4 Reasons Why Juventus Should Go All out to Sign PSG's Jeremy Menez
Jeremy Menez has played in Italy before—before Roma made it big, before Paris Saint-Germain came calling and lured the Frenchman to the capital and before undergoing back surgery, spending most of the season on the bench.
This season, Menez has made just six starts in Ligue 1, and his contract expires by the end. No doubt he will leave. He likes Juventus very much.
“They are one of the strongest in Europe, destined to play a leading role in the Champions League," he told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Joe Wright of Goal.com). "The squad is full of quality, full of champions, even in my position.”
He also told the newspaper that the years he spent with Roma were "important." He speaks the language, he understands Serie A, and he still watches some of the games.
Journalist Gianluca Di Marzio squashed rumours suggesting that Juventus and Menez had reached an agreement. He says they aren’t negotiating with him. Not yet, anyway.
Juventus almost signed the player in the winter, per L'Equipe (h/t Football Italia), but now, they have a real chance to get the 26-year-old player in the summer—for free. Here are the reasons why Juve should not hesitate to sign the Frenchman.
Menez Is a Winger with Pace
In a team that thrives with wingers, Menez would fit right in. He can play on both flanks, and he has the feet and the explosiveness to take on defenders and beat them. Sometimes, he even looks like a striker, charging at the goal, stepping over the ball and shooting hard.
This is a hybrid of a player that could do real damage for Juventus. Carlos Tevez is the main goal-getter, and Fernando Llorente is a good partner, but what they need is the supplementary goalscoring.
Menez can offer that.
Menez Comes at No Cost
Over the past few years, sporting director Giuseppe Marotta has made protagonists out of bit players and paid little, if anything, for them. Andrea Pirlo came to the team on a free transfer as did Llorente. Carlos Tevez, who is the leading scorer in Italy with 18 goals, has not scored in Europe since 2009 but cost just €9 million, per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian.
Here is another opportunity to snag a want-away player for nothing. Marotta and Juventus could go for players with similar attributes.
Roberto Pereyra, just 23, has had a strong season with Udinese, a team Juventus have raided in recent years. He isn't a first choice for Juventus, reports Di Marzio, but Pereyra is a strong runner on the wing, and he is a quick passer. He has played as an attacking midfielder, a defensive midfielder and a winger this season with the Zebras.
Antonio Candreva is another option, a former Juventus player who will mostly suit up for Italy at the World Cup. He is also co-owned by—you guessed it—Udinese.
But Menez is just as good, and there isn’t much of a risk buying him.
Menez Can Help Carry Weight
Juve also need a little bit more cover on the wings. Antonio Conte uses wide men in his formation almost all the time.
Kwadwo Asamoah is quick and incisive, while Stephan Lichtsteiner has the grit and the ball control, but neither is a goalscoring threat.
Menez can evolve during the game and make the instinctive run or pass. If Juventus want to succeed in Europe, they need a player with that versatility. Maybe Arturo Vidal won't have to score so much.
Menez Still Has a Chance to Show His Best
Menez is not always a team player. After all, he is ready to quit on PSG, and he left Roma after fans attacked him and smashed his car, according to Italian outlet Tuttosport.
His agent called out Vincenzo Montella while they were together at Roma in 2011, via Subhankar Mondal of Goal.com, and Laurent Blanc has kept Menez as an unused substitute.
“The problem w/Jeremy Menez is that he doesn’t really play anymore” The problem with Jeremy Menez is that he’s a bit lazy w/a bad attitude— Sarah Meredith (@OffsideSarah) March 7, 2014
Maybe there is one last chance to redeem himself. Menez participated in World Cup qualifying but may not make the final tournament itself.
Conte has transformed players on the fringes and in trouble with their own clubs. Remember, Tevez went golfing during the season, and Athletic Bilbao froze Llorente out of the squad ahead of the player’s move to Italy.