Juventus: How Gambling on Mauricio Isla Went Horribly Wrong for the Bianconeri

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMay 3, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 25:  Mauricio Isla of Juventus FC in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at San Siro Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

When Juventus agreed to co-own Udinese utility player Mauricio Isla in a €18.8 million-valued deal, Bianconeri director general Beppe Marotta ignored several blatant warning signs which should have sunk the arrangement.

At the time, the Chilean was recuperating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which he suffered in a collision with AC Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini.

How could Marotta not feel swindled by Udinese? 

This is the same Beppe Marotta, who made the admission that the Bianconeri could not afford to buy big-name players, but now he was authorising an €18.8 million deal for an injured player. 

In fairness to Marotta, the deal isn't actually €18.8 million, it's €9.4 million if you subtract the €9.4 million Udinese pays in the sharing agreement. 

It still doesn't justify Marotta's lack of common sense in allowing his arm to be twisted by the Pozzo family. 

Stephan Lichtsteiner, a Swiss locomotive with excellent positional awareness, would be the undisputed right-back in a 4-3-3, and his playing style would enable him to adapt to the wing-back role in a 3-5-2. 

Whereas, Isla was specifically signed for the 3-5-2, despite Martín Cáceres being a viable backup to Lichtsteiner in a 4-3-3 and a 3-5-2. 

Leading into the 1-0 defeat to Milan, Isla's three assists in five games concealed his tendency to miss his defensive assignments. 

By being bailed out by Andrea Barzagli, a supremely gifted reader of play, who wins back possession 5.1 times in return for 0.7 fouls per game, Mauricio didn't look as bad as he should have. 

Well, that all changed with a performance vs. the Rossoneri that was a cross between Zdeněk Grygera and Marco Motta.

John Cascarano at Juventiknows.com gave Isla a 4.5/10 but he should have only received a participation mark of 1/10. 

Mauricio was set to have a Grygera-Siena game (three years ago, the hapless Zdeněk was the reason why Juve forfeited a 3-0 lead) until Antonio Conte pulled the Chilean at half-time for Simone Padoin.

Since that debacle, Isla isn't even vice-Lichtsteiner, with that role going to Padoin.

Both Udinese owner Giampaolo Pozzo and former manager Pasquale Marino stated how Mauricio was always behind the 8-ball without a full pre-season with Juve.

You think? Who knows what went through Marotta's mind when he sanctioned the Isla deal which wasn't a bargain, didn't fill a need and was high-risk. 

Talk about shoddy management of Isla’s career, who was a terrific player for Udinese. 

Not only did he suffer one of the worst injuries possible for a footballer, he started 90.5 percent of his league games last season as a centre midfielder.

Therefore expecting him to just magically turn back into the marauding wing-back he used to be in a win-now situation is wishful thinking.

The only plausible reason to explain Beppe's thought process is the Pozzo family refusing to deal Kwadwo Asamoah unless an injured Mauricio was taken too. 

Upon signing on the dotted line, Isla outlandishly said his dream was to play for Real Madrid.

Well that won't be happening anytime soon. 

Follow @allanjiangLIVE


Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.comFox Soccer and Squawka.com


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