Manchester United and Juventus are in discussion over a potential swap deal involving Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku.
Despite and initial rejuvenation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils suffered a woeful end to the 2018/19 campaign which saw them miss out on a top four spot.
Meanwhile, although Juventus comfortably claimed yet another Serie A title – surprise, surprise – they disappointingly exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after losing to dark horses Ajax.
Both players in mention fell out of favour at their respective clubs; Lukaku scored an underwhelming 12 goals in 32 appearances in relation to his £75m fee, while Dybala only found the net four times in 24 appearances himself.
With these stats in mind, let’s decide which club would benefit more from this aforementioned potential swap.
Although Lukaku played significantly more matches, the statistics speak for themselves on this one. During a season which saw Lukaku receive his fair share of criticism, his finishing was one aspect of his game in which he maintained to a high standard.
When in on goal, he could usually be relied upon to finish with decent consistency, perhaps better displaying his clinical nature donning a Belgium strip rather than that of his club; as he most recently scored four times in two Nations League matches for his country.
Dybala gets significantly less opportunities to score, but he certainly doesn’t possess the predatory attributes of United’s current number nine.
Although the statistics may not show it, Dybala has become more of a creator for Juventus, contributing to goals rather than scoring them himself.
Frequently playing just behind the striker, it is essential that the Argentinian has an eye for the killer pass, and that would be particularly vital if he were to be playing alongside willing runners like Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and new addition Daniel James.
Lukaku hasn’t made his name off of being a technically gifted individual. His first touch and passing ability often let him down making United the obvious winners in that sense if a deal were to take place.
This is a similar story to the passing section. Dybala is a very technical player who is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet. His size and agility allow him to manipulate the tightest of spaces in and around the opposition defenders.
This particular quality is perhaps the most significant of those which have led to similarities being drawn between himself and fellow Argentinian world beater Lionel Messi, perhaps the best in the world when one-on-one against an opponent.
Lukaku’s clumsy style often leaves him looking to overpower his opposition with strength and pace rather than trying to beat them with trickery. Again, Solskjaer’s side would be better off.
The polarity in stature between the two players makes this a fairly simple decision, with Lukaku clearly overshadowing Dybala in terms of size and physical presence.
But the former hasn’t performed this role as well as many might expect since joining from Everton in 2017. His inconsistent first touch frequently allows defenders the opportunity to snatch the ball off him before the wingers get the opportunity to join the attack.
More often than not, he found himself stranded in wide areas leaving no one to aim for in the box. Dybala may not have size on his side, but he’s capable of getting the ball under control and winning the odd free kick at the very least.
But with the added time and space in the Serie A compared to the Premier League, Juventus may benefit more with Lukaku who could thrive as their target-man.
With Dybala and Lukaku just 25 and 26 years old respectively, they both arguably have their best years still to come.
With Lukaku yet to feature during pre-season, questions are being raised over whether the striker is being forced out of Old Trafford.
However, we are all aware of the deadly striker Lukaku is capable of being, highlighted through his performances for Belgium. A change of club might be all that’s required to for him to truly become one of the best attackers in the game.
Dybala, like Lukaku, will benefit from a change of setting could see him become as important for United as he once was for Juventus.
This is a potential deal which would truly benefit both parties. It would be a real shock if Lukaku didn’t add plenty of goals to Juventus’ game.
But he has had his opportunity at Manchester United and failed to take it, leaving him surplus to requirements under Solskjaer.
United possess a number of dangerous players capable of playing down the middle like Rashford and Martial, as well as the emerging teenager Mason Greenwood, meaning they aren’t short on attacking talent, even without signing Dybala.
The Juventus star can play as the main striker, as the number ten or even out wide, and it’s this versatility that will excite Red Devils fans, and allow Dybala to have a much greater impact at Old Trafford than Lukaku would at Allianz Stadium