5 Players Juventus Must Target Should They Switch Formations to 4-3-3
Following a disappointing campaign in the Champions League, where Juventus failed to qualify from the group stages, the general consensus in Italy has been that Antonio Conte is prepared to switch to a more conventional 4-3-3 formation ahead of next season, per Goal.com.
Juve's midfield is one of the best in the world, but the switch will require a number of additions in defence and attack for it to work.
Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado has been a revelation since arriving on loan from Udinese two seasons ago. The deal has since been made permanent, and while he couldn't hold down a starting place in Udine he's become invaluable to Vincenzo Montella in Florence.
Cuadrado has everything needed to be a success at Juventus: He's quick, excellent on the ball and a good passer. He's got nine goals and six assists for the Viola in all competitions this year, having played everywhere from full-back to centre-forward.
The Colombian's best work is done when used as a wide forward on the left—though he can play on the right as well—and he'd be a fine complement to the likes of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente in the new-look Bianconeri front line.
The Italian daily La Repubblica recently reported that Juve's director general Beppe Marotta was in Spain to discuss the future of Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao.
It might be difficult to secure the Argentine's signature, but the Portuguese full-back was reported to be unhappy with his supporting role at the Bernabeu in December by Marca (via Football-Espana) and is looking for a move away that would promise more regular action.
The former Benfica star has started just seven games in the league this term but is talented enough to deserve a starting berth almost anywhere. He would almost certainly be a success in Italy. And at 26, his best years have yet to come.
Alexis Sanchez made a name for himself in Serie A with Udinese, and while his big-money move to Barcelona hasn't been a failure, the Chilean hasn't set Spain alight in the way he was expected to, either.
The Catalans could soon be looking for a new manager and look set to lose a number of first-team personnel. It might be a good time for the 25-year-old forward to look for a fresh challenge elsewhere, and it would be no surprise if he favoured a move back to Italy, where he played his best football.
Speaking recently to TuttoMercatoWeb.com (h/t Goal.com), his former coach Pasquale Marino suggested that Juve would be the perfect destination for the wide forward:
I think Alexis could fit very well into Conte's gameplan. He can cover both the role of second striker or as a winger in a trident.
His versatility makes Alexis a factor that can helps him solve many coaching headaches. You need balance but a trident of Tevez-Llorente-Alexis is feasible as Alexis and Tevez know how to work in the defensive side of things.
This past year Alexis has had several fitness problems but, this season, he has improved a lot despite little continuity. When playing at clubs like Barcelona, it is normal to have problems playing all of the time but his performances have always been positive.
He's a great professional with a great work ethic and this will help him keep growing.
Juve tried to sign Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov last summer according to the Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, and they may return for the 28-year-old Serbian this window, as left-back remains one of the team's biggest weaknesses.
Kolarov recently told CityTV (via Sky Sports) that he's happy in Manchester, having ended his period on the bench and securing regular football under Manuel Pellegrini, but with his contract set to expire in 2015, he could be tempted to move if a suitable deal isn't offered by the Blues soon.
Alessio Cerci's been something of a late bloomer. The former Roma starlet was tipped for big things in the capital but couldn't hold down a place in the Giallorossi team. He eventually had to settle for a move away to Fiorentina after several loans to smaller clubs.
The 26-year-old improved in Florence, but since moving to Torino in 2012 he's become one of the best attacking talents in the league, earning himself a call-up to Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad in the process.
Cerci is a versatile forward and can operate in the centre or out on the right, where he likes to cut inside and take on defenders.