How Senad Lulic Could Fit In at Juventus

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIApril 18, 2014

Bosnia's Senad Lulic celebrates his goal against Liechtenstein , during the World Cup 2014 Group G qualifying soccer match, at Stadium Bilino Polje  in Zenica, Bosnia, on  Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
Amel Emric

Senad Lulic has been persistently linked with a move to Juventus, and this week it has been reported by respected Bosnian sports website BHDragons that the Bianconeri have offered the Lazio player a five-year contract, worth €2.5 million per season.

Lulic has been sensational for Lazio this season, displaying great versatility while maintaining a great impact on everything good about the Aquile.

The 28-year-old has been most impressive, though, on the left side of midfield, although he has played at left-back, and even through the middle on the left side of a midfield trident, most commonly known in Italy as a "mezz'ala."

There is no doubting what a fine player the Bosnia-Herzegovina international is, with manager Safet Susic utilizing the player at left-back most often, usually in a back four.

This provides an interesting scenario for Antonio Conte at Juventus, should the club be able to acquire the player. Juve have toyed with the idea of switching from the customary 3-5-2 system to a 4-3-3 formation, which should translate to the Champions League better.

While Lulic is a fine player and could operate in several systems, Juve would just be purchasing a player who matches up very similarly to Kwadwo Asamoah.

Now Asamoah is a superior athlete to Lulic, with blistering acceleration and great stamina, as proved by the Ghanaian being able to make his 20- to 30-yard dashes late into the second half. 

Asamoah has also progressed significantly in a technical capacity, though, improving his delivery, the success rate of his dribbles and, most notably, his decision making.

Senad Lulic has a tremendous season so far in #Lazio. Take a look on these stats #Lulic #Bosnia #Juventus

— BiHFootball (@BiHFootball) April 17, 2014

When building Juve's possession from the back, Leonardo Bonucci or Andrea Pirlo will quite often float the ball out to the left flank, trusting Asamoah with the ball at his feet, as opposed to the early stages of his Juve career, where he was used more to occupy the opposition with his regular runs up and down the left side.

Asamoah brings something that Lulic does not, though, which is the ability to beat an opponent with the ball at his feet or be found in behind by one of Juve's fine ball-playing central midfielders should the opposition dare to defend high up the pitch.

So it really comes down to whether Lulic is being brought in as a squad player or as a starter.

Federico Peluso is clearly inadequate and surplus to requirements at the club now, so Juve will likely move the former Atalanta player on in the summer.

Lulic is probably too good, or too far down the path of his career to sit behind Asamoah, though, who absolutely deserves to retain his place in the side as one of Juve's players of the season.

Lulic has often flourished through the middle for Lazio, but it seems quite unlikely he would be afforded such an opportunity in black and white, especially as Asamoah has rarely featured in this position, which is arguably his best one.

With Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba all competing for three places, Lulic would not fit in there either.

So it is a rather peculiar move, when broken down like this, but it may hint at a new strategy for Conte moving forward, that is, rotation on a more regular basis.

Lazio is reportedly asking for 15-18 million Euros for Senad LULIC. Juventus & Inter Milan currently most heated for his transfer.

— BHDragons (@BH_Dragons) April 2, 2014

There is precedent on the opposite flank, where Mauricio Isla has finally fought off his injury problems and has been used quite regularly, with Stephan Lichtsteiner rotated out in the last seven cup matches.

In all, Lichtsteiner has started nine times over the last 15 games. Isla, with seven starts of his own, has played once on the left, with Conte accommodating both Isla and Lichtsteiner in the same line-up.

Conte could use a similar strategy if he had both Asamoah and Lulic at his disposal, keeping his wide players fresh and able to maintain a great intensity across league and Europe.

Whether Lulic's move to Juve happens or not, the reported interest in the player poses an interesting question, with Conte looking to bolster his squad options the most probable answer.

Whether the player would be willing to accept a more limited role than the one he has become accustomed to at Lazio is a whole different matter.