With the summer transfer window around the corner, teams are already starting to identify areas that need bolstering.
Fresh off their fifth consecutive Scudetto, Juventus have wasted no time and are reportedly after a number of players in order to not only win an unprecedented sixth league title in a row but potentially the club’s third Champions League. But who exactly can come into this Juventus side and improve it? At the moment, most players coming into the bianconeri’s setup would find it increasingly difficult to break into the starting eleven. However, there are a few players that can significantly help Juventus’ European push and establish themselves as regulars in Turin.
Let’s start from the back end. In goal, Gigi Buffon continues to be Gigi Buffon so there’s no real need for another goalkeeper. The back line, on the other hand, could use a fresh face in the upcoming season. While lots of Juventus fans are asking for another center back, the need for a new right back is a pressing one. At the heart of defense, the Italian champions have Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Daniele Rugani and Giorgio Chiellini. Considering Allegri’s desire to switch to a back four with the arrival of a trequartista, a fifth center back in the mold of a Mehdi Benatia would, not only, not play much but would unnecessarily stunt the growth of Daniele Rugani.
As a result, Marotta and Paratici are better off targeting a right back as Stephan Lichtsteiner is not getting any younger. Moreover, Juventus’ only backup to the Swiss Express is utility man Simone Padoin. When competing for the Champions League among other objectives, this is simply not enough. With the Euros on the horizon in addition to an already taxing season, Lichtsteiner will not only need a backup but perhaps a replacement given the mileage he’s accumulated over the past seasons. It is for this season that Sassuolo’s Sime Vrsaljko should be targeted by Juventus. The bianconeri’s good relationship with Sassuolo will only help in their negotiations. In addition, the Croatian has been among the best right backs in the league for the past three seasons and deserves a step up to a big team.
Moving up the pitch and into the midfield, Allegri’s and Juventus’ fascination with an attacking midfielder has been well documented. In recent days, Roma’s Miralem Pjanic has emerged as a Juventus target but I wouldn’t exactly put my money on that happening. Instead, I’d take my money and go to Royal Vegas Casino. Despite the many reports about his 38 million euro release clause, Roma simply won’t sell to a direct rival. In an ideal world for Juventus, Pjanic arrives and slots in perfectly. However, football doesn’t work that way and Juventus will have to go after someone realistic. Again, I don’t see Real Madrid’s Isco as that option either unless he factors into a deal for Alvaro Morata. Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze, on the other hand, is on his way out from Bavaria and fits the bill perfectly. If he can lose the excess weight he’s put on at Bayern Munich and returns to his Borussia Dortmund form, Juventus will be getting a steal. Given their past success with these types of transfers, I wouldn’t put it past them to turn Gotze’s form around.
The major question mark this transfer window for Juventus remains in attack. Is Morata staying or is he returning to Real Madrid? At the moment, all signs are pointing to a Morata departure in the summer time. If he does however stay, a striker is no longer needed at the club. That said, if Real Madrid activate their buy-back clause, Juventus will need to dip into their transfer budget for a proven #9. Recently, Edinson Cavani’s name has been thrown around and could work. At Paris Saint-Germain, he has been deployed predominantly on the wing due to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s influence at the club and has understandably struggled. A move away from the French capital to a team where he can feature centrally again will do him loads of good. Another name that we must not forget about is that of Domenico Berardi. Juventus reportedly have the first option on him and will look to bring him back to the club this summer.
All in all, this summer will be an interesting one for Juventus. When it comes to their Italian competitors, Allegri’s side are still well above them and will continue to be so with a strong summer campaign. However, for Juventus to compete for the Champions League next season, they need to acquire a few world class players in key departments. Vrsaljko, Gotze and Cavani represent this and would help them take the next step.