It’s said that you should always build from a position of strength, and well, Juventus have been pretty damn good at that over the last decade. But following the departure of coach Massimiliano Allegri at the end of last season, and the subsequent struggles under Maurizio Sarri, this Old Lady looks to be showing her age.
I Bianconeri have been known for their ability to hoover up the latest shiny object that catches their eye in Italy, and whilst it has worked wonders over the years, they are now faced with a bloated and average (by their impeccable standards) squad.
So the summer transfer window is Sarri’s chance to shape a team in his image – minus the cigarette butts – and usher in a new era in Turin. And with rumours swirling regarding a busy summer of transfer dealings for the Italian champions, 90min has decided to take a look at the ideal starting XI Juve could at the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
No need for change here. Wojciech Szczęsny has had to bide his time to become the Juve number one goalkeeper, but very few have had reason to mourn the loss of Gianluigi Buffon from the starting lineup this year.
There are no question marks over the pedigree of the Polish shot-stopper, who has established himself as, pound for pound, the best goalkeeper in Serie A. So although I Bianconeri are looking to plug some defensive gaps, Szczęsny’s spot is as safe as his very own hands.
The right-back role has been a cause for concern for Juve supporters in recent seasons, having struggled to find an adequate replacement for Brazilian star Dani Alves since he left the club in 2017.
So it came as no surprise when news broke of a possible swap deal with Barcelona for Portuguese full-back Nelson Semedo, and you have to say, he’d be a pretty good fit. The 26-year-old has learned his trade at some of the best clubs in the world, and he would be a huge upgrade on any of their current alternatives. One to watch with interest over the summer.
Last summer’s big-money signing Matthijs de Ligt did not enjoy the smoothest of transitions from the Eredivisie to Serie A this season, but by the time the campaign had been suspended in March, he looked very much part of the black and white furniture.
The young centre-back finally found his feet in the Juve backline, and there is no reason to believe the Italian champions will be aiming to cash in on the Dutch star any time soon. The future of Juventus’ defence.
Nothing doing here, either. Giorgio Chiellini may be getting on a bit, but what he lacks in pace and youth, he more than makes up for with defensive awareness, intelligence and bravery.
The 35-year-old has missed the majority of this campaign with a knee injury, but he did return to action in the final three matches, prior to the league’s suspension. As club captain, his spot in the backline is far from under threat.
Only a few years ago, Alex Sandro was hands down the best full-back in Serie A. Given the current lack of competition for that title, he might still be in the mix to scoop that prize yet again – but his form has been miles off the pace in recent seasons, which has left the Old Lady with a decision to make.
The truth is, Juve could improve in this area. And who better to light a fire under Sandro than his national compatriot, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s good pal, Marcelo. The Real Madrid legend has surrendered his place in the Spanish giants’ starting lineup this year, and he may have to look elsewhere for first-team football. The potential linkup between Marcelo and CR7 is enough reason to take a punt on the 32-year-old.
A star in the making. if there is one major positive that Juventus supporters can take from this stuttering season, it is the emergence of Rodrigo Bentancur as a genuine midfield general.
The Uruguayan has thrived in a team which has appeared largely out of sorts this year, and despite the Old Lady’s intentions to strengthen in the middle of the park, his name should be one of the first on the team-sheet.
Sandro Tonali will not be battling it out at the bottom of Serie A with Brescia next season. The man who has got the touch, the passing range, and the hair of Andrea Pirlo is destined for bigger and better things, and Juve are one of many teams to have sat up and taken notice.
For his age, Tonali is one of the most complete central midfielders in the league, and he would slot seamlessly into this Juve side. Inter are also in the race to land the young Italian midfielder, and they are believed to have the upper hand in negotiations. But never rule out I Bianconeri.
The transfer rumour mill is churning out plenty more possible midfield recruits in Turin, with Semedo’s teammate Arthur also named as a possible candidate to replace the seemingly departing Miralem Pjanic.
But given that there have to be some sort of financial restrictions in play, we’ve decided that Aaron Ramsey could well be the man to claim the final midfield place. The Welshman has grown into the current campaign, and he has shown flashes of what he can bring to this Juventus team. Time to deliver on a regular basis though, Aaron.
The Old Lady has been flirting with this jewel for some time, and she may go in for the kill this summer. Nicolo Zaniolo is a future star of European football, and he has lived up to the hype during an excellent season with AS Roma.
I Giallorossi might have to sell some of their biggest names this summer, having announced crippling losses over the past nine months, and there are fears in the capital that Zaniolo may be sacrificed if the price is right. And if there’s one club that likes to strike while the iron is hot, it’s Juve.
12 months ago, Paulo Dybala was considered extremely dispensable by the Juve hierarchy. But having rejected moves to Premier League giants Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, the Argentine has quietly gone about his business and demonstrated why he should not be written off too soon.
In fact, Dybala is likely to extend his stay in Turin, and Sarri must now aim to get the best out of him. Perhaps turning him into the next Dries Mertens – as from his Napoli days – could see la Joya finally fulfil his potential.
You didn’t think we would leave him out, right? As long as Cristiano Ronaldo darkens the door of the Allianz stadium, he will always be a part of this lineup.
And having reverted back to the inside left position which he made his own during his time in Madrid, the Portuguese star may continue tormenting right-backs on that flank for another season. Good luck, Serie A.