The Diego Conundrum, to sell or to keep?

Posted on 17/08/2010

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By Mina Rzouki | Football Italiano

The big question on everyone’s lips is will Juventus really allow Diego to join Wolfsburg for €16m and potentially lose their heir to Alessandro Del Piero? Despite the widespread criticism of the Juventus tifosi who have dubbed him a waste of money, this potential transfer has struck a chord with the fans and many now live in hope that his sale is nothing but a rumour and that come September, the Brazilian trequartista will still be a Bianconero. If nothing more, Diego adds technical talent and star quality to a side that is deemed average at best.


Unfortunately for Diego, this term Luigi Del Neri’s squad is one that will play with two holding midfielders in order to give his wingers the run of the pitch thus paving the way for burly defensive midfielders and a tall striker who feeds off crosses. So where does that leave Diego? Del Neri has reiterated his faith in the Brazilian and evidence proves that the two can work together simply by looking at the Coach’s past experience with Cristiano Doni. Diego’s excellent form in pre-season that culminated in an outrageous goal against Milan in the TIM trophy also helps his cause. However many argue that considering the strength and weaknesses of the squad, not to mention Del Neri’s preferred style of play, Diego will never live up to his potential when surrounded by these mediocre players.

Diego is a player who thrives off movement and in love with the idea of playing a quick one two with an intelligent forward. He knows when to deliver a through ball, he is well versed in the art of shooting from distance and moreover, he is a perfect candidate for dead ball situations. At Santos, he proved a sensation by boasting a variety of skills and techniques that had the Samba nation excited at his potential. However, his talent was made abundantly clear only because he was working with Robinho who could exploit the playmaker’s skill and effectively show him off. Their partnership proved lethal as their qualities aligned to create a truly attractive attacking force. Robinho’s footwork, mercurial speed and dribbling abilities made him the ideal forward to play with Diego as the duo’s tricks and flicks and fancy one two’s made them a scoring machine who made history for their team as they won the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2002.

At Werder Bremen, Diego once again found his thrilling form and became a focal point of the German team as he alongside Torsten Frings controlled the midfield and dominated possession. Frings’ abilities were vital for Diego who desperately requires a versatile midfielder to both break up play and deliver those all important passes that save the playmaker from having to track back. However when he arrived at Juve, the Brazilian was without both a Xabi Alonso style of player and a fast moving striker. As such, we saw the creative engine lose his magic and only his weaknesses, that we once heard he had, were illuminated under the light of the Stadio Olimpico. The coaches poor tactics meant Diego was constantly marked out of a game. Furthermore, immobile strikers ahead of him who possessed neither the movement nor ability to create space for that important through ball meant that Diego’s talents were rendered ineffective for a side that continually disappointed.

Without efficient full-backs that could push up and pull defenders away from the playmaker or midfielders who could penetrate the wings, Diego would often move around the pitch horizontally seemingly confused as to who he should pass to once he reached the final third. Due to the delay, he would often lose possession thus allowing the opposition a chance to counter-attack much to the dismay of onlookers. As such, Tuttosport have argued that Diego, one of the few Bianconeri players that retain a respectable market value, should be sold to make way for further investments and perhaps that all elusive central midfielder that can dictate tempo and run the midfield.

However, losing Diego may prove to be a grave mistake for Beppe Marotta who appears reluctant to go ahead with the transfer. Not only will they make a loss on the transfer but they will be losing a marketable asset that has boosted product sales and pulled in the viewers. Juventus’ Official store once stated that: “For each Del Piero shirt sold today, Diego sold two.” Financially the sale of Diego is a mistake and in football, they will be losing that captivating player who has the potential to unleash a vast array of technical skill that can bewilder his opponent. Under the tutelage of Del Neri and allowed the chance to play further up the field and with attacking wingers who can share the workload, should Diego not be given another chance?

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