Scouting Claudio Marchisio: Juventus' Rumoured Manchester United Target
The Azzurri international is exactly the type of player that the Premier League champions crave, as despite strolling to the title, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have a glaring weakness.
The Red Devils midfield, specifically centrally, is significantly inferior to those of the teams that United aspire to compete with in the Champions League.
Ironically, United allowed another of Juve's fine centre-midfielders to join the Old Lady on a free transfer last summer. Paul Pogba, at just 20 years old, has forced his way into the Juventus midfield, which is no mean feat considering the talent he is competing with.
However, with Pogba, already capable of starting for Antonio Conte's side, Arturo Vidal, perhaps the most complete midfielder playing in Europe right now and the veteran maestro, Andre Pirlo, Juve have a wealth of options.
Acquiring a centre-forward is their priority this summer, which will mean that they are only able to field three centre-midfielders, posing a real dilemma for Conte.
By cashing in on Il Principe, Juve could self-fund their front line and bank on Pogba's progression to compensate for the loss of one of Europe's finest midfielders.
a very young Claudio Marchisio. twitter.com/ADP1113/status…— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) April 26, 2013
Ironically, the emergence of Pogba has showcased the diverse skill set of Marchisio. With Conte switching to a 3-5-1-1, the 27-year-old has been pushed further forward to become the side's trequartista.
After a couple of matches to adjust to his new role, Marchisio has provided a great foil for Mirko Vucinic and crucially brought Juve's wide players—Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner—into the game significantly more.
Marchisio not only possesses an impressive range of passing, but his decision making is impeccable and has been one of the main reasons that Juve have seamlessly controlled games consistently in Serie A.
Andrea Pirlo will start most moves by picking up possession from Leonardo Bonucci at the back, but it is Marchisio's clever movement between the lines that allow Juve to trigger such effective attacks in transition.
Without Marchisio's ability to weave his way through the opposition's midfield, Vidal might not be able to have so much joy arriving late into the box, as Juve's play would break down significantly more and this has become apparent at times when he has been absent.
Marchisio missed the 1-0 defeat away to Roma, where the Bianconeri were unable to plot their way through the Giallorossi, who dropped deep without possession with wing backs Vasilis Torosidis and Marquinho forming a back five.
Marchisio is a pace setter who would compliment Michael Carrick in United's midfield perfectly, as both have the patience to wait for the apt moment to attempt a riskier pass capable of dissecting the opposition's defence.
United often face the same dilemma as Juve did that night in Rome, and while Juve maintained possession well enough in the deeper areas that night, Marchisio can appear between the lines and operate in tight pockets of space in order to break down stubborn defences.
Whether it is a short dribble utilising his quick feet that forces a opponent to close the space and leave a gap to expose or a defence splitting pass made possible by his speed of thought and vision to see the runner off the ball, Marchisio's versatility would suit United well as they alter their tactics between domestic and European challenges.
Currently entering his prime, Marchisio would also be able to comfortably adapt to the fast-paced nature of the English game on the evidence of his form with the Italian national team.
Claudio Marchisio scores a supergoal vs Inter when 12yo. Assist (kinda) by De Ceglie! youtube.com/watch?v=NAvYzK…— Cesare Polenghi (@CesarePolenghi) April 2, 2013
Cesare Prandelli utilises Marchisio in a slightly different way, focusing on his qualities off the ball, rather than the qualities he provides on the ball with the Bianconeri.
A willingness to press the ball hard and regularly reclaim possession with well-timed tackles and interceptions, Marchisio would become appreciated immediately, while his understated passing and movement off the ball would eventually become apparent over time.
At £25 million, United would be getting something of a bargain when you consider other options in the market and the player plethora of qualities that could be utilised in various formations by Sir Alex.
By addressing a point of weakness, the signing of Marchisio would put United in a great position to achieve back-to-back titles and make further progress in the Champions League.
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