How Tevez and Llorente Will Make Juventus a Champions League Contender
The Old Lady's new signings each bring different skill sets and playing styles to the table, but coach Antonio Conte will be hoping the amalgamation of their talents will help the club achieve European success for the first time since 1996.
Ex-Athletic Bilbao man and Spanish international Llorente is a tall (1.95 m, 6'5"), elegant target man, who is capable of both deftness and brute force.
His physical attributes make him a classic No. 9, but nimble skills on the ball mean he is far more dangerous than your average, plodding centre-forward.
Tevez, meanwhile, is a diminutive (1.75 m, 5'9"), blustering ball of energy who happens to also be an immensely skillful footballer.
Though capable of leading the line or playing as a "trequartista" in the hole between midfield and attack, Tevez is highly effective as a second striker playing just behind a No. 9.
At first glance, a Llorente leading the line with Tevez roving just behind him would seem an obvious—and highly promising—tactical setup for Conte, though neither player is yet sure of what his role will be at the club.
As reported by Angus Paterson in the Daily Mail, Tevez does not know how Conte will configure Juve's front line, but he told juventus.com that ultimately it would be up to the players to ensure that they jell:
Whether I work well with Llorente on the pitch or not is up to Conte to decide.
I've not talked to the coach yet so I will have to discuss my position and how I will be used on the pitch with him.
The two things that I can bring to the club are experience and the quality of my play. These are certainly the most important things.
LLorente had earlier made similar proclamations in the same publication, saying it would be up to Conte to decide how the pieces would fit, but that he was looking forward to seeking success for the organization and working his way back into the Spanish national team.
What both players promise to bring to the club is plenty of goals, something that has been the missing element at Juventus, despite their recent domestic success.
Neither man was at their best in the season just gone, with Tevez notching 17 goals for Manchester City in all competitions and Llorente managing just five for Bilbao, but both are capable of scoring well over 20 in a single season if given the conditions to thrive.
Ben Gladwell, in a piece for ESPN FC , highlights the growing optimism around the Turin club that the dual signings have brought with them, with Leonardo Bonucci's quotes hinting at their European ambitions.
Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri and Sebastian Giovinco all came in for criticism last season as Juve’s spluttering attack left Antonio Conte’s side increasingly reliant on goals from midfield.
With Llorente and Tevez, the belief is that Juve now have their strongest attack since David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero fired them to their last Champions League final in 2003.
“Tevez and Llorente are two really nice presents from (president Andrea) Agnelli,” defender Leonardo Bonucci told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Juve’s aim is not only going to be confirming ourselves for the third year in a row in Italy, but achieving something big in Europe too.”
Juventus showed in last season's Champions League that they are not far off being an elite team, topping a tough group that included Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk before thumping Celtic in the first knockout phase.
Their 4-0 aggregate loss to eventual champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals demonstrated there was still some way to go for the Italians, however, who lacked the bite up front to trouble the impressive Bavarians.
With a high-grade midfield orchestrated by Andrea Pirlo and a tight defense that has been further strengthened with the edition of Angelo Ogbonna, Juventus would have already been an imposing outfit, but the new odd couple up front has the potential to turn the team into world-beaters.
The strapping, fine-featured Llorente and squat, craggy Tevez are going to look somewhat comical standing next to each other in their new striped kit, but on the pitch, the pair has the potential to become a very serious strike force.
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