Wednesday, December 3 rd, 2014
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Evra's arrival is a sign of decadence for Juventus (and Serie A)
In the last week Juve finally concluded what seemed to be one of the longest transfers saga’s of the summer. Patrice Evra is officially a Bianconero. But is this really the move that a now Conte-less Old Lady should be making?
by Richard Clarke
Evra is no stranger to Calcio as he began his career playing in Italy’s lower leagues featuring for Marsala and Monza for whom he initially played as a forward. His first spell in Italy was short lived and he returned to play in his adopted country France with Nice and Monaco. It was at Monaco that the Senegalese born player truly made his mark as a pacey left-back and it did not take long for Europe’s top clubs to come calling. Man Utd signed Evra in 2005 and the left-footer enjoyed enviable success with the legendary English club winning 5 league titles and a Champions League to boot.

This summer, with the arrival of Luke Shaw, Evra has found himself surplus to requirements in Manchester with Juventus picking up the veteran defender for a reported £1.2 million. Is the ageing Frenchman good company for the old lady?

Patrice Evra has undoubtedly been one of the best left-back’s to grace the Premier League in the last 10 years but now at the age of 33 the Frenchman has surely seen better days. The measured pace of the Italian game will suit his aged legs but surely an ambitious club like Juventus should be making a youthful singing to fill the defensive void on their left side. If new manager Allegri is to play with a flat back four then it seems that Evra will be his starting man but still just a stop gap solution to a bigger problem. The France international has been signed to a 2 year contract with the champions which highlights a degree of faith in his ability but by the end of his spell in Turin he will be 35; this is hardly a forward thinking transfer.

Last season was a disaster for Evra and Manchester Utd with the former champions finishing 7th in the league. The Frenchman and the Man Utd defence as a whole endured an error-ridden campaign which will not fill Juventus fans with confidence, However one piece of scant consolation the Old Lady supporters can take is that Evra was one of the few Man Utd defenders that did manage to put in some solid performances as their season dragged on. His overall campaign can be summed up with his performance against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena; he scored a delightful volley to kindle hope for the Manchester club only to undo his good work almost immediately with a costly error that allowed the Germans to equalise. We will have to wait and see which Evra will turn up in the black and white of Juve.

One thing that Evra has an abundance of is experience. Juve have acquired a player who has won everything at club level and this kind of influence can not be underestimated. Evra’s presence may prove invaluable in a season that is shaping up to be the most challenging campaign that the Old Lady have faced in years as they look to maintain their title with a squad still reeling from the departure of their charismatic leader; Antonio Conte.

A potential worry some Bianconeri fans may have is their new signings temperament. Evra was sighted as the ringleader of France’s scandalous strike during World Cup 2010. The protest shamed the country and many of Evra’s compatriots, including Juventus legend Lilian Thuram, called for Evra to be banned permanently from the national team. It will be interesting to see how the Frenchman fits into the Juventus dressing room which is already bursting with big personalities.

Evra’s arrival at Juve emphasises a worrying trend that Serie A sides seem to be following in looking to cast-offs from superior leagues to fill their squads. This may be a short-term solution to fill a vacant position with an experienced head but this tendency is hampering the development of young Italian players and the quality of the league as a whole. Juventus have often been guilty of discarding young home-grown talent for foreign experience. Just ask Domenico Criscito, Sebastian Giovinco, Antonio Nocerino and Ciro Immobile what they think of this lack of trust in youth. Evra is just the latest ex-Premier League star to opt to potentially finish their career in Italy following the moves of Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Cole.

Patrice Evra arrives at Juventus during an unusual and uncertain time for the club. The Bianconeri have reportedly deemed it suitable to ingratiate their new signing with a hefty pay packet; Evra is reputably on an yearly salary of just under £3 million per annum. Is this a suitable allocation of their supposed finite wage budget? Many fans will argue not and once again question the leadership and transfer strategy of a certain Giuseppe Marotta. The signing of Evra does smack of a lack of ambition from the title holders. After a world cup summer where new exciting players come to the fore Juventus would have surely been better served signing a young left-back like Marcos Rojo or Daley Blind? This failure to think ‘big’ is culpable for the diminished stature of Calcio. A club like Juventus should be vying with Europe’s elite to sign the best young players available but once again Serie A has finished behind its competitors in the transfer market.

Juventus were the third highest grossing club in European football last year so a lack of financial support really isn’t an excuse any more. As the recently departed Conte so poignantly put it, ‘You can’t dine at the Ritz with 10 euros’.

Sunday, July 27 th, 2014
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