Cristiano Giuntoli to leave Napoli for Juventus: How can he put new life into the Old Lady?

Cristiano Giuntoli played a big part in making Napoli champions. Now, though, he could be set to move north to Juventus and attempt a big rebuilding project in Turin.

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Napoli won the third Serie A title in their history in 2022/23, and the efforts of those involved have not gone unnoticed, especially the work of sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli.

After the departures of the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, and Lorenzo Insigne in the previous summer, Giuntoli replaced them with footballers such as Kim Min-jae, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and Giovanni Simeone, and the Partenopei went on the win their first scudetto since 1989/90.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that John Elkann, the CEO of Exor (the holding company that owns Juventus), wants to lure the Napoli sporting director to the Bianconeri so he can rebuild the squad after the capital gains investigation.

Giuntoli would have an astronomical task on his hands, having to deal with the current squad, assess players on loan, finding reinforcements, and make a decision on the future of coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Cutting costs and selling players

Moise Kean and Weston McKennie celebrate for Juventus. (@juventusfcen)

Limiting the expenditure of Juventus will be one of Giuntoli’s first tasks if he is appointed sporting director at the Bianconeri, and he will have to sell some players to generate funds.

American midfielder Weston McKennie is on loan at Leeds United and there is an option for the English Premier League club to buy him outright whereas Denis Zakaria is unlikely to be acquired by Chelsea on a permanent deal.

The focus will be to keep the key components that are already in the Juventus squad while also phasing out some of the so-called dead weight. If McKennie does not join Leeds permanently, Brighton Hove and Albion are reportedly interested in the 24-year-old.

If selling players becomes too difficult, then Juventus will send a few players on loan to other clubs to reduce the wage bill. Arthur Melo flopped at Liverpool, but he is not wanted at La Vecchia Signora either, therefore he will probably be loaned out to another club. The aforementioned Zakaria will likely face the same fate and not feature for the club in 2023/24.

Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic celebrates. [@juventusfcen]

Current Juventus squad in a transitional phase

It is likely that a few Juventus stalwarts will leave the club or retire altogether at the end of this season.

Captain Leonardo Bonucci is one of the remnants of the squad that won nine consecutive Serie A titles from 2012 until 2020 and he is likely to announce his retirement. Meanwhile, Juan Cuadrado is expected to leave, and Alex Sandro will leave in June 2024 if he extends his contract for another season.

Danilo is expected to become captain while Manuel Locatelli and Federico Chiesa are also expected to play leadership roles for La Vecchia Signora in the future. However, they cannot carry this squad and need adequate support.

Giuntoli still required to bring in squad reinforcements

Although Juventus cannot spend lavishly, Giuntoli will be required to acquire some established players.

If the Bianconeri were to participate in multiple competitions in 2023/24, a new defender and winger are required as well as reinforcements in midfield and attack. However, there will be more focus on youngsters if La Vecchia Signora do not participate in Europe next season.

Regardless of the circumstances, Juventus still want to purchase more players with experience to nurture the young players that are emerging.

Allegri in doubt after recent results

Massimiliano Allegri reacts. (REUTERS/Massimo Pinca)

It has been a tough season for Juventus and their coach Allegri, having to deal with a plethora of injuries and point deductions in Serie A.

After an ignominious group-stage exit from the Champions League, the Bianconeri dropped into the Europa League and reached the semi-finals before losing to Sevilla. Meanwhile, the Livorno native had kept La Vecchia Signora in a position to qualify for the Champions League when the points penalty had been suspended temporarily.

However, a crestfallen Juve squad were humiliated 4-1 by Empoli after the announcement that the club would get a 10-point penalty in Serie A, hindering their chances of European qualification if UEFA do not decide to ban them.

Elkann has been a supporter of Allegri in the past, but his job could be at risk, and Giuntoli would have to find another coach to replace him.

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