Juventus lack a natural scorer. We all know that. Didier Drogba is a deadlier finisher in front of goal than Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri or Nicklas Bendtner. We all know that too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that this Old Lady need to sign the Shanghai Shenhua centre-forward in January.
The transfer stories linking Drogba with the Turin giants are understandable considering his pedigree, experience and availability to play in the Champions League. The doubts over the speculated move – which will probably stop it from happening – revolve around the finances of any proposed deal.
Drogba, to put it simply, won’t come cheap. His multi-million pound agreement with his present Chinese outfit underlines that. His club may even demand a fee. And it is with that backdrop, in these difficult economic times, that Juventus would be foolish to invest so heavily in a player – who will be 35 in March – on the basis of helping them to primarily win one competition, that trophy being the European Cup.
Juventus don’t need Drogba for the Scudetto, they are already five points clear at the top of the table with the second best attacking record and best defensive record in the Division. Let’s not even mention the Coppa Italia. It’s in Europe we’re being told that the Bianconeri, a cohesive unit who regularly ripple the net with a variety of players, are lacking a Drogba-type goalscorer.
The eye tells us that, but the statistics don’t. Of the 15 other teams who qualified for the first knock-out stage of the Champions League, only Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich scored more in their six games than La Signora. PSG were the only side with a better goal difference than Juve, one which the latter recorded in a section that contained Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea.
The draw for the last 16 of the competition has also been kind to the Italian club. Although you have to respect a side like Celtic, this Drogba-less Juve will be clear favourites to go through. That’s a good job really as the Ivory Coast international wouldn’t be available for the first leg on February 12 if his country reach the semi-finals of this year’s African Cup of Nations.
You also have to consider that this Juventus unit has time on its side. This present era which began with the appointment of Coach Antonio Conte will not end when this season’s Champions League campaign does. There are still notable margins of improvement to make, ones that don’t need to be jeopardised with lavish spending on a player who would need replacing himself in six or 18 months’ time.
The kind of money being mentioned that would be needed to secure Drogba would make the former Chelsea man the highest or second highest earner at the club – above Gigi Buffon’s €6m or in between that and Andrea Pirlo’s €3.5m. Those figures are after tax. Would those sort of wages not be better spent on a top player with a future from the summer of 2013 onwards?
If, as it says inside the collar of the Juventus shirts, winning was all that mattered then the Turin giants should give Drogba all the money he wants in order to complete a move. But such a sentiment is too simplistic in a game which now has to be played simultaneously with a balance sheet. Hence the decision whether Juve will sign Drogba will ultimately be made by a man with a calculator and not by a Coach with a whistle.
To read the counter piece to this blog, on why Juve should acquire Drogba, please click here.