7 moves Juventus need to make in January transfer window
In the summer of 2020, Juventus took a huge risk and hired rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, despite the fact that he had never even led his children’s Sunday League squad before recovering the keys of Turin.
The Italian giants now find themselves well behind league leaders Milan in terms of points and standings, and the pressure is firmly on the club legend to reverse this early nightmare.
Are we really surprised that it didn’t work?
In fact, those who were once referred to as dream crushers and pessimistic Paulo had likely predicted this major downside for the champions, following their tough season under Maurizio Sarri, and the humiliating Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon.
To be fair to Juve and Pirlo, they’ve addressed the significant squad imbalance this summer, shipping a stack of old heads and high incomes, while infusing much needed youth and dynamism into the squad.
As the league table suggests, however, there are still many areas of concern for the Bianconeri pecking order, heading towards what could be a title-dependent January transfer window. Do the right thing, and Juve could win the number 10 scudetto in a row in May. Make a mistake, and Pirlo’s head will be on the chopping block.
But what are these problems and how can they be solved? 90 mins is here to analyze a massive winter window for the Italian champions threatened by the crown.
Alright, man Fabio Paratici, get out that checkbook, write a big bill for € 18million and hand it to Schalke ASAP. Weston McKennie has been the saving grace of a struggling Juve midfielder this season, and there’s no doubt he has what it takes to compete in the upper echelons of Serie A.
So, while his move to Turin is currently temporary and could automatically be made permanent depending on the number of appearances they make during the season, Juve shouldn’t even hesitate until the summer.
How do you solve a problem like Paulo? The Argentinian is attached to Juventus, has never expressed a desire to leave the club and has even challenged the board in their attempts to sell him.
Widely regarded as the most technically gifted player on the team, Dybala is incredibly talented, if not poorly used by coaches who don’t want to build a team around him. And with his contract expiring in 18 months, time is running out for the board to make an important decision.
La Joya wants to stay – but only for the right price. Will Juve play and pay Dybala what he wants, making him the star of the squad, or cash out before his value drops with each passing transfer window? Gambleeeeeee!
It doesn’t work for Federico Bernardeschi in Turin, does it? The Italian has shown no sign of good form over the past two seasons, and Pirlo cannot afford to carry passengers if he wants to climb to the top of Serie A by the end of the campaign.
So, cut down the dead wood. Bernardeschi is not a bad player at all, and he has shown on international missions that, given the right conditions, he can thrive. Fair, not to Juve.
Stick it in the market, sell it to a naive Premier League club willing to pay miles above the asking price, and reinvest that money in a player who matches the style and system. Simple.
No matter what Pirlo tries or how he sets up his squad, there is always something missing in his midfield. While McKennie has proven to be an inspired signing, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Arthur Melo flatter themselves to cheat.
What is needed is a man with some invention on the ball. Someone who can pick the lock on defenses, slide with the ball at their feet, and still offer an option to teammates. Basically, Juve need Paul Pogba.
Whether they can convince Manchester United to sell in January is a whole different argument. If the Frenchman remains out of their reach, how about a cheeky offer for AS Roma starlet Gonzalo Villar? The Spaniard really watches business.
Juve have already pulled off a masterstroke by bringing Alvaro Morata back to Turin, but they must dive into the market again to attack reinforcements.
The Spaniard has re-established himself in Serie A life with ease, but behind him and persistent Cristiano Ronaldo there is little scoring instinct.
I Bianconeri lack serious attackers on the bench, so signing a hungry and proven young striker must be a priority for Pirlo. Celtic star Odsonne Edouard has been linked to the Italian giants and could be the perfect candidate to challenge and support the current line of attack.
Now I don’t want to go too far with Juan Cuadrado as he has been a great servant to Juventus in a number of positions and roles over the years – BUT – there has to be better there. Especially for a team that hopes to fight for European trophies.
Cuadrado plays a unique position in Pirlo’s fluid system, going from a right-back to a flying winger when in possession and out of possession, making his job difficult to learn.
But there must be better alternatives, surely? Is it time for Max Aarons to finally land his money transfer and prove his ability at the top of our sport? Sorry Norwich City fans, but even you know he’s too good for the Championship.
Despite what FIFA19, 20 and 21 will tell you, Alex Sandro hasn’t been an elite-level left-back for several years. The Brazilian’s performances have been so average over the past two or three seasons, and that just won’t be enough for a player playing such an important role in the system.
Pirlo opted to start Gianluca Frabotta or Federico Chiesa ahead of Sandro in that fluid winger role, but he gave the defender a chance to play center-back against Fiorentina on Tuesday. An own goal and a 3-0 hammering later, that plan backfired.
Juve must land on a plan for the winter. Either you buy an accomplished left center-back who can operate wide, or a left-back who can fall into the heart of the defense when needed. What Pirlo really needs is Leonardo Spinazzola, the man Juve sold to Roma in 2019, who is now the best winger in the league. Crazy business.