x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Frugal dealings at Juventus need to be applauded

Juve, who only spent €15 million (Dh73m) more than they brought, are becoming an envied example in a game which needs economic discipline.

Antonio Conte, the Juventus head coach, felt grumpy when the transfer window closed. The late sale of striker Alex Matri, and the earlier one of Emanuele Giaccherini to Sunderland had, he declared, "weakened his squad".

The fact that Matri's destination was AC Milan had also strengthened a direct rival, he fumed.

On the latter point, his frustration was understandable. But any claim the Serie A title holders are worse off for personnel compared with the resources Conte had for his last two triumphant seasons was quickly dismissed by Beppe Marotta, the club's technical director.

Sometimes, executives in Marotta's position, who authorise buying and selling, get too much credit for a team's success and too little criticism when plans go wrong.

But Conte should acknowledge that Juve have done well by him. They are deft operators in a complex marketplace.

Juve, who only spent €15 million (Dh73m) more than they brought in through sales this summer, are becoming an envied example of a shrewd-but-ambitious business practice in a game which needs economic discipline. Juve also need to be exemplary.

They are a club which, before Moratta and Conte were in charge, were at the heart of a damaging scandal over manipulating referees and financially hurt by their subsequent 2006 relegation. The recovery has been relatively swift; the mistake would be to complete it in an extravagant rush.

sports@thenational.ae

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