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Juventus Transfers Breathe New Life Into Struggling Giant

With nine successive Serie A titles followed by two campaigns where Champions League qualification seemed a shallow silver lining, Juventus’ fall from grace has been clear to see in recent years. This summer has seen several big names depart Turin, and the Bianconeri will be hard-pressed to find adequate replacements in order to once again fight for the Scudetto.

In defense, Matthijs de Ligt left Juventus for Bayern Munich, where he and Dayot Upamecano will presumably form a tremendous defensive partnership that should last for many years to come. In addition, veteran and club icon Giorgio Chiellini left for MLS side LAFC.

This leaves Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani as two of the more likely starting central defenders, with no other returning center backs playing more than 90 minutes over the entire 2021-22 season. 

Although Juve signed Bremer from Torino and he looks extremely promising, the idea of adequately replacing Chiellini and de Ligt seems farcical. The young Dutchman played the most minutes of anyone in the Juventus squad last season while Chiellini currently has the third most all-time appearances for La Vecchia Signora.

Massimiliano Allegri notoriously uses his outside backs in a more attacking role, putting the defensive burden squarely on the shoulders of his center backs. New signings will need to be made and fast as Juventus could be in for a rough season without adequate backups for his main duo.

In midfield, Juventus has made some strides as the immensely popular American Weston McKennie is now a regular fixture in the side with only Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli playing more minutes among central midfielders. The return of Paul Pogba on a free transfer will add a new attacking threat that has been absent for some time. Following his disappointing second stint at Manchester United, questions will be asked whether Pogba is past his prime and if the club would have been better off pursuing a player on the younger side instead. 

While on the topic of disappointing stints, it seems Arthur Melo could be allowed to leave Turin, with Barcelona and Arsenal looking to be the most likely options. Injuries have plagued his time at Juventus, and he has unfortunately failed to live up to the expectations set forth by his $83 million transfer fee. Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey also left, and it seems the Juventus faithful will not mind at all after a video emerged of a fan asking Ramsey to sign a piece of paper that read “contract termination” went viral on social media. Following his loan to Rangers, he signed with Nice in Ligue 1. 

A midfield three of McKennie and Locatelli with Pogba in front of them would help cover for the club’s defensive shortcoming while also having a creative outlet to make things happen in possession. The aforementioned Rabiot and Swiss international Denis Zakaria are both great alternatives, and, unless the group as a whole does not mesh, the midfield should once again be the club’s pride and joy as it was in the days of Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and a much younger Paul Pogba.

Following the departure of the perpetually offside Álvaro Morata, the responsibility of scoring belongs to winter signing Dušan Vlahović and Euro 2020 star Federico Chiesa. Vlahović ranks among the best in the world in goals per 90 with 0.72, and, paired with Chiesa’s 0.75 goal-creating actions per 90, this duo could prove disastrous for opponent defenses. 

They will be joined by 34-year-old Ángel Di María, who brings a wealth of experience and success to Juventus. He will serve as the replacement for new Roma signing Paulo Dybala, who was deemed surplus to requirements by Allegri after spending the last seven seasons in Turin, scoring 115 goals in all competitions.

Regardless of how Di María’s Juventus spell turns out, there will be a lot of questions asked about why the club did what it did, but it does seem like terrible business to offload a 28-year-old fan favorite and bring in a player six years his senior in his place.

Juventus also seems keen on signing Barcelona winger Memphis Depay, according to reports from Fabrizio Romano. The Dutch international has been linked with the club for several days now and Romano says a deal is very close. Depay would add much-needed skill and depth to the attack, reminiscent of Douglas Costa. If the move does go through, Depay has every chance of being an incredibly important asset, alongside Di Maria, Vlahović and soon Chiesa.

Potential Juventus Lineup 2022-23 With Pogba

From back to front, Wojciech Szczęsny will most likely start with Mattia Perin seeing possible minutes as a backup. The South American duo of Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro will likely feature outside with Bonucci and Bremer between them. 

Ahead of the center backs, look for McKennie and Zakaria or Locatelli with Pogba imposing his will through the middle. Out wide, Di María has already made his debut while an injured Chiesa means Depay could feature on the wing with Vlahović up top. Cuadrado is more than capable of playing on the wing, so if he were to move up instead of either Di María or Depay, Danilo or Mattia De Sciglio could both feature in his spot. 

As of now, this squad is lacking in several key departments and, outside of the midfield, depth is not its strong suit. As other sides in Italy have strengthened, Juventus seems to have taken a step sideways. Champions League qualification will be the goal from the off unless something is done to help the defense, but with the financial situation the club has found itself in following the pandemic, it seems that this may be all it can afford.

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