Juventus: Exploring Trades the Bianconeri Could Make
Trading for players is a practice that isn't very common in world football. Most big teams have deep pockets and don't have any problems dropping millions of dollars on the table to obtain a player that could make their current team better.
Italian teams don't have that luxury. There used to be a time when no team in world football could compete with the Italian powerhouses on a financial level, but in today's economy, it are the Italians who are unable to outbid teams from countries such as England, Spain or Germany.
This is one of the reasons trading players takes place in Italy more then in most other top leagues. Usually it involves teams from the lower divisions trading their young promising players (or at least a percentage of their rights) to a top team in exchange for cash considerations and a player that has had his chance and couldn't cut it at the highest level.
In this article, we'll explore a few trades between Juventus and foreign top teams that could realistically take place.
Obligatory Explanatory Slide
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I must preface by explaining that I don't believe any of these trades will take place.
I'm not even sure that I would want the Bianconeri to make any of these trades.
These are theoretical trades that I, as a writer, wanted to play out and imagine their possibilities. I invite you, as a reader and Juventus fan, to read the article in such a way and let me know what you think in the comment section.
Every proposed trade is based on the teams having shown an interest in Juventus players in recent history. I will provide you with links on every slide.
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid
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I absolutely love watching Arturo Vidal play.
The man plays with an incredible engine, does a lot of the dirty work in midfield, can orchestrate the attack and still finds a way to consistently get on the score sheet.
But I'm not the only one who is infatuated with Vidal.
Real Madrid have shown a keen interest in signing the Chilean, so much so that the Bianconeri had to warn them against making an offer (per Tuttosport, via ESPN.com.) Vidal is reportedly proud to be on Real's wish list (per Sky Sport Italia, via goal.com) but has come out recently to express his happiness with Juventus and his desire to remain with the club (per football-italia.net.)
Vidal is a very important part of this squad, but he is not irreplaceable.
French young star Paul Pogba has been receiving more minutes as the season goes on, and he has been impressive so far. He could realistically stand in for Vidal, should the latter get injured, and has all the necessary skills to possibly replace him in the future.
More importantly, the most likely player that would make the move from Madrid to Turin would be Gonzalo Higuain, possibly with cash considerations.
The Argentinian striker is a young yet proven player who has been on the Bianconeri watch-list since Antonio Conte took over coaching duties. Higuain is a secondary option on the Madrid bench behind Karim Benzema and could benefit greatly from a move to Juventus, where he would easily be the most talented striker.
Proposed move: Arturo Vidal for Gonzalo Higuain + cash considerations.
Why it won't happen: Vidal is to Andrea Pirlo what Robin is to Batman. Juventus need Vidal to clean up the midfield and be Pirlo's enforcer. Pogba is very talented, but also very young. Finally "MVP midfield" sounds really cool.
Stephan Lichtsteiner to PSG
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French giants Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly in the market for Swiss international Stephan Lichtsteiner last summer, and the Bianconeri right back was said to be interested in the move, per Football-italia.net.
The move eventually fell through, and PSG opted to sign Dutch international Gregory van der Wiel instead.
I could have saved the French side a lot of money by telling them the Dutchman would be a major bust, but I don't really think they care.
Lichtsteiner is not a flashy player, and you will be hard-pressed to find a Bianconeri fan who points to the Swiss back as his favourite player and a vital member of this team.
But what Lichtsteiner lacks in ability and raw talent, he makes up for with character and determination. He goes 100 percent for the full 90 minutes, covering a lot of ground in the process.
When Juventus bought Mauricio Isla last summer, he was seen as insurance, should Lichtsteiner leave. Isla is a great utility player that is capable of playing all over the midfield and as a right back, and he has been solid (if unspectacular) in his limited time so far.
Ever since PSG brought in Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, French striker Kévin Gameiro has been forced to spend more time on the bench than he expected when he first joined the French side.
Gameiro is not a world class striker, but he would present a better option than pretty much anyone Juventus currently use upfront. He has lost some value in the past six months and could be a good pickup for the Bianconeri.
Proposed trade: Stephan Lichtsteiner for Kévin Gameiro + cash considerations.
Why it won't happen: Kévin Gameiro is good, but not great. Juventus are expected to buy a great striker in January. Lichtsteiner is way too cool a name. Van der Wiel could do what he always does: make people believe he's better than he actually is.
Claudio Marchisio to Manchester United
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Sir Alex Ferguson is a big fan of Claudio Marchisio. That is hardly news.
Marchisio is an integral part of the MVP midfield, and I don't see Antonio Conte being even remotely interested in shipping off the Italy international. But for the sake of this article, let's say Marchisio wanted out.
Claudio is a great all-around midfielder, with the ability to deliver crisp passes, cover massive distances and unleash a thunderous shot. He does a great job of tracking down the ball and helping out defensively, and can score in a variety of ways.
Those kind of players don't come cheap.
Manchester United have a very deep group of strikers, with two absolute superstars: Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. These two appear to be untouchable, but their third option isn't: Javier Hernández.
The Mexican poacher has been in impressive form lately, and could develop into a world class player when given the opportunity.
Simply put, Manchester United won't offer him that. As much as they like to use him as a super-sub, Rooney and Van Persie will always be at the top of the pecking order. If Hernández really wishes to fulfill his potential, he needs to be a starter.
He would be the No. 1 option for Juve.
Proposed trade: Claudio Marchisio for Javier Hernández
Why it won't happen: Marchisio is one of the faces of this team, and a Juventus youth product. He is as close as you can come to untouchable.
Giorgio Chiellini to Manchester City
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Like Marchisio, Chiellini is virtually untouchable. Capable of playing both centre-back and left-back, he has been a cornerstone of this team for the last five years.
In the current 3-5-2 that Conte likes to use, it is of vital importance to have three excellent backs defending the area. Chiellini is an old school butcher that will pull, kick and do all kinds of things to prevent you from scoring. And he's possibly the best in the world at it.
Chiellini won't be traded, but say that Manchester City was really serious about getting him. And I mean, whatever-it-takes-serious. City has several players on their roster that could really interest Juventus and would fit their system perfectly.
If this were FIFA 13, I would inquire about Aleksandar Kolarov, Edin Dzeko and Matija Nastasic.
Kolarov would be a great fit on the left wing in the 3-5-2, as he is an excellent defender with good range and a good cross in his feet. Dzeko is a great striker who would solve the problems Juventus have upfront, and Nastasic is one of the best prospects in world football at the LCB position and could replace Chiellini there.
Proposed trade: Giorgio Chiellini + cash considerations for Aleksandar Kolarov or Edin Dzeko and Matija Nastasic.
Why it won't happen: Come on. It's Chiellini. We all love watching him drive his opponent crazy and watching out for that elbow. He has to remain with Juventus.