The news which broke last week came as a shock. Fresh from winning their second consecutive double double thanks to Alvaro Morata’s Coppa Italia winner, Juventus were on the transfer prowl. Their target? Barcelona. Rumoured with a switch to Turin are Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano.
Juventus have already spoken of their collective desire to advance in the Champions League next season. And they have identified the areas required to strengthen to assist that desire.
The club has already spoken about the summer plans. There won’t be a revolution, but an evolution of the squad. They are set to lose Juan Cuadrado, only on loan from Chelsea. A long-time favourite of Antonio Conte, the Colombian is expected to be utilised by the incoming Chelsea boss at Stamford Bridge. That leaves Juve needing a player on the right flank. Meanwhile, Claudio Marchisio’s injury ensures Juve are on the hunt for another central midfielder capable of controlling the play.
In midfield, Roma’s Miralem Pjanic is a target. But there’s a focus on Spain, where Valencia’s Andre Gomes has been linked and the talk surrounding Mascherano – and Alves – has created a stir. Securing the Argentine’s signature is the more complicated deal. Barca are said to want upwards of €20m to budge on a player they aren’t exactly willing to let go, but who may want a move. If Juve were to land Mascherano they would have in their possession one of European football’s most intelligent players and an already formidable midfield would turn up a notch.
Alves is a different scenario. Should he sign before June 5, it can be done on a free transfer thanks to a clause in the 33-year-old’s contract. Juventus have Stephan Lichtsteiner, but without Cuadrado will need another body on the right-hand side. And there’s few better than the Brazilian. He is a vastly experienced player and three-time Champions League winner. What could be hard to match is the x-factor Cuadrado provided, as one of the few in the Juve squad who could create a game-changing moment from very little. Yet Alves has proved himself over a number of years.
Signing one, or both Barcelona players, would be shrewd working from the Bianconeri. A side which has shown it can compete on the continent during the past two seasons, this would help them take the next step.
Juventus would be complementing an already strong squad – littered with younger talents – with experienced heads still capable of competing at the top level. That would only make facing Juve a scarier prospect.