Is Rafa Benitez the right man to reignite ‘The Old Lady’?

The speculation surrounding Rafa Benitez taking the Juventus job in the summer just won’t go away but is he really the right man for the job?

Juventus have endured a terrible season and currently find themselves in 6th place in Serie A, with Champions League qualification looking unlikely. The club failed miserably in Europe as well crashing out of the group stages of the Champions League with a humiliating 4-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich. The humiliations also haven’t stopped there with the club suffering another 4-1 defeat at the hands of Fulham in the Europa League, despite leading the first leg of their game 3-1. The Old Lady need wholesale changes in the summer from the playing staff, the coaching staff and the club’s hierarchy all have been to blame for the club’s dismal season. Juve have had two managers this season but neither Ciro Ferrara or Alberto Zaccheroni has been able to put together a good sequence of performances.

Strangely Juventus’ season has been similar to Liverpool’s, both clubs were expected to challenge for the league this season but both now find themselves struggling to qualify for the Champions League. However a positive aspect for the Reds is that they are in the Europa League Semi-Final. If Benitez were to become Juve manager in the summer then he would be a vast improvement on what the club have had in the last few years and the first manager since Fabio Capello to have won a major trophy. However it would be interesting whether or not Benitez’ style would work in Italy, granted his preferred formation of 4-2-3-1 may well suit Juventus as it would allow creative players like Giovinco and Diego to pull the strings. But it remains to be seen whether his use of squad rotation and zonal marking would have a good effect, when Capello last won the Scudetto he used a settled squad that would only be tinkered when players had injuries and suspensions. Also man-marking is commonly used in Italy, where they are arguably perfectionists of the art and zonal marking may not suit a lot of players, particularly Giorgio Chiellini who is naturally very good at man-marking.

Also Rafa has spent a lot of money in his time at Anfield and arguably his only good signings have been Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano and Pepe Reina. Juve have already shelled out a lot of money this past summer to bring in the likes of Diego and Felipe Melo can ill afford to spend a great deal of money again without getting a return on it. Although Benitez wouldn’t be a bad appointment for Juventus, they would probably be better off in getting Cesare Prandelli from Fiorentina. Whilst Prandelli has yet to win anything he has slowly built up a good reputation in Italy with his work at Parma and Fiorentina and deserves a crack at managing a big team. Unlike most Italian managers today he is not afraid to play attacking football, as was shown in the Champions League this season when his Fiorentina side were able to beat Liverpool home and away. Being a former Juve player, one would feel that he would have a better sense of how to run the club and what signings the Bianconeri would need to make this summer.

Most importantly Juve need to become competitive again, not just for themselves but for the good of football, they have a proud tradition of being one of football’s elite but are now surely only in that bracket because of their name. So whether Benitez, Prandelli or someone else arrives in Turin at the end of the season they simply have to win something in order to restore some much needed pride to this great club.

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