Why Juventus Must Go All-In to Re-Sign Andrea Pirlo to One More Deal
Andrea Pirlo has been here before, entering the final months of his deal without knowing for sure whether he will re-sign with his club.
Three years ago, the 34-year-old ended up disappointed when Milan failed to come to terms with him on an extension to his contract at the time, ending a spell of more than 10 years with the Rossoneri.
Juventus stepped in to snap up the "regista" on a free transfer, offering the Azzurri international a three-year deal, which has proven to be a stunning piece of business.
Performances have gradually decreased in quality this season, though, and the team has become less dependent on his qualities as the Antonio Conte era has developed.
Arturo Vidal has emerged as a world-class midfielder, and Paul Pogba has begun to fulfill his rare talent quicker than expected, posing the question as to whether the Bianconeri should re-sign Pirlo or not.
If Gianluca Vialli is to be believed, Spurs will be in for the player next summer, with the former Bianconeri forward revealing to Sky Sport Italia (via the Express) that Andre Villas-Boas would be willing to take the Italian to the Premier League.
As recent as last week, it has emerged that Pirlo might have the option to remain in Italy with former club Inter readying an offer, according to Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia).
The interest is growing, which suggests that Pirlo still has something to offer, and I believe that the Old Lady should reward Pirlo for his largely excellent spell with the club with an extension.
As Pirlo's career winds down, Juve will obviously need to adjust their style somewhat, but Conte would still crave a maestro to pull the strings from the base of the midfield. If a successor can be identified, why not help that player learn next to Pirlo?
A clean break would ramp up the pressure on a successor to Pirlo and make a transition much more difficult.
Pirlo's style is unique, and while Vidal, Pogba and Claudio Marchisio offer real quality, none of these are able to offer such accuracy in their range of passing over long distances.
Pirlo will naturally want a starring role, but he will surely be realistic to know that the number of starts will diminish as his fitness dwindles and the consistency in his performances lessens.
Ancelotti—"Andrea Pirlo is always a guarantee & will continue to be for a long time. I wanted him with me at Chelsea but it wasn't possible"— CarloFan (@CarloFan) October 17, 2013
Conte enters his third year in charge at the Juventus Stadium, and there have been signs that a formation with four centre-midfielders is something that might become effective in the tight encounters, especially in the Champions League, further emphasizing the need to keep Pirlo.
There are also non-playing reasons to re-sign Pirlo as soon as possible, with the growing interest in one of the best young players in the world in Pogba.
If Pirlo is already confirmed to continue with the Old Lady for the next season or two, it will provide Juve with greater negotiating power should interest in Polpo Paul firm up in January or next summer.
Most importantly though, Pirlo's wealth of experience and quick thinking, which allows him to develop a picture of how the play will unfold, give him the ability to control proceedings when at the peak of his form, something that Juve might struggle to replicate.
Gattuso "Andrea [Pirlo] was always cold as ice before big games, that's how he is, he just doesn't feel any type of fear before huge games."— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) October 17, 2013
The array of class operators in the midfield can actually help to sustain Pirlo's tendency to help Juve boss matches, as well as to sustain Pirlo's aptness to make others around him better.
Per BBC, Pirlo has already declared his desire to retire from international football after next summer's World Cup, which would further benefit the player's chances of continuing his legendary career.
Juve know what it feels like to benefit from a club's foolishness to trust a player to prolong a career, and this should help sway their decision towards coming to an agreement on a new deal with Pirlo to remain in black and white.
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