Fabio Grosso, Hasan Salihamidžić & The Old Lady’s Dignity

Posted on 05/11/2010

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When taking control of the club this summer Andrea Agnelli & Beppe Marotta had a clear vision of where they wanted to be when the transfer window closed. They had a solid financial plan in place to shape the squad, & also took much consideration over the needs of Gigi Delneri on the playing side. This would ensure the coach had the players at his disposal to implement his tactical & technical ideas & give Juventus the best chance of success where it matters most.
Some of those decisions gained instant respect from fans – the annulment of Jonathan Zebina’s contract, the forced transfer of Christian Poulsen, the acceptance of a loss on Portuguese flop Tiago, the refusal to offer Fabio Cannavaro a second season. Others were viewed with caution, although the reasons behind them were clear – the sale of Diego, the release of David Trezeguet & Mauro Camoranesi.
Almost every player moving in or out of the club formed a part of the ideal scenario of the new management & arguably only two players stopped the summer mercato being perfectly in line with this plan. Fabio Grosso & Hasan Salihamidžić were both offered the same offer to rescind their contracts as Zebina & both allegedly turned down a number of moves, although in the case of Salihamidžić this is a much less clear issue. Various sources report the Bosnian utility player had offers to join Frankfurt among others, but it seems to not be the case.
Grosso has two years left on his lucrative contract while Brazzo’s deal expires in June, leaving him free to negotiate with other clubs from January. Both men were excluded from the UEFA squad list & left to train with the youth team during the summer months, clear indicators they were no longer considered a part of the squad. When the window closed & both remained, Delneri brought them back to train with the first team, although they have not been named to any match day squads & have remained in Turin when the team is playing away from home.
These attempts at forcing the players to accept moves away, particularly in the case of Grosso, form the basis of the Italian players association dispute with the league over players being left to train with the youth side if no longer wanted. The dispute has dragged on for weeks & the threat of strike action remains very real even if the chances of an actual strike is extremely remote.
The Bianconeri are in the midst of a real injury crisis, & those injuries most affect the fullback positions these two outcasts play. There is widespread speculation that the two will be recalled for this Sunday’s game against Cesena. Given that neither has seen competitive action since last season there must be huge doubts over their readiness for first team action, with match sharpness impossible to maintain in training games alone.
Including them in the squad would weaken the leagues position in the labour dispute, & also looks like an embarrassing climb-down to fans of the club who believed that in the case of Salihamidžić the treatment was unwarranted. Giorgio Chiellini was only rested as a precaution, Zdeněk Grygera & Armand Traoré are expected to return in around two weeks, the emergence of Simone Pepe at fullback & the seemingly lighter schedule over that same period makes battling through without these two players much easier.
Following Thursday nights Salzburg game the squad will be bolstered by the availability of Fabio Quagliarella & Alberto Aquilani, while Delneri will also hope to have Felipe Melo & Giorgio Chiellini fit by Sunday. The performances of the youth team players gives even more options, & should allow the management to maintain their original standpoint.
Whether you agree with the principles of the initial decision or not is immaterial, what matters is the direction the club takes cannot be allowed to shift merely because of a few injuries. Surely it is much better to allow the Pepe experiment to continue & give room to the developing talent in the Primavera than to bring back to players who are clearly surplus to requirements? For these reasons Fabio Grosso & Hasan Salihamidžić should remain on the outside looking in.
Source: Il Tifosi
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