Juventus Transfer Speculation: Making Sense of Juve's Biggest Transfer Rumours
Speculating about transfers is always fun, and in the past few weeks the rumour mill has worked overtime to link strikers to the Bianconeri.
It has become clear in the past few weeks that Juventus lack quality strikers. Fans asked for reinforcements all summer and were only rewarded with a season loan of Danish giant Nicklas Bendtner. Fast forward to the present, and the need for a goalscorer has not lessened.
With all these players being linked to The Old Lady, it's important we distinguish between plain gossip and credible stories that could turn into transfer deals in January. In these next few pages we'll be analysing every rumour, looking at how players would fit with the team and determining how plausible each scenario is.
Before We Begin...
Just because I say a player has a good chance to become part of the team in the future doesn't mean you should start ordering your custom jerseys.
Likewise, I might not believe in a certain player and yet he might still make the team.
I don't have Antonio Conte on speed dial (that would be sick) and it wouldn't be the first time he's left me scratching my head.
Don't agree with some of my conclusions? Let me know in the comment section, and I'll be sure to give you a reply telling you exactly why you're wrong.
Just kidding. But do leave a comment.
Let's start with the most obvious one. A lot has been written about the Llorente-to-Juventus saga, and Daily Mail (h/t standard.co.uk) was able to come up with some numbers regarding the deal earlier this week.
Llorente is unhappy, and his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. Athletic Bilbao needs to sell their star forward in January if they hope to get something in return.
Bilbao are trying to deal with the situation by parking Llorente's hiney on the bench, but it clearly isn't working. The man is out, and will be representing a new team in 2012-2013.
Llorente seems like a good fit, as he both solves a need for the Bianconeri and wants the move to Turin, per AS (h/t soccernews.com). He's a big, physical striker who is at his best in or near the box. Very adept at scoring with both his feet and his head, he's not the most mobile player but would greatly benefit from playing with playmakers like Andrea Pirlo and Sebastian Giovinco, while presenting a massive target for Kwadwo Asamoah and his partners on the wing.
Arsenal might present some competition for the Bianconeri, as they are yet to see a decent return on their investments in Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, but with Llorente being an absolute priority for Juventus and the player himself keen on the move, this move seems to be very close to a done deal.
There are no certainties in football, but this move is definitely plausible.
The report, which originally ran on Tuttosport, links both Llorente and Lewandowski to Juventus.
The man has been absolutely on fire for the past 18 months or so, and is a great striker. Very strong on the ball with good technique and mobility, Lewandowski's best trait is his clinical finishing. He can play as a classic target man but is perhaps even better when given a little space. From a pure footballing perspective, he is a great fit.
The question is whether Lewandowski would be interested in a move to Turin. There are no reports of him being unhappy in Dortmund or having any reason to leave, other than perhaps moving to a bigger team. And right now, Juventus and the Serie A would not present a step up for Lewandoski.
And then there's the finances. If Lewandowski does move, he has already stated it would be to England, per Dailymail.
Juventus might be financially healthy at the moment, but they don't have the firepower to challenge the English teams and the ridiculous wages they are willing to offer. This deal, as a result, is unlikely to go through.
There's this tradition in world football: if you play for Arsenal and you're any good, you leave. This is done so the North London side can never actually win anything, but pride itself on its financial situation and make fun of Chelsea and Manchester City for spending lots of money on their players and winning trophies and stuff.
Theo Walcott wants a new contract, and he's not signing it unless he gets a chance to play as a striker rather than his current position as a winger, according to the BBC.
Sports360 now says Juventus would consider a swoop.
I'm not seeing it. Walcott is a very good player, but his goalscoring record is not that of a striker. His playing style is that of a winger, and in the 3-5-2 that Antonio Conte likes to run, that would not make him a good fit. Juventus like to switch their formation from time to time, but wingers are currently not a priority.
Another tradition in world football is that of good English players not leaving the Premier League. If Walcott decides to part ways with Arsenal (history says he will) there will no doubt be several English sides interested in his services. And right now, it seems unlikely he will be going anywhere in January.
Several outlets, including The Guardian, reported that the Didier Drogba's agent was talking to Juventus last week. It was said that the former Chelsea man had already reached a verbal agreement with the Bianconeri, and the issues that needed clearing up had to do with the wages proposed.
Since then, Juventus have come out and said they are not after Drogba, per Goal.com.
Smoke and mirrors, or is Giuseppe Marotta speaking the truth?
At the age of 34, Drogba would be a temporary solution to the Bianconeri's biggest problem, and that does not fit the vision Conte has for Juventus. Drogba is a big, powerful striker with a nose for goals, but he's been around for so long, one has to wonder whether or not he could still take the beatings strikers suffer in the physical Serie A.
Drogba also has a history of being unwilling to lower his salary demands, which would present the biggest issue in a potential deal. I want to believe that Juventus will think about the Ivorian in January, but right now I don't see a deal going down.
Roma striker Pablo Osvaldo is not Zdenek Zeman's favourite player, and Juventus have noticed, per goal.com (h/t sportsmole.co.uk).
Osvaldo may not be known to a majority of fans, but he is a very serviceable striker that knows how to score goals. He is definitely an option, but he should be a low priority for Juventus in January.
I'm not one to sully the names of other writers, but anyone who thinks this man is a better option than Fernando Llorente is wrong.
Osvaldo would be more expensive, has a very explosive personality and questionable character and is a less-proven commodity than the Spaniard.
Juventus like their Italian, under-the-radar signings (think of Marco Borriello), which is why this signing would be a possibility, but Osvaldo is not the player fans want, and unless none of the other options prove viable he is not the player Juventus should get.
Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha. That's Nani's real name. Just a fun fact.
Nani is yet another player who is unhappy (this time with Manchester United) and wants out.
Nani is a good winger, but he's just that: a winger. Last year, Juventus kept Eljero Elia on the bench all season and sold him to Werder Bremen because there was no room in Conte's system for a pure winger. Milos Krasic was one of the most-hyped Juventus signings in recent history and proved to be worth every penny in his early days with the team, but he also became an afterthought under Conte.
So, let's sign another pure winger? I think not.
Manchester will not let him walk cheaply, and even if he does walk, there will be plenty of teams with a need for a proven, albeit inconsistent winger. He would be very expensive for a situational player, and doesn't fit the locker room mentality Juventus pride themselves upon.
The many rumours suggest Juventus are serious about this deal, but I can't see Antonio Conte making such a huge mistake.
Isco (or Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, if you're a fan of ridiculous names this writer can't pronounce) is not a striker, but he is a transfer target for Juventus, according to insidespanishfootball.com.
Isco has been Malaga's main playmaker this season and has been phenomenal taking over for Santi Cazorla, who left the club for Arsenal this past summer. As an attacking midfielder, he's shown a lot of goalscoring ability to go along with his excellent playmaking skills.
Juventus have plenty of midfielders, but Isco is a rare talent. With the rise of the "false nine," is it possible Juventus could experiment with using Isco as an attacker?
Isco could alternate with Sebastian Giovinco as a secondary striker, but unlike Gio, he would spend more time right in front of the midfield triangle. He could be great in support of Mirko Vucinic, and has the quickness to hurt static defenses.
But notice how I use the word "could" quite a lot. The truth is, we don't know whether or not Isco could help fix the problems Juventus have up front.
The prospect of Isco in a white and black shirt is enticing, but it would most likely not be enough. Combining Isco with another signing from this list, however, would make for a succesful January transfer window.