Blog entry by Elissa Nunan

by Elissa Nunan - Saturday, 19 August 2023, 12:30 PM
Anyone in the world

By Anita Kobylinska

Aug 17 (Reuters) - Juventus will look to approach the new season with a clean slate in their efforts to return to Europe's elite after a trophyless campaign shrouded by a financial scandal, a points deduction and backing out of the European Super League project.

Juve finished seventh last season due to a 10-points deduction for false accounting practices and qualified for the third-tier Conference League -- a far cry from their once lofty ambitions as founding members of the doomed Super League.

With Juve initiating the procedure to pull out of the Super League and being banned from UEFA competitions in 2023-24 for breaching licensing and Financial Fair Play rules, they will miss out on European football for the first time in 12 years.

That leaves Massimiliano Allegri's side focusing on domestic competitions as the Turin-based club begin their first full season under a new board after the exit of disgraced former chairman Andrea Agnelli.

He had been in charge for more than a decade but resigned in November before he was hit with a 16-month football ban.

"The most important thing is to have enthusiasm again. We are returning from a very difficult year, but now we have put it behind us," Juve midfielder Manuel Locatelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Yes, I think we can talk about rebirth, because it has to be that way."

However, Juve's challenges ahead of the new season extend on to the pitch too.


The club have lost veteran wingers Angel Di Maria and Juan Cuadrado, while the future of former captain Leonardo Bonucci remains uncertain just days before the new campaign amid the defender's reported tensions with the coach.

Whether 75 million euro striker Dusan Vlahovic stays in Turin is also up in the air amid Italian media reports of a swap deal for Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku, who was on loan at Inter Milan last season.

Arkadiusz Milik could be a key figure should Vlahovic leave with Juve making the Poland striker's loan move from Olympique de Marseille permanent after he impressed with nine goals last season.

But so far the only reinforcements Juve have signed are Timothy Weah, the 23-year-old U.S.

winger who arrived from Lille and played in pre-season wins over AC Milan and Real Madrid, and 20-year-old defender Facundo Gonzalez from Valencia.

Juventus did, however, recruit a new sports director in Cristiano Giuntoli after the 51-year-old ended an eight-year spell at Napoli where his eye for talent such as striker Victor Osimhen helped the club end a 33-year wait for the Scudetto.

France midfielder Paul Pogba remains one of Juve's biggest assets and Allegri will hope he can finally contribute again in his second stint with the club after knee surgery and muscle injuries restricted him to 161 minutes last season.

The Frenchman joined the squad for their U.S.

pre-season tour but did not play.

Juve crashed out of the Champions League group stage last season before they were knocked out in the Europa League semi-finals. But, with no European distractions this season, the Serie A is now their top priority.

A good start will be crucial to Allegri's side and on paper they have an ideal springboard when they face mid-table teams in their first three games, starting with Udinese on Sunday followed by Bologna and Empoli.

They will then face their first serious test when they host last season's runners-up Lazio on Sept.

16. (Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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