Without a doubt, Juventus has been one of the most successful clubs in all of Italian football. Despite all of the money that has come in thanks to all of the title-winning seasons, there has been plenty of money lost due to poor signings.
Whether they’re injury related, performance-related, or players simply having issues with management, these are the five worst signings in Juventus history. Before we start the list, some of the players who just missed the cut include Jean-Alain Boumsong, Jonathan Zebina, Amauri, and Marcelo Salas.
Uruguay native Jorge Martinez kicks off the list, with the midfielder showing signs of becoming a star while with the Montevideo Wanderers. He made his professional debut in 2000, spending seven years with the senior squad before moving to Catania. After another three years, 86 matches, and 22 goals, Martinez made his way to Juventus. The club paid €12 million for his services on a four-year contract.
Things got off to a terrible start as Martinez suffered an injury in his first match. It didn’t seem that he was too affected performance-wise upon his return, but it was shortlived as Martinez continued suffering injuries. When front-office changes were made, Juventus was looking for a fresh start and loaned out Martinez to several teams over the course of six years. All in all, Martinez made just 14 league appearances for Juventus.
Nicklas Bendtner is a tall forward from Denmark who impressed so much as a youth in his home country that he landed a deal with Arsenal at 17. Bendtner went on to make his senior squad debut in 2005 with Arsenal, spending nearly a decade with the club while being loaned out to Birmingham City and Sunderland. The third club to acquire him via loan was Juventus, who spent €6 million for the remainder of the 2012-13 season with an option to make the move permanent.
Unfortunately, that move would not be made permanent for multiple reasons. Bendtner suffered an injury that limited him to just nine matches and he was held scoreless for all of them. Bendtner was also arrested for driving drunk, making things more complicated. Another injury came in the form of a fractured wrist, and the experiment ended with Bendtner returning to Arsenal.
We head back to South America for the next player on the list, this time to Brazil where Diego Ribas da Cunha hails from. Simply known as Diego around the world, the midfielder was a tremendous player for Santos after making his debut in the early 2000s. Diego went on to spend time with Porto and Werder Bremen, making over 130 combined appearances for the clubs. In 2009, Diego and Juventus reached a five-year agreement worth €24.5 million.
The type of production that he had with Bremen didn’t translate into success with Juventus, however. The club played a much different style, and Diego almost immediately had problems with management. Because Juventus couldn’t use him the way that they wanted to, Diego played in just 33 matches. He scored five goals during that time and was sent to VfL Wolfsburg in 2010.
The second Dane on the list, Christian Poulsen was a midfielder who found a lot of success early in his career, including winning the Danish Superliga, DFB Ligapokal, and Copa del Rey. Poulsen started his professional career in 1997 with Holbaek, then made his way to Copenhagen, Schalke 04, and Sevilla. Juventus then paid a €9.75 million transfer fee to obtain Poulsen, giving him a four-year contract.
However, Poulsen wouldn’t last nearly that long. He made just 48 league appearances and lasted until 2010. Juventus wasn’t able to claim any major titles during the Poulsen era, and he remains a testament to the overspending that the club did during the early 2010s. Poulsen finished with one goal during his Juventus career before being sent to Liverpool. He eventually played for Evian and Ajax before finishing his career with a return to Copenhagen.
We conclude the list with another Brazilian player, meaning that none of the worst signings were actually from Italy. The top spot belongs to Felipe Melo, another midfielder who ended up being a massive overpay after showing signs of potential superstardom. Melo began his career with Flamengo in 2001, then had stints with several clubs over the subsequent years including Gremio, Racing Santander, and Almeria.
Melo was part of Fiorentina from 2008 to 2009, with Juventus coughing up €25 million to acquire him. While things looked good in the first match, they quickly went sour after Melo started fighting with his teammates and his level of play took a nosedive. Melo made less than 60 league appearances with Juventus and was sent to Galatasaray on a loan that would end up being permanent.