Juventus Youngsters Who Would Benefit from Andrea Pirlo's Departure
Juventus appear to be no closer to an extension to Andrea Pirlo's expiring contract, despite the maestro's continuing excellent form.
Pirlo will be 35 years old by the time he would begin a new contract at the Juventus Stadium, off the back of a World Cup in which Italy will surely harbour hopes of reaching the final stages.
Pirlo might be somewhat fatigued entering next season, and by the time the season after that comes around, we may have seen the best of the Azzurri legend.
Juve should not be pressured into offering Pirlo a new contract simply due to the popular opinion from outsiders that he merits one, as there are plenty of other options out there.
Here are some of the younger players in the Bianconeri squad who would benefit from Pirlo's departure.
While Paul Pogba does not require Pirlo's departure to enhance his own career, the Frenchman would surely benefit as a result.
Pirlo is the focal point of the side currently and without him, Pogba could assume this role and begin to lead this team himself.
With such a well-rounded game, Pogba would have more license to drop deeper where Pirlo tends to operate currently and link with the back three, before striding into the opponent's half and utilising his incredible athletic prowess.
As Pogba continues to fulfill his potential, opponents will gradually start to make specific plans to deal with the 20-year-old's game, which could be much easier if Pogba is positioned further forward, knowing that one third of Juve's central midfield tends to always occupy that space in front of the back three.
If Pogba were to assume that role of Pirlo's, he would bring a much more dynamic style to the position and would certainly be able to introduce a more fluid pattern to Juve's game with the option of carrying the ball forward with the ball at his feet.
Not only is Pogba an exceptional athlete, but he also possesses a fine range of passing, which is not fully utilised whilst Pirlo is anchoring the midfield, as Pogba is not required to distribute quite so frequently.
With Pirlo gone, Pogba's influence would grow and his development would be accelerated.
Luca Marrone has been forced to seek first-team football away from Turin with a move to Sassuolo, who struck a co-ownership deal for the 23-year-old.
Without Pirlo to orchestrate the midfield at Juventus, Antonio Conte could look to more common characteristics in his midfield.
Juve do not currently possess a centre-midfielder who is prepared to be disciplined enough to hold his position in front of the back line and provide a platform for the more attacking players to shine.
Marrone would certainly not be brought back to start the bulk of the games for the Bianconeri, but he could have an enhanced role to play, especially if Conte decides to move away from the 3-5-2 formation.
With the current system showing signs that it will not translate to European football, a move towards a 4-3-3 system could mean the necessity of a more defensively-minded player, both in terms of their capacity to press and tackle, as well as their spacial awareness.
Marrone is showing signs that he can offer this while at the Neroverdi, where he is able to distribute simply, drop into areas to allow others to reposition themselves and perform well-timed tackles to break up play neatly.
While not so young, Marrone is certainly yet to fulfill a lot of his potential and Juve have not given up hope in him just yet.
Obviously Domenico Berardi is not the same type of player as Pirlo, but Conte's side would probably look to move in a different direction in the wake of his departure, which could place a greater emphasis on movement and speed.
Pirlo evidently prefers to move the ball by passing it, rather than dribbling it. But without the maestro's expertise in the regista role, Conte could be pushed towards a more dynamic midfield, emphasising acceleration and drive from players such as Pogba and Arturo Vidal.
With Juve becoming a greater threat in transition, it would make sense to stretch the field with wide options in more advanced positions than is currently the case.
With a dearth of speedy wingers at the club right now, Conte would clearly need to bring some fresh faces in to facilitate this tactical change.
Berardi is a particularly interesting option, due to his versatility in playing all across the front line. And with close control and the ability to beat a man on the inside and outside, the 19-year-old would be a perfect fit for a 4-3-3 system.
Eusebio Di Francesco has chopped and changed the system this season, utilising a 3-5-2 in a similar vein to the current Juve side, as well as a 4-3-3 and 3-4-3, with Berardi at the heart of everything good coming out of the Emilian side.
With six goals in eight Serie A appearances, it is probable that the Old Lady will be keen to bring Berardi back from his loan spell at Sassuolo, and should Pirlo's departure trigger a move towards a 4-3-3, there is no reason as to why this form cannot be replicated with the champions.