Juventus’ Top Three Mercato Priorities

With the season just ten days away, Juventus are scrambling to rejuvenate their roster and offer rookie manager Andrea Pirlo significant reinforcements. As the season approaches, Fabio Paratici will be eager to conclude all his mercato business sooner rather than later, starting with the hunt for a new number nine.

Let’s take a deeper look at Juventus’ mercato priorities going into the new season:

1) Sell the deadwood. 

The common theme this transfer window for almost any Italian team has been ‘buy before you sell’. Weston McKennie arrived from Schalke for virtually nothing, while Arthur was swapped for Miralem Pjanic. This indicates that Juventus’s transfer kitty is limited this year unless they can move on unwanted players.

Blaise Matuidi has already joined Inter Miami while Gonzalo Higuain will soon follow, according to reports. Sami Khedira is another player Juventus are eager to part ways with, but the German international is determined to prove his worth to Pirlo. Beyond the former Real Madrid man, Paratici has been unable to move on Douglas Costa, who has spent the better part of the last two seasons sidelined with injuries. Aaron Ramsey is yet another Juventus man whose future is worth monitoring, after failing to make an impact last season despite high wages.

Before the Juventus faithful can dream of a big signing, these are exactly the types of players they need to move on. It won’t be easy and the clock is ticking for Paratici.

2) A new number nine

Juventus parted ways with both Mario Mandzukic and Moise Kean last summer and have failed to replace either ever since. With Higuain declining and on his way to Major League Soccer, Pirlo requested a new number nine for his setup. Edin Dzeko and Luis Suarez are the two most recent strikers linked with a move to Turin, with the Uruguayan emerging as the favorite.

Juventus will reportedly pay Barcelona three million euros with potential bonuses rising to 16 million euros, and will offer Suarez a three-year deal. The entire operation will reach around 45 million euros between wages and transfer fees if recent reports are credible. While Juventus need a number nine and Suarez fits the bill, this is a move that reeks of desperation and resembles the Bianconeri’s past mishaps on the transfer window.

There is currently a dearth of quality number nines available, making Suarez one of Juve’s only realistic options. Paratici’s hands may be tied, but he may regret this move a year or two down the line.

3) One surprise signing? 

After securing a number nine, Juventus could use another profile, be it at fullback or in the midfield. Reinforcing at fullback seems to be down Paratici’s list of priorities, but Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilon could be an interesting opportunity. The Spanish giants have made it clear he’s available and he could be available at a decent price. Reguilon’s arrival could make Alex Sandro expendable, freeing up some much-needed transfer budget.

Beyond their fullback needs, Juventus could arguably use another creative midfielder. The likes of Rodrigo De Paul and Luis Alberto have been previously linked with a move to Turin, indicating a move for a midfield maestro may be on the cards. In this sense, Lyon’s Houssem Aouar should be a priority and is reportedly available at a decent price. If Juventus can broker a deal for the French international, it would go a long way at addressing their lack of dynamism and creativity in the middle of the park.

However, let’s be clear – any surprise move is completely contingent on selling their deadwood, something Paratici has struggled with since assuming his position.

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One Transfer Target For Italy’s Top Five

Italy’s top sides have been extremely active this transfer window as they look to significantly bolster their ranks. Inter have already signed Achraf Hakimi, Juve have secured Arthur and Dejan Kulusevski while Napoli brought in Victor Osimhen.

Regardless of their early activity, Italy’s giants are still in the market for unique opportunities. Without further ado, here’s one player each of Italy’s top five should sign before the mercato closes.

1) Juventus: Houssem Aouar. 

The Lyon midfielder showed the world why he’s one of football’s most highly-rated talents last month, propelling the Ligue 1 side into the Champions League semifinals. However, as Juninho, Lyon’s sporting director, highlighted in his post-game press conference, Aouar is available this transfer window and Juventus should do everything it takes to get the French international to Turin.

Lyon has set the asking price at 50 million euros for their star man, which represents fair market value in an inflated window. Given Juve’s midfield woes, Aouar should be their number one target – even after Weston McKennie’s arrival. It may not be feasible financially, but Aouar would finally allow the Turin-based giants to put their midfield problems once and for all.

2) Inter – Emerson

Inter have done extremely well in recent transfer windows, significantly improving their roster with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Nicolo Barella, and Christian Eriksen among others. Antonio Conte’s men competed on all fronts this season, reaching the Europa League final, but now need to take the next step.

The Nerazzurri’s midfield is arguably the best in Italy while their defense finished with the best record this season. Regardless, Inter could use a new left wingback and have since been linked with Chelsea’s Emerson. The former Roma man is already familiar with Italian football and would come at a relatively low cost. Reuniting with Conte could help Emerson get his career back on track and help Inter address a longstanding need.

3) Milan - Sandro Tonali

Milian could arguably use another center-back to add depth to their existing ranks, but should not pass up the chance to sign Sandro Tonali. Inter are reportedly in pole position for the Brescia midfielder, but Milan has recently emerged in the race, according to recent reports. The Nerazzurri need to sell some of their unwanted players before presenting Brescia with an offer while Milan should take the opportunity to pounce. Brescia, however, would prefer to include an obligation to buy in the deal, which Milan is currently considering.

Despite disagreements over the formula of the deal, Tonali should be Milan’s number one target. The Italian international has proven to be an incredible talent this season with Brescia and will compliment Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie in the midfield. Given his 35 million euros price tag, Tonali could just be the steal of the summer.

4) Napoli – Sergio Reguilon 

Napoli has been proactive this transfer window, already securing Andrea Petagna, Amir Rrahmani, and Victor Osimhen. Gennaro Gattuso’s men have since been linked with a plethora of leftbacks across the globe, including Sevilla’s Sergio Reguilon. The Spanish international has taken football by storm this season, bombing up and down the left flank at will.

If recent reports are to be believed, Napoli could get a deal done for Reguilon at a good price. With Faouzi Ghoulam slowing down, they can use depth out wide and the Sevilla man could offer just that.

5) Roma – Chris Smalling

This one’s a rather obvious one, but Roma must do what it takes to bring back Chris Smalling to the club. The Englishman was arguably the Giallorossi’s best centreback this season and formed an uncompromising partnership with Gianluca Mancini. As the season approaches, Roma should stop haggling over the final price and pay Manchester United’s valuation for the defender.

If they cannot agree to a price, they can then shift their attention to Hellas Verona’s Marash Kumbulla. Inter have been heavily linked with the defender, but given they have other priorities, Roma would be wise to insert themselves in a deal for him.

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Barca could end Solari’s Real Madrid career

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Earlier this season, Julen Lopetegui knew definitively that his Real Madrid coaching tenure was over when Los Blancos were hammered 5-1 at the Camp Nou.

The manner of the defeat left Florentino Perez no other option, notwithstanding that the president needs no excuse to exercise his trigger finger. Continue reading

James Rodriguez to lead Real Madrid summer exodus

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James Rodriguez is set to leave La Liga this summer, with Real Madrid happy for the Colombian international to move on after an unfulfilled five years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rodriguez, 27, signed for Los Blancos ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, on the back of an outstanding performance at the World Cup two months before, however his face never seemed to fit at the club particularly under previous boss Zinedine Zidane.

Despite the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, he does not appear to be guaranteed a continued role in Bavaria either.

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