Big spenders Juventus beef up solid line-up

Rome, Sept. 2,
(GNA/dpa) – Serie A champions Juventus strengthened an already impressive
line-up by bringing back Juan Cuadrado from Chelsea in the late hours of the
transfer market and appear to have only postponed another high-profile deal.

“Thank God I return
home and with my team-mates we will try to win everything,” the fast
Colombian winger tweeted late Wednesday, welcoming the chance of a second
season with the Bianconeri after Chelsea kept him sidelined in the first three
games of the Premier League season.

The Old Lady came
close to buying Belgian midfield talent Axel Witsel from Zenit Saint Petersburg
for about 20 million euros (22.3 million dollars), but the Russian side pulled
back as they failed to find a valid substitute before the market closed at 11
pm (2100 GMT).

Witsel, who was
said to have already passed his medical in Turin, could now join Juve in
January, or arrive as a free agent in July.

Despite missing the
late deal, the Bianconeri reportedly spent 210 million euros between June and

They began with the
snatching of Bosnia playmaker Miralem Pjanic for 32 million euros from Roma,
while Alvaro Morata transferred to home club Real Madrid for two fewer million

Argentina ace
Gonzalo Higuain then arrived from Napoli for 90 million euros, an Italian
league record offset by selling Frenchman Paul Pogba to Manchester United at
110 million euros in the highest ever transfer fee in football.

Other newcomers in
Turin were Dani Alves, a free agent from Barcelona, Mehdi Benatia on loan from
Bayern Munich and Marko Pjaca, a young winger signed for 23 millions euros from
Croatia club Dinamo Zagreb.

Inter Milan, who
under new Dutch coach Frank de Boer are already five points behind Juve after
two games, also had a brisk market.

They signed last
week midfielder Joao Mario from Sporting Lisbon and Brazilian rising striker
Gabriel Barbosa Almeida, known as Gabigol, from Santos for 29 million euros.

The Nerazzurri’s
new Chinese owners Suning Commerce Group had earlier signed Antonio Candreva
from Lazio (22 million euros), Ever Banega from Sevilla, Cristian Ansaldi from
Genoa and Besiktas’ Caner Erkin.

Torino, meanwhile,
clinched an advantageous loan deal by welcoming England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
The 29-year-old preferred to leave Manchester City rather than man the bench
under new boss Pep Guardiola – and the English club agreed to pay more than
half of his 4-million-euro annual pay.

Bidding farewell to
Torino was Brazilian winger Bruno Peres, now at Roma with compatriots Juan
Jesus (Inter), Gerson da Silva (Fluminense) and international goalkeeper
Alisson Becker (Internacional).

Other Giallorossi
signings were Thomas Vermaelen (Barcellona), Mario Rui (Empoli) and Federico
Fazio (Tottenham).

A late Wednesday
exchange saw Serb defender Nikola Maksimovic move to Napoli from Torino, who
welcomed midfielder Mirko Valdifiori.

The Naples side
used the sum from Higuain’s sale to sign Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik from
Ajax, at 32 million euros, Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland), Piotr Zielinski
(Udinese), Amadou Diawara (Bologna) and Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb).

The late signing of
Chile’s Matias Fernandez, on loan from Fiorentina, closed a mediocre market for
AC Milan, who try to end a glum period as Chinese investors led by Sino-Europe
Sports are gradually taking control.

Previous deals,
totalling about 25 million euros, brought at the Rossoneri Gianluca Lapadula,
last season’s Serie B top scorer with promoted Pescara, Leonel Vangioni (River
Plate), Gustavo Gomez (Lanus), Jose Sosa (Besiktas), Mario Pasalic (Chelsea).

Leaving Milan after
an uneventful season on loan from Liverpool was unruly striker Mario Balotelli,
moving to French side Nice as a free agent.

Other departing
Rossoneri were Jeremy Menez (Bordeaux), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Las Palmas) Jose
Mauri (Empoli), while veterans Philippe Mexes, Brazilian Alex and goalkeeper
Christian Abbiati ended their contracts.


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