saka, Pedri, Musiala, Reyna & Wirtz can breach 20-23 years & 89-93 ratings in theory giving a rounded squad a push to challenge the consistent top 2 of the past 5 or so seasons in Chelsea & Barca.

Naturally problems will again come in the form of concerns, but maybe this time a transfer for two up the chain of ratings & ages at the sacrifice of one of the worlds best talents may make the difference, instead of the long term approach of past whereby a Bruno Fernandes was sacrificed over a Phil Foden. Juventus additional failure to date will also be that of not being able to tie down two of footballs biggest young CFs in Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland, both of Hellas Verona, whom have turned down themselves bids detailing 3+ 92+ players on multiple occasions. The time may come where the abundance of attacking midfield talent can pay forward to the next manager with that elusive CF talent if Romelu Lukaku cannot maintain & push on for the 95+ ratings required of the D1s title winning sides of past.

To the benefit of Juve however, may come the time where the ageing squad of Barcelona is no longer able to refresh in both rating & competitive age, leaving the door open for Juve to climb through. In theory the transition of Chelsea to go again however, likely earmarks them as the longer term threat to any pushes from Juve to get over the line in the league under DP. Only time will tell & plenty more change will come to all competitors in D1 & beyond in the cups, but one thing is for sure, trophies should follow for the “Young Lady” in time, the depth of talent in the squad must surely see that come to fruition if managed well & timed right.


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