Sarri addresses the left back crisis in pre-SPAL presser

Coach Maurizio Sarri gave some hints about the lineup and updated on the status of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic in the presser before the SPAL game.

On the hole at left back: “I saw that the executive Federico Cherubini is left-footed, I will try him there too. I do not consider the three-man defence an option if not for small chunks of games because we would end up defending with five and therefore track back too much. It also does not eliminate the fact that we have to put somebody on the left flank, we have some problems on the wings right now. We tried a solution yesterday, we will go through another one today and we will see.” Continue reading

Sarri addresses UCL list cuts and more in pre-Fiorentina presser

Coach Maurizio Sarri rejoiced returning on the bench after battling pneumonia and dished out honest assessments about few players in the pre-game conference ahead of the game against Fiorentina.

“For a coach, being on the bench and participating to the practices it is everything. It is not easy to step aside, I thank our doctors that took care of me for 20 days and made me realize it was better to take a short pause in that moment rather than risking being out for longer at a later date. It was heavy but I accepted since the staff was working swimmingly.” Continue reading

Juventus submit UEFA list, Can’s reaction and more

Juventus communicated their UEFA list yesterday and since there is only one club-trained player in the roster this year, somebody had to be excluded and the choices fell on Mario Mandzukic, who is the third choice as centre-forward, and Emre Can who, despite playing a good chunk of the Napoli game, must have fallen behind all the other midfielders in the projected depth chart. Joining them are long-term injured players Mattia Perin, Marko Pjaca and Giorgio Chiellini. Continue reading

Operation Departures: Paratici’s Dilemma

After securing the signing of Matthijs de Ligt, many lauded Juventus’ mercato and showered their sporting director, Fabio Paratici, with praise. After all, they had just signed one of Europe’s elite young defenders, fighting off Barcelona and a host of other clubs in the process.

However, in recent weeks, in an effort to balance the books, Juventus have looked to offload their high-prized assets on the cheap. First, Moise Kean left for Everton with no buy-back clause inserted in the deal. Then, Joao Cancelo was off to Manchester City for 30 million euros and Danilo, after just a season in Turin. Now, the bianconeri’s top brass are actively listening to offers for their jewel, Paulo Dybala. 

With Financial Fair Play restrictions in place, clubs, at the very least, must show they are spending as much as they’re making; generally speaking. Following the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo and de Ligt, sales were always going to be necessary.

Factor in that Juventus haven’t progressed deep into the Champions League since making the final in 2017 missing out on crucial revenue, it’s clear players were going to be sold. Let’s not forget, the Turin-based giants also reported a significant financial operating loss in their last fiscal year. Fabio Paratici is the man largely responsible with dealing with this, largely through high-profile sales. 

While, in an ideal world, Paratici would find buyers for Gonzalo Higuain, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi among others, reality is a different beast altogether. Currently, all of these players are on the wrong side of 30 and are on massive wages in comparison to their output.

Many of them have got a host of offers, but have regularly refused to leave the club. And why should they? Most, if not all, of the offers received for the bianconeri’s wantaways include lower salaries at less prestigious clubs. This has forced Paratici’s hand in his first mercato at the helm and has dictated which players he can and cannot sell. Simply put, there’s a bigger buying market for Dybala than there is for Higuain, for example.

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri recently alluded to this in a press conference.

As I said before, I can talk to Dybala all I like, but the market goes in a certain direction and my opinion counts for zero. We have to cut six players, that’s all there is to it,” said the former Napoli boss, as reported by Football Italia.

When thinking about Sarriball, you would expect Dybala to be one of the first names of the team-sheet. After a season in Massimiliano Allegri’s rigid setup, the Argentine could explode in a false-nine role. In Sarri’s first press conference at the club, the veteran tactician mentioned La Joya alongside Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo as players he was hoping to count on.

If Juventus are forced to sell Dybala this summer to balance the books, they will undoubtedly regret their decisions to hand Mandzukic and Khedira extensions while failing to definitively offload Higuain. Quite frankly, neither of these three players fit into Sarri’s tactics as well as Dybala does.

Sarri elaborated on this situation further and lashed out against Juventus’ current state.

It puts me in a difficult position. The last 20 days of the market will be difficult for us, it’s an embarrassing situation, because we risk having to leave out players of a very high level,” said Sarri.

It has also affected his pre-season preparation. Given the uncertainty surrounding the transfer window, Sarri has largely rotated between Higuain, Mandzukic and Dybala. Rather than sticking with one preferred front-line and implementing his mechanisms with them, Sarri has been forced to adapt. As a result, it may be long before we see Sarriball fully introduced in Turin.

With just over two weeks left to the mercato, it will be interesting to see who Juventus decide to move. Reports suggest Higuain will join Roma while Mandzukic favours a Bundesliga move. However, as we’ve seen, there are no guarantees and we can just as easily see, fan favourite, Dybala on his way out. Whether you like it or not, buckle your seat-belts Juventus fans, you’re in for a bumpy end to the summer transfer window.

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Paratici keeps it close to the vest on the transfer market

Juventus main official Fabio Paratici talked to Sky Sport after the usual intra-squad friendly at Villar Perosa: “There are a lot of talks in these days of negotiations, but then not a lot of business really gets made. We are serene and confident. It is a great day to be here with our people, this is the Juventus equivalent of Christmas.”

On some players potentially on their way out: “The Champions League list has precise parameters and neither the coach or I can change that. We have just one local player this year compared to the previous ones, so we will have to let somebody go to have a 22-man squad. Marko Pjaca and Mattia Perin are unlikely to leave because of their long-term injuries, while Luca Pellegrini is headed to Cagliari.” Continue reading

Opinion: Juventus could still use Higuain’s services

After addressing the midfield and the centre-back positions in the first month of the transfer market, Juventus management will now shift focus to untangling the logjam in the attack. Coach Maurizio Sarri has carried on with 4-3-3 and, with Cristiano Ronaldo pegged as left winger, there are four men who can play as centre-forward on the roster. So inevitably at least one of the centre-forwards will have to head elsewhere.

The pairing of Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean would be the ideal landing spot after all the maneuvering, mainly due to age and potential-related reasons. Continue reading

Dybala wishes to stay and Allegri’s presser

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Paulo Dybala talked to the journalist at an Adidas event yesterday, backtracking from his brother recent remark’s about being unhappy at Juventus: “He speaks for himself. I have discussed with Fabio Paratici, he knows that I want to continue playing with Juventus. Then it is not up to me, the management will make his choices based on the new coach’s ideas, but I want to stay.”

On the new coach: “I believe even the executives do not even know yet, I hope he will be a great one in order to win everything. That is the most important thing, then the fans want to see good football and few managers are capable in that area. We have thanked and greeted Massimiliano Allegri, we are very grateful for what he has done.” Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 38

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Juventus: Blaise Matuidi and Federico Bernardeschi are suspended, while Joao Cancelo and Mario Mandzukic both fractured their nose in the same week and are unavailable for Sunday. Alex Sandro is dealing with a rib contusion. Douglas Costa (calf), Mattia Perin (shoulder) and Sami Khedira (knee) remain sidelined as expected. Cristiano Ronaldo will be rested, while Wojciech Szczesny has suffered a knee injury.

Napoli: Allan and Kalidou Koulibaly are disqualified. Amadou Diawara looked close to returning from a foot fracture for a pair of weeks, but he was again unable to make the squad list, like Adam Ounas that is banged up and David Ospina, who is still in Colombia. Mario Rui is out with an undisclosed injury.  Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 37

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In the Atalanta game, Juventus managed to defend home court with the help of a strong second half and a futuristic line-up, closing the season undefeated at the Stadium.

Wojciech Szczesny: the defense was subpar, which has been the case since the title was clinched, especially on set pieces, which is were Josip Ilicic punished the Old Lady. The goals could have been more if the Polish goalkeeper did not have few great saves: on Remo Freuler and Duvan Zapata’s attempts in the first half and on wicked free kick by the Slovenian attacker in the second half. Andrea Barzagli struggled to keep up with the Colombian striker, but far younger centre-backs have done the same this year and obviously it does not take anything away from his terrific services over the year. Alex Sandro had a rough day at the office and had to be taken out to avoid a red card, as he was too foul prone. Joao Cancelo benefitted from the squad’s offensive mentality and brought his crossing and playmaking to the table. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 37

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Standings implications: Atalanta held on to dear life against Juventus and took home a point that allowed them to pull even with Inter in third position, but they are up head-to-head, as the Nerazzurri fell apart in Naples. Milan stay in the hunt one point behind them after defeating Frosinone, while Roma need a miracle since they bungled the Sassuolo game. Torino fizzled out of the Europa League race since they were topped by Empoli. In the race to avoid relegation, the Tuscan Azzurri leapfrogged Genoa, while Udinese and Parma punched their ticket for next year’s Serie A by topping SPAL and Fiorentina, Cagliari by tying with the Griffon. La Viola is very much in the thick of it since they will square off against Genoa next week, over whom they hold a three-point lead. Empoli will pay Inter a visit. Bologna got the job done with a point on Monday too.

Continue reading