Juve clinging on to directors whilst looking to Udinese

Posted by Mina Rzouki

For once, Juventus are an afterthought for the papers. Milan's Adriano Galliani will resign the club and the footballing world has rightly exploded due to the news. Paolo Maldini will be the new Technical Director but it is expected Milan will continue to recruit to help modernise the club that has struggled this year.

Beppe Marotta has been asked to keep a close eye on his right arm, his partner in crime, Fabio Paratici. With Barbara Berlusconi scouting talent, the worry is her offer will overwhelm the young Sporting Director and convince him to switch allegiances.

This is not the first time Paratici has been approached by another club. The Premier League sides have long been interested in the man who can spot young talent and a mean bargain. However, that is not why he is important or why he is so integral to the Juve cause. Paratici is one of the most connected men in the world of football. He grew up with Filippo Inzaghi and several other footballing legends, counts club Presidents amongst his closest friends and important journalists, such as Gianluca Di Marzio and the boys from La Gazzetta dello Sport and La Stampa adore him.

It was he who suggested Tottenham Hotspurs should look Andre Villas Boas' way, his opinion valued. Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool all approached the Sporting Director, all their proposals considered and then politely declined. He doesn't like to confirm all of them but he does admit Liverpool was a difficult proposition to reject. Why? History. A glorious past makes it difficult for a Director to decline the possibility of forming part of a glorious future.

Was he approached by Milan. Yes. Did he decline? Yes. Will they convince him? We have to wait and see, but it's unlikely.

Financially, Paratici is looking forward to working with a bigger transfer kitty at Juve whilst he's well aware that Milan have to tighten their belts. Every Sporting Director worries about the economical situation of a club and at Juventus, he's guaranteed security and support for his ideas and vision. The Old Lady is a hard club to leave and it's even harder for a man who shares such a close relationship with the Coach, Antonio Conte.

Juve need not worry for the moment, their focus should remain on Udinese, the team they host on Sunday afternoon. There's been only one draw in the last 16 matches between the two sides according to Opta but thankfully for the Bianconeri, they've managed to win the last three matches against Francesco Guidolin's men.

Facing Udinese is always a daunting prospect largely due to the excellent tactics on display and Guidolin's keen ability to extract the best out of his players. However, the side are stuttering this season and for many this was inevitable for a team that has performed above expectations these past few years.

Their main problems lie in attack. Struggling to find the goals, Antonio Di Natale is now fit but his absence proved problematic. Sadly for them, Luis Muriel is now injured. From open play the Zebrette have managed only four goals this season, proving more effective from set pieces.

More adventurous with their tactics, Guidolin has decided to test several different formations this season. Since the match against Catania in early November, he's opted to deploy to a four-man back-line. He played a 4-5-1 shape in that game and they lost but against Fiorentina, we saw Udinese possess greater balance in a 4-2-3-1 formation and the result was a victory for the Friuli club.

In fact in that match last week, Udinese were frightening when they turned it on. The speed at which the played, the stamina they possessed and the manner in which they shut down every effort made by Giuseppe Rossi and co was delightful to watch. This is how we know they can play, difficult to slow down and always eager to push through.

Against Juventus, they don’t want to lose the dangerous edge they seem to have recovered but are keen to adopt a more defensive approach. Reports suggest the coach has studied two different formations, the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-2-1 in hopes of countering the strength of the Old Lady. They will use their pace, they will create danger but more importantly, the will double up when marking to contain the pressure the likes of Carlos Tevez and co can create.

It's likely we will see Claudio Marchisio introduced back into the starting line-up on Sunday afternoon to give one of the other midfielders a chance to rest and it’s possible Paolo De Ceglie will be offered a chance to demonstrate his worth in Kwadwo Asamoah's absence.

The good news is that 12,100 children will be present in the stadium to watch the match. It was initially thought only 9500 would come but the club since confirmed the number has risen.

On their official website, Juventus write: "Since launching on Monday 25 November, the 'Gioca Con Me… Tifa Con Me' project has induced an enthusiastic response from children belonging to Piedmont's educational centres and soccer schools. As the figure of those attending continues to increase, so do the activities on offer for youngsters at Juventus Stadium on Sunday evening."

A great initiative and a great idea, lets hope the children will watch an entertaining match as two of Italy's best coaches are pitted against one another.

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