Opinion: Juventus can reload with Serie A players alone


No matter what coach will be chosen, Juventus will have to address some glaring needs in the upcoming transfer market session, but they might be able to fill them with the usual modus operandi: plucking players from other Serie A teams. Here are some of the three biggest holes.

A heir to Giorgio Chiellini: the Old Lady had a good thing going in the first half of last season, where for a while they were able to rotate two well-assorted duos, Leonardo Bonucci-Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani-Chiellini, and go with Bonucci-Chiellini in the most demanding fixtures. Eventually, the Moroccan centre-back grew tired for the lack of consistent playing times and asked to leave and Martin Caceres was a temporary cheap patch. Chiellini had one of his best seasons, but muscular injuries can hit him at any time and his absence is always palpable. Both Bonucci and Rugani need a muscular partner. The captain has already announced that he will play for one or two seasons before he calls it quits, so the management has two options on the table: either go with a surefire prospect that can be quickly groomed and eventually take over or with an already established guy, with the risk of a repeat of what happened with Benatia. Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter’s Milan Skriniar would represent two ideal solutions, but they are also pipe dreams due to their respective clubs’ fair unwillingness to strengthen a rival and the absence of a a release clause in their contracts. The next guys on the totem pole would be Roma’s Kostas Manolas, Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli and Fiorentina’s German Pezzella, who are not as dominant but very complete and usually dependable.

On the younger side, the officials have already set their eyes on Sassuolo’s Merih Demiral and Genoa’s Cristian Romero: the former looked more polished than the latter despite moving to Italy just in January. Both need some work but start from a very solid base and it should not take them long to reach the desired level. Torino’s Kevin Bonifazi, who was on loan to SPAL last season, is in a similar mold.

A back-up for Miralem Pjanic: the Bianconeri need to go either all-in or all-out when it comes to using a deep-lying playmaker and most of it will depend on who the next manager is. Chances are they will continue to use a three-man midfielder with a regista. The Bosnian international is coming off an inconsistent season, but the ball possession and the rhythm of execution always take a big hit when he is not out there. A fallback plan is required for when he is rested or hurt: Empoli’s Ismael Bennacer showed well enough this year to be considered a good option, while a better one could be Sassuolo’s Stefano Sensi, who has the ability to switch between pivot and box-to-box without skipping a beat, which would help him feature more continuously. Brescia’s Sandro Tonali would be a bit risky since he only played in Serie B, but he is probably worth the gamble.

An imposing midfielder: Emre Can’s season was riddled with injuries, yet he was very useful when in full form, adding another dimension to the department with his powerful contribution in both phases. Juventus would certain benefit from adding a similar piece that is capable of some monotony-bending runs that can flip field position in no time. Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is the best Serie A can offer in such role, as he rounded up his game last season by taking on more defensive duties. Other alternatives could be Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolò Zaniolo and Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski, all fantastic youngsters, excel more technically than physically and Juventus already brought in Aaron Ramsey with similar traits. The always energetic Nicolò Barella could have a smart choise, but he already looks poised to move elsewhere. The more the merrier in this case though. Milan’s Franck Kessie would not be as exciting, but he would help the cause in this area and would be less expensive than others. Empoli’s Hamed Traorè is ways away due to his age, but he was impactful in his rookie campaign and could grow into a force considering his already impressive skillset.

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