We are exactly seven days from the end of the transfer window and Juan Cuadrado's return to Juventus still hasn't happened. This may be surprising, though given our previous negotiations with the Old Lady over Johnny Squared, maybe it isn’t — remember, there was supposed to be a handshake agreement over a permanent transfer as far as back as last fall and winter.
Over the past 12-24 hours, multiple reports have emerged about the latest round of negotiations between Chelsea and Juventus. A few things these reports all agree on, mostly that Cuadrado’s agent has been in London for some time now, and both clubs are keen to make this move happen. Where they differ in the details, which, as they say, is where trouble resides.
Some are more believable than others. The ones that claim that only Antonio Conte is standing in the way of a deal (e.g. Sky Italia), that he’s actively blocking it (e.g. Di Marzio), perhaps waiting to bring in a ... “replacement” (huh, Gazzetta?), are not them. While the Chelsea boss did specifically claim earlier this summer that he wanted to work with Cuadrado, we have not seen the winger anywhere near the matchday squads so far this season, not even against lower league Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. Safe to say, Conte isn’t exactly champing at the bit to give the 28-year-old competitive minutes.
Much more likely is the scenario that Chelsea are simply wanting a better deal. As Dan Levene writes, perhaps Chelsea have finally grown tired of serially loaning out the likes of Cuadrado and Marin (or potentially, Rémy), of being some sort of old-school Netflix for the transfer market, offering subscription services for not quite current releases. It’s all about the original programming nowadays; i.e. the in-house fresh talent. Loans may be wonderful (at least in theory) for these youngsters, but keeping the older players on the loan roster until they’ve fully exhausted their resale value makes increasingly less sense.
Reports differ along these lines as well. Some claim that Chelsea simply want a “mandatory” buy-option with either a one-year or a two-year loan. That seems like a win-win situation — Juve get to pay later, Chelsea still can set a decent price — but given our murky loan-to-buy dealings with Fiorentina and Roma and Juventus, too, as mentioned at the top, perhaps it’s best to avoid this.
Others maintain that the real hold-up is either Chelsea’s insistence on a permanent transfer right here, right now, or, at they very least, a slightly higher loan fee, upwards of €5m.
Cuadrado’s move to Juventus last summer wasn’t sorted until the final week either, so there’s precedent here for late business. Still, time’s running out; who’s going to blink first?