It has been five years since Juventus were relegated to Serie B as a result of their involvement in the Calciopoli scandal, where General Director Luciano Moggi was found to have influence the selection of referees for Juventus games. Juve were subsequently stripped of the 2005 & 2006 scudetto’s and relegated to Serie B, where they started the following season with a nine-point deduction. Despite the loss of Cannavaro, Thuram and Ibrahimović, Juventus were able to bounce back at the first attempt and regained their place amongst the elite of Italian football.
However, since their return they have been unable to mount a serious title challenge. They finished 2nd and 3rd in their first two seasons back in the top flight, and have finished 7th in the last two campaigns.
After two seasons sharing Torino’s revamped Stadio Olimpico di Torino, Juve will start the forthcoming campaign at their new home, built on the site of their old ground, the Stadio delle Alpi (The Stadium of the Alps). As well as the new stadium, the fans of the Old Lady are also excited about the positive steps the club have taken in the summer to bolster the squad and challenge for the title again under new manager Antonio Conte. Whilst Paris St-Germain and Manchester City have attacked the majority of the European headlines when it comes to big spending, Juventus have themselves invested over €70m on new players.
Andrea Pirlo has joined from AC Milan on a free transfer, along with former Tottenham full-back Reto Ziegler and Michele Pazienza, also free transfers from Sampdoria and Napoli respectively. The most expensive purchases of the summer were forwards Alessandro Matri from Cagliari and Mirko Vučinić from Roma, at an estimated cost of €15.5 each. Marco Motta and Simone Pepe both signed permanent deals after loan spells from Udinese. Fabio Quagliarella also signed permanently for €10m after spending 2010/11 on loan with the club. The final additions were Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal and Swiss full-back Stephan Lichtstenier from Bayer Leverkusen and Lazio.
With the new striking additions adding to an already impressive although slightly aged forward line of Alessandro Del Piero, Luca Toni and Vincenzo Iaquinta, Juventus should have plenty of goals in them this season. The much maligned Felipe Melo has moved on loan to Galatasary of Turkey and the steel will be provided by Vidal. The additions in defence especially of Lichtstenier should give Juve more solidity at the back along with the ability to create from the back line.
With ten new signings, one thing for certain is that the squad has much greater depth that it has in recent years. If the players gel and the club settle in to their new home quickly, 2011/12 could be a great season for Juventus. They will not have the distraction of European football and can focus all their attentions on Serie A.
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