One to Watch: Christian Kouamé

After an impressive debut season, Christian Kouamé was tipped to take Serie A by storm in 2019-2020. Alongside Andrea Pinamonti, the Ivorian was expected to form one of the league’s most youthful and dangerous duos in attack. The duo lived up to the hype early on, combining to devastating effect in their opener against Roma. Kouamé followed up his goal against the giallorossi with another impressive performance against Fiorentina, putting in a man-of-the-match display and adding another goal to his tally.

The 21-year-old would find the back of the net once more against Cagliari, starting his season in brilliant fashion with three goals in four games. However, following their convincing defeat at the hands of Cagliari, Genoa went winless in their next four games and Kouamé struggled. In his next four starts, the Ivorian played the full ninety minutes in all games and failed to score in any of them.

Genoa’s 5-1 defeat against Parma was the last straw for President Enrico Preziosi and he promptly sacked Aurelio Andreazzoli for former midfielder Thiago Motta. Motta was previously coaching PSG’s U-19 side and has been labelled a progressive tactician in his brief managerial career.

In Motta’s first game in charge, Kouamé started on the bench and came on for Sinan Gumus with over twenty minutes to play. In his cameo appearance, the 21-year-old was electric and helped Genoa overcome a one-nil deficit to claim the three points. Outside of his match-winner, a fantastic scissor-kick, Kouamé was a constant threat in the final third and didn’t give Brescia’s defenders a moment’s rest.

With I Grifoni up a goal, Brescia tried taking the game to them and left open spaces in behind. Kouamé took full advantage of this and registered his first assist on the season on Goran Pandev’s goal. In just 25 minutes of action, Kouamé displayed exactly why he comes so highly-rated around the peninsula. Whether he’s driving in possession or making the most of his incredible turn of pace, Kouamé makes for an increasinly dangerous striker.

This season, the Genoa forward has demonstrated that he could be efficient in front of goal, as illustrated by his four goals on the season already. One knock against Kouamé last season was that he couldn’t create his own chances. Much like his finishing, this is an element of his game that has since improved significantly compared to years past. Currently, Kouamé is averaging just under two shots per game and is also establishing himself as a creative threat with just under 1.5 key passes per game.

Moving forward, Genoa are going to need Kouamé to maintain his positive exploits in front of goal if they want to avoid relegation. Under Thiago Motta it will be interesting to see the young forward develop, especially considering the tactician’s desire to play attacking football. In any case, Kouamé is definitely one to keep an eye on as the season wears on and into the January transfer window. Capable of creating chances or taking them for himself, Kouamé will undoubtedly be atop most club’s wish-lists when the mercato reopens.

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Genoa hire Thiago Motta to replace Andreazzoli

After a dismal display against Parma that led to the third loss in a row and the fifth one in the last six matches, Genoa decided to move on from Aurelio Andreazzoli and appointed Thiago Motta as their new coach. They have collected just five points so far, thanks to two draws against Roma and Bologna and an early win over Fiorentina, and are second-to-last in the standings. Continue reading

Serie A Round 8 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and gave us fantacalcio managers some much-need time to step away from our teams and evaluate where it’s all gone wrong…or right! However, don’t get too comfortable as the next game-week is already upon us. Lazio will be hosting Atalanta in what promises to be an exciting clash, while Stefano Sensi returns to Sassuolo with Inter. Otherwise, Juventus take on a fiery Bologna side at the Allianz Stadium.

With match-day eight upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Allan (MID, Napoli, Value 13.9) – The Napoli midfielder has struggled for consistency this season and looks set for a period on the sidelines. Considering Eljif Elmas’ and Fabian Ruiz’ good form, expect the Brazilian to be rotated out of the eleven. While Allan is important for what he does off the ball for the partenopei, it doesn’t benefit you in Fantasy Serie A. The 28-year-old is also a yellow card risk costing you points and has already picked up two cautions on the season.

At 13.9 million euros, look elsewhere for your midfield.

Fabio Quagliarella (ATT, Sampdoria, Value 17.7) – Sampdoria are currently a club in disarray and sit in last place in the standings. Having just fired Eusebio Di Francesco, it will take some time for Claudio Ranieri to get the blucerchiati firing on all cylinders again. After the international break, Sampdoria host Paulo Fonseca’s Roma, in what promises to be yet another difficult clash for them. Fabio Quagliarella has struggled as a result of the chaos in Genoa and has only found the back of the net once this season, albeit in a 4-1 loss against Sassuolo. Much like it was the case last season, it was from the spot.

Given Sampdoria’s recent issues and Quagliarella’s inefficiency in front of goal, it would be wise to temporarily swap the 36-year-old out of your elevens. At least until Ranieri steadies the ship.

Cristian Zapata (DEF, Genoa, Value 17.7) – After a positive start to the season, the defender has struggled for form and has seen his Genoa side slide down the table to 19th. In addition to not getting the results, I Grifoni’s defence has looked porous, conceding goals at will. If that weren’t enough to drop him from your side, Zapata is an aggressive defender and is unafraid to slide into a tackle. Currently, the 33-year-old is on three yellow cards, costing your crucial fantasy points in the process.

At 17.7 million euros, it’s time you bid adieu to Zapata and remove him from your eleven once and for all. It doesn’t look like things are getting any better in Genoa anytime soon.

Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 26.8) - Let’s get something straight. Zapata has been in sensational form this season and would never have made this list if it wasn’t for his recent injury while on international duty. He’s currently among the top fantacalcio point earners alongside Ciro Immobile and has picked up from where he left off last season.

However, his recent injury will reportedly sideline him for a minimum of three weeks. Given Atalanta’s wide array of attacking options, they have no pressure to force him back into action anytime before that. As a result of this in addition to his inflated price-tag, it would be wise to move him out of your roster for the next three game-weeks at least.

Christian Kouamé (ATT, Genoa, Value 24.5) – Yet another player from the Genovese clubs makes this list as Kouamé has struggled for form in recent weeks. After a positive start to the season that saw him notch three goals, the attacker has tailed off and has been inefficient in the eighteen-yard box. Much like Sampdoria, Genoa are currently a club in disarray, who’s manager’s future is in danger. Given the uncertainty surrounding the club, expect Kouamé’s goalscoring woes to continue.

At 24.5 million euros, it’s time to move on from the talented young man.

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International Break Coaching Carousel

The second international break of the season is typically an opportunity for Serie A clubs to (over)react to a poor start to the season and make a coaching change. The extra week of training allows for a new manager to more easily settle into a new reality, so we’ll likely see a change or two, while other managers may receive the dreaded vote of confidence.

While many assumed Vincenzo Montella would be the first manager replaced, especially since he hadn’t been hired by Fiorentina’s new owners, the former Milan manager has actually strived after a poor start. Ironically the managers most in danger of losing their jobs (and one of them will have likely received a pink slip by the time you read this) were all hired during the summer so in a sane world you would assume they would be getting a bit more time. 

  

 

Available Jobs

 

Milan- despite the chaotic win against Genoa, the rossoneri are seriously considering sacking Marco Giampaolo. The former Sampdoria manager has looked confused in every aspect of his job- his lineups featured some desperate decisions (Andre’ Silva starting two days before being loaned out as the most egregious example), he hasn’t developed the players the club acquired in the summer, Paqueta and especially PIatek have regressed on his watch, he gave up on the formation he used all summer and has made puzzling statements during interviews- an important aspect of the job at a club of Milan’s magnitude.

Beyond improving on results, the most important task for Milan’s next manager will be to develop Bennacer, Leao, Hernandez, Rebic and get Paqueta and Piatek back on track because of the significant expense of acquiring them. Milan also needs a manager who will get them to play as hard as they did under Giampaolo’s predecessor Rino Gattuso. 

 

Genoa- after avoiding relegation in the final match of the season, president Preziosi bolstered the squad significantly in the summer by signing defenders Zapata and Barreca, promising striker Pinamonti and (shockingly) former Ajax starting midfielder Schone. Preziosi entrusted the team to Aurelio Andreazzoli who was known for playing a version of Sarriball at Empoli while using a 3 man defense.

There were strong indications Andreazzoli would be sacked after the 4-0 loss to Lazio and the subsequent defeat against Milan makes his situation even more dire. Genoa will need a manager who can guide them out of the relegation which won’t be easy considering that all three newly promoted teams look well equipped for Serie A- to add insult to injury, former Genoa manager Juric has done very well with Hellas Verona.

Sampdoria- the blucerchiati lost two of their best players in the summer in Praet and Andersen and even the most optimistic person couldn’t have expected Quagliarella to come close to repeating his previous campaign. Eusebio Di Francesco will likely be sacked by the time you read this, his situation (and that of his eventual replacement) will be further complicated by the fact the club has been rumored to be sold for the past few months. Just like Genoa, Sampdoria need a manager who can get them results immediately.

Udinese- just a few weeks ago, sporting director Marino shared some harsh words about manager Igor Tudor and it feels likely that a change will happen in next few weeks. While Udinese were surprisingly able to hold on to De Paul, they have one of the lowest payrolls in Serie A, further proof that a state of the art club owned stadium isn’t a silver bullet to solve all problems. The Friulani will need a manager able to get the most out of Fofana, Mandragora, Lasagna and De Paul to avoid relegation.

 

Managerial Candidates

 

Luciano Spalletti- certainly understandable that Milan fans would love to see him replace Giampaolo since he did get Inter back to the Champions League for two years in arrow, but considering that Spalletti is still earning over 4 million after taxes from Inter (and has a long term contract) it’s almost certain he’ll take a sabbatical year like Conte did with Chelsea, rather than taking over a team in crisis mid season and one that will have to deal with Financial Fair Play restrictions for foreseeable future. This also applies to Max Allegri, who will almost certainly coach abroad next season.

Claudio Ranieri- the architect of the Leicester miracle did quite well at Roma when he replaced Di Francesco. He solidified the defense, made a much needed goalkeeper change and almost got the giallorossi to the Champions League. Ranieri is an ideal stop gap option for a big club, on top of being very tactically sound, he’s used to the pressures of managing a big club- plus he’s a very likeable guy which helps with how a team in crisis is perceived.

Stefano Pioli- Fiorentina got significantly worse last season when Montella replaced him. Pioli also did fairly well when he took over at Inter mid season but did suffer an end of the season classic Pazza Inter collapse, he also received universal praise for how he handled Astori’s tragic death. Pioli can also be more than just a stop gap manager for a club like Sampdoria or Genoa, while for Milan he would be likely a bridge to next season.

Rino Gattuso- his reputation as a manager has certainly improved when you consider he had a Milan, that was no better than current version and likely worse, contending for a Champions League spot going into last match of the season. Gattuso was linked to Genoa after their devastating loss to Lazio and a return to Milan cannot be fully excluded.

Rudi Garcia- the former Marseille manager had an overall successful stint at Roma and could be an option for Milan should they decide to go with a manager who could lead them beyond this season.  

 

Beppe Iachini- while he’s mainly known for being the longest tenured manager of the Zamparini era at Palermo, last season his reputation took a hit when he failed to save Empoli who eventually went back to Andreazzoli and achieved better results. Iachini will likely either be a backup option for the clubs who fail to sign Pioli or could return to Udinese.

 

Genoa vs. AC Milan: Team news, stats and prediction

Following the defeat to Fiorentina last time out, Marco Giampaolo’s position at AC Milan is hanging by a thread as a crucial clash with Genoa awaits this evening. In fact, it is rumoured to be the Italian’s last chance to save his job. 

The Rossoneri have failed to impress at the start of the season, winning just two of the first six games. Inevitably, therefore, Giampaolo has had to withstand some heavy criticism from the media and fans, which the management seemed to have picked up on now.

According to the latest reports, tonight’s clash will be the last chance for the former Sampdoria boss, as Milan simply can’t afford to lose any more points if they want to stay within reach of the top four. In other words, three points are needed against Genoa this evening.

THE TEAM

At the back, per Gazzetta Dello Sport, one change will be made. Musacchio will serve a one-game ban following the red card against Fiorentina, thus paving the way for Duarte to make his first start with the red and black shirt. Other than that, the back four remains intact, as Hernandez once again wins the race over Rodriguez.

After the first games of the season, fans were begging Giampaolo to opt for Bennacer rather than Biglia, which materialized in the last two games. However, last time out, the Algerian had a nightmare as he caused two penalties, lacked awareness and misplaced several passes. Therefore, he will sit on the bench this evening.

In addition to him, for the first time this season, Calhanoglu will start on the bench. The Turk played a big role at the beginning of the season, but has since failed to impress the fans. As a result, Paqueta will take his spot to the left in the midfield, having recovered from the minor injury he sustained before the Torino clash.

Earlier this week, rumours suggested that Piatek could be dropped in favour of Rafael Leao. However, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport, the Polish striker will lead the line up front while the Portuguese youngster will play on the left flank. Therefore, we will have to wait for Rebic’s first start with the club.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Duarte, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessiè, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Leao.

Likely Genoa XI (3-5-2): Radu; Romero, Zapata, Criscito; Ghiglione, Schone, Radovanovic, Lerager, Pajac; Pinamonti, Kouamé.

STATS

Normally, Milan would be the favourite in this fixture. However, given their recent form, you simply can’t rule out another loss for Giampaolo’s men. Furthermore, the stats suggest that the Rossoneri have struggled against Genoa in the past, even though recent times have seen a great improvement in this aspect.

In fact, the Rossoneri have won four of their last five encounters with the Rossoblu, while they had lost four of their previous five games against them before the current run. Then again, Giampaolo’s men have started the season far from good, and yet another loss would go down even deeper in history.

Only once in their Serie A history have Milan lost five of their first seven games in a single season (in the 1938/39 under József Bánás). Therefore, a lot is at stake this evening, and the team will have to get the goalscoring going after bagging only two goals from open play thus far.

PREDICTION

So far in my predictions, I have been pretty optimistic. However, being an AC Milan fans, it’s getting hard. Therefore, I don’t expect Giampaolo’s side to make any wonders this evening, though the Rossoneri will have to bounce back at some point. For the sake of it, I think it will end in a scoreless draw.

Genoa 0-0 AC Milan

Serie A Round 7 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

Match-day six came and went as Antonio Conte’s Inter maintained their perfect record dispatching last-place Sampdoria 3-1 with a man down. Similarly, Juventus overcame SPAL with ease, as Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the score-sheet.

Otherwise, Napoli returned to winning ways against Mario Balotelli’s Brescia after stumbling in mid-week to Cagliari. Top four contenders Atalanta, Roma and Lazio all picked up wins while Milan’s poor form continued in their 3-1 defeat against Fiorentina.

With match-day seven upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 Krzysztof Piątek (ATT, Milan, Value 20.9) – The Polish international and this column have been a match made in heaven this season. Since Marco Giampaolo has assumed the reigns at Milanello, Piątek has looked a shade of his former self and has lost his lethal touch in the box. As the former Genoa man’s woes in front of goal continue, don’t be surprised if Giampaolo opts for the in-form Rafa Leao this week.

At 20.9 million euros, it’s time to move away from the Milan striker and bring in a more prolific figure in your fantacalcio sides. One-season wonder?

Domenico Criscito (DEF, Genoa, Value 22.3) – Since Genoa’s win against Fiorentina at the beginning of September, it’s been a bumpy ride for the Grifoni. Genoa are currently winless in their last three, succumbing to Serie B side Virtus Entella in a club friendly. Moreover, they’ve conceded a staggering seven goals in these clashes, four of which coming in their most recent drubbing against Lazio.

While Criscito hasn’t exactly played poor in these games, Genoa’s porous defence means it’s worth shifting away from the former Juventus defender – especially at 22.4 million.

Andrea Petagna (ATT, SPAL, Value 25.3) – The 24-year-old started the season positively scoring two goals and registering one assist in his first three games, but has since slowed down. In addition to his own profligacy in front of goal, SPAL aren’t in the best form either and have struggled to create chances in the final third. 

In fact, Leonardo Semplici’s men have now picked up three defeats on the bounce, including a 3-1 loss to fellow relegation candidates Lecce. In their most recent defeat against Serie A champions Juventus, Petagna looked out of sorts and isolated on his own up top. As a result, it’s worth using your free transfer and temporarily swapping him out of your eleven for the time being. If his fortunes don’t change soon, consider making the switch permanent.

Arkadiusz Milik (ATT, Napoli, Value 4.5) – Continuing with the theme of out-of-form strikers, Napoli’s Milik is another player you just drop from your fantacalcio sides for the time being. Currently, the Polish international cannot buy a goal, as illustrated in the partenopei’s most recent stalemate in their Champions League clash against Genk.

In his three appearances this season, Milik is yet to find the back of the net and has regularly looked out of sorts spearheading Napoli’s attack. With Dries Mertens, Hirving Lozano and Fernando Llorente as options up front, expect Milik’s playing time to be further reduced moving forward. And we haven’t even mentioned Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne yet. For now, even 4.5 million is too much for the Napoli hitman.

Riccardo Orsolini (MID, Bologna, Value 21.9) – The Bologna winger started the season with a lot of promise, putting in man-of-the-match performances against both SPAL and Brescia. His goal and two early assists indicated that Orsolini introduced end-product to his game and was ready to take the next step in his career. However, in Bologna’s last three games, the 22-year-old has struggled for consistency and is yet to register a goal contribution.

In fact, Bologna have been shut out in their last two games, dropping points against Genoa and Udinese – two sides that will arguably be fighting relegation this season. At 21.9 million, you’d be wise to move Orsolini out of your elevens until he returns to form.

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Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 1

Parma-Juventus: the Ducali have done a lot to improve their midfield and their attack over the summer and, while they are currently a little short-handed in the back, they are set to be a more palatable fantasy squad throughout the season. Gervinho is already on form, Roberto Inglese is back to full health and they will have a proper back-up, Yann Karamoh could be intriguing even though he has not won over the coach yet, Hernani and Gaston Brugman are nice complementary pieces and Dejan Kulusevski could be a jack-of-all-trades. Juraj Kucka, who was a stud from January on, might miss the game with a calf injury, but they are more equipped to replace him. Continue reading

Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap

After two sleepy weeks, Serie A teams have resumed dealing and wheeling with some very interesting purchases over the last few days. Inter finally landed Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, while Juventus cashed in on Joao Cancelo in a swap with Manchester City, getting back Danilo in the deal. Cagliari pulled off an unexpected one by adding Radja Nainggolan from Inter, then successfully completed the chase for touted prospect Nahitan Nandez from Boca Juniors and, all of a sudden, they have a very crowded and well-assorted midfield despite losing Nicolò Barella.

Milan continue to work on the roster and acquired young centre-back Leo Duarte from Flamengo. He emerged over the last year and a half in Brazil and will contribute to holding down the fort until Mattia Caldara returns later in the year. He will compete with solid but unspectacular Mateo Musacchio to play next to Alessio Romagnoli to open the season.

The week was pretty much dominated by midfielders: a year after letting him go for free, the new Fiorentina management brought back Milan Badelj on loan with option to buy from Lazio, then they snatched Erick Pulgar away from Bologna by exercising the relatively low release clause. The Chilean international was a standout last season and was deadly on penalty, which will come in handy considering the departure of Jordan Veretout. Despite the age difference, the two are pretty similar, so it will be interesting to see whether Vincenzo Montella will tweak his system to accommodate both and perhaps deploy one more attacker.

Genoa have found their new technical leader in Lasse Schone from Ajax who, despite the rather defensive position as pivot, put up great numbers thanks to his ability on set pieces and therefore will be one to look out for in the fantasy game. The Griffon also signed Riccardo Saponara on loan from Fiorentina, whom coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will try to turn into an offensive box-to-box in the Rade Krunic mold, and Colombian youngster Kevin Agudelo from Atletico Huila.

For one brilliant midfielder joining Serie A, another one left as Sampdoria agreed to sell Dennis Praet to Leicester City, who has been a linchpin of their squad over the last three seasons and grew constantly year after year. They acquired Morten Thorsby from Heerenveen and could gamble on a Jakub Jankto resurgence on top of obviously reinvesting the funds on a newcomer.

For once, Atalanta decided to go with an experienced guy rather than bet on potential and brought in Martin Skrtel from Fenerbahce to fill in the gap after Gianluca Mancini left. Gian Piero Gasperini is now back to having five reliable centre-backs to rotate.

A decent coup for Verona, as they won the race for free agent Darko Lazovic, who was pretty good last year at Genoa, where he notched three goals and four assists. He reunites with coach Milan Juric and will be able to play in a number of positions on both flanks. They also grabbed two of the best Serie B players from last season: Gennaro Tutino, on loan from Napoli, who had a terrific year in Cosenza, and Valerio Verre from Sampdoria, who shined in Perugia. They both reached the double-digit threshold and could be significant parts of the 3-4-2-1 tactic Milan Juric is currently using.

Brescia got busy too and signed two presumptive starters in Jaromir Zmhral from Slavia Prague and Giangiacomo Magnani from Sassuolo. The midfielder could be a sneaky fantasy asset, while the centre-back started last season very well but was eventually overshadowed by more talented teammates. Lecce instead added Cristian Dell’Orco, who was serviceable as left centre-back at Empoli in 2018/2019 and will probably end up playing left back for them, alternating with other buzzed about newcomer Brayan Vera.

A pair of players departed from Serie A: Roma sent Rick Karsdorp back to Feyenoord on loan, while Bologna shipped Adam Nagy to Bristol City. The Dutch right back had some okay stretches and at times challenged Alessandro Florenzi, but ultimately he could not stay healthy, while Nagy had become merely a back-up. The Felsinei will have to address the midfield in a meaningful manner.

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Juventus acquire Romero and loan him back to Genoa

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The signing has been a foregone conclusion since Juventus first set their eyes on Cristian Romero in January, but it was finalized on Friday. The Bianconeri paid €26M plus €5.6M potential add-ons for the 21-year-old defender, who inked a five-year contract and will stay on loan at Genoa for the 2019/2020 season.

Romero impressed in his rookie campaign in Serie A, becoming a starter after two months and then going on to collect 27 appearances. He debuted against the Old Lady on October 20th, missing some games after that only due to suspensions. With the Griffon, he mostly featured as linchpin of a three-man back-line, although they also occasionally deployed a fourth-man one. Thanks to his presence on set pieces, he scored twice and provided two assists. In Argentina, he had 16 caps in two seasons with Belgrano before moving to Italy. He played in the 2017 U-20 South American Championship. Continue reading

How Paratici rejuvenated Juventus’ back four

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has wasted no time this summer, securing Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey on bosmans, and has revolutionized the bianconeri’s back four for years to come. Last week, it was reported that the Italian champions beat PSG and Barcelona to Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt. The highly rated 19-year-old wasn’t the only defender Juventus signed, as Paratici also completed deals for Genoa’s Cristian Romero and Sassuolo’s Merih Demiral. Since 2011, Juventus’ success has largely been built on their resolute backline and the famous BBC, yet, recently, with their key defenders on the wrong side of thirty, they’ve shown signs of wear and tear.

Last season, Leonardo Bonucci returned to the club after a poor year with Milan, and has looked a shade of his former self, making routine errors. Recently, it’s been reported that Bonucci may be on his way to PSG, if the sides can agree on a fee. Chiellini, on the other hand, has been solid as ever, but has been regularly sidelined with recurring injuries. As a result, Juve’s 70 million euro swoop for de Ligt is a no-brainer. The Dutch international is arguably the world’s most talented young centre-back, and will immediately establish himself as a leader in Turin. Alongside the veteran presence of Chiellini, expect the Dutchman to take his game to the next level.

Other than de Ligt, Paratici turned to three Serie A talents to rejuvenate the defence: Demiral, Romero and Roma’s Luca Pellegrini. Demiral has already asserted himself as a regular with the Turkish national team and can even feature at right back. At just 15 million euros, the former Fenerbahçe youth product may prove to be the bargain of the summer.

Romero, by contrast, will likely remain on loan at Genoa for another season and is one for the future. His 30 million euro price-tag shows that Paratici holds him in high-esteem, but another season with I Grifoni will allow him to keep growing.

Outside of central defence, Paratici took a risk and swapped Leonardo Spinazzola for Pellegrini and just under 10 million euros. Throughout his loan spell with Cagliari this past season, Pellegrini demonstrated immense upside, registering two assists in 23 appearances.

Spinazzola has struggled with injuries in the past but appears to have put his fitness concerns behind him. In fact, he was arguably the best player on the pitch in Juventus’ comeback win against Atletico Madrid. Despite this, Paratici went ahead with the swap. While Spinazzola is more ready now, the former Roma defender arguably has a higher ceiling, but will need playing time to grow. With Alex Sandro struggling for form, expect the 20-year-old to be given ample opportunities.

Juventus’ defence has long been their strong suit, but this past season’s shakiness was undoubtedly a rude awakening for their top brass. Paratici has since acted proactively, securing four talents within two weeks, all of which can be elite in the right environment. While the bianconeri’s revolutionized backline may not be the BBC of old, they have all the potential in the world to write their own story, and for that, Paratici must me commended.

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