Juventus director of sport Fabio Paratici insists having players who don’t want to leave represents “a positive rather than a negative” following the Serie A champions’ failure to offload Mario Mandzukic, Emre Can and Paulo Dybala this summer.
Having spent big to bring in Matthijs De Ligt, Danilo, Luca Pellegrini, together with the free transfer captures of Gigi Buffon, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, Juventus were looked to reduce their swelled squad by offloading a number of stars.
Among the biggest sale they’d hoped for was Dybala; the attacker linked with a £80million move to Manchester United, while Tottenham continue to be linked having made an approach on the final day of the English transfer window.
Mandzukic was another one who came close to moving on, with a report on Wednesday claiming the Croatian opted against a move to Old Trafford, despite a deadline-day appeal from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Juve also looked to offload Can – a free transfer arrival from Liverpool the summer before – with Bayern Munich and Barcelona both suggested as suitors. He’s since been left out of their Champions League squad and clearly isn’t best pleased.
However, despite the trio all staying at the club, Paratici put a positive spin on having an inflated squad.
“People see it as a negative, but we see it as a positive,” he told Sky Italia. “When we took over many years ago, very few players wanted to come to Juve and quite a lot wanted to leave. Now we are in the opposite situation.
“It’s something to be considered as positive and we thank those players who over the years worked so hard to help the club reach that level.
“It would be mad to say we weren’t satisfied with the last few years. We made changes because we had to bring in above all players to fill the slots that were lacking.
“We brought in Matthijs de Ligt, who last season was one of the best defenders in the Champions League. We brought in Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot in midfield to replace those who left, we brought back Gigi Buffon, who is a legend, and we signed Merih Demiral, who is a very promising young defender.”
New manager Maurizio Sarri is famously no fan of squad rotation, so it was logical that Paratici was asked if he was struggling to deal with this many talented players all pushing for space.
“We are not worried. We ought to be worried if our team is too small. We’re into the fourth game of the season, we’ve already lost Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa to injury,” he continued.
“We’re preparing for a long campaign, which means we need a large squad that is complete, competitive and with strength in depth.”