Time for Secco to pack up
Juventus are an utter and complete mess. There is no other way to describe how this team has been for the majority of the season.
Whether it is managerial inexperience, a team that seems to lack any kind of chemistry on the field, players that don’t fit the system that is trying to be utilized, or an absolute mess of injuries, whatever could wrong has gone wrong.
Sunday's 1-0 loss against Chievo has become an all too familiar sight. It was an awful effort and a loss that took any kind of wind that Juve had in its sails, after Wednesday's 3-0 Coppa Italia victory, away instantly.
Manager Ciro Ferrara has now seen his position with the club again put under question, but what about the man who has assembled the team, Sporting Director Alessio Secco?
It was never going to be an easy task to replace the infamous, yet controversial, transfer guru Luciano Moggi after Juve were demoted to Serie B. Not every one of Moggi’s transfers worked, there were a decent number of busts during his time in Turin, but you can’t deny that many of them were successful.
The same can’t be the same for Secco. His transfer record has been poor, as he continues to spend money on players that fail to make a significant impact with the club.
And the worst part is, as time goes on and money goes down the drain, there seems to be no reason to think it will improve.
This past summer was a perfect example of how Secco failed on the transfer market. Ferrara wanted a desperately needed regista in the form of Udinese midfielder Gaetano D'Agostino. Secco instead went for the defensive-minded Felipe Melo—a move that seems to get worse as the games go by.
Secco's reluctance to identify Juve's true need for long-term defensive upgrades has been a problem since day one—and was only exemplified this summer. Instead of bringing in a center back, which could’ve played alongside Giorgio Chiellini for the next 5-10 years, Secco decided to bring in an aging Fabio Cannavaro, who is a shadow of what he was when he left Turin for Madrid in 2006.
These kinds of mistakes can’t be tolerated any longer. Juventus have as many, if not more, holes to fill this summer when the transfer market opens. The defense has become a bigger issue as Cannavaro’s form continues to go downhill. The same goes for the form of another summer signing, Fabio Grosso, who has seen his form slide as the season goes on.
The optimism that Secco and Co. will be able to identify all of them is seemingly non-existent after the 2009 mercato proves itself to be more and more of a waste of money.
But there can’t be anymore wasting of money. The three spending sprees Secco has gone on since Juve have come back to Serie A have not been effective whatsoever. Nearly €75 million spent on three Brazilians who, for the most part, haven’t contributed much of anything in the grand scheme of things.
Mediocrity is no longer acceptable. The board needs to be put in the hands of people who want to run things more like a football club and less like a business. That doesn’t mean going into massive debt to bring in world-class players like other clubs have, but it does have to include people who know the right kinds of players to buy at the right price.
As of now, there is no plan for what to do on the transfer market. Secco seems to be making the same mistakes he has been but with more money available to him, he has made them more expensive.
Juventus need a new plan and a new vision for how the club needs to do things, both on the field and in the boardroom. That plan shouldn’t involve Secco because he has proven that his plans fail year after year.
Chiellini is absolutely right when he says Juventus are embarrassing themselves on the field, like they did against Chievo. This is not the Juventus he has come to know and fight for. It is not the kind of club that Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, and Pavel Nedved stayed with for the lone year of purgatory in Serie B.
This club is a disaster with no end in sight. From top to bottom, things must change if Juventus wants to get back to where they once were. It won’t be a quick fix and there won’t be any kind of instant gratification.
It’s time to clean house and start fresh.
The ultimate question still remains—will the people running the show recognize it?
Danny Penza is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, the open source sports network.