Juventus Focus: Ranking the 5 Wingers Available to the Bianconeri
With Italy’s participation in the World Cup over, focus on the peninsula has shifted on to the transfer market, and nowhere is the spotlight brighter than with Juventus. The Serie A champions always garner huge attention, but their 2013-14 season has meant that the speculation surrounding them is perhaps greater than ever.
Failing in both the Champions League and the Europa League has increased the pressure on Antonio Conte’s men, and there is a growing sense that this summer could be key to their hopes for the future. Despite winning the last three league titles, their struggles in the elite competition have raised questions over the makeup of the current squad.
The general consensus appears to be that some variety is needed in attack, with a pacey wide player viewed as their most glaring need. Having a player able to run at or behind defences would open up a variety of options for the Bianconeri, allowing them to overcome the resolute opponents who have previously caused problems for the Turin giants.
Links to various players have surfaced, and on the following pages the five most likely names are ranked in terms of suitability and availability, counting down to the most suitable transfer target.
5. Roberto Pereyra (Udinese)
The links between Udinese and Juventus are well established, with a number of players moving in both directions over recent seasons. Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah and Simone Pepe have all enjoyed varying degrees of success since leaving the Stadio Friuli for Turin, and Roberto Pereyra is the next name touted to make the same switch.
Udinese sporting director Cristiano Giaretta told Sky Italia that “Pereyra is a target of Juventus," (h/t Fox Sports), but he appears to be the most unsuitable of the five possibilities. The 23-year-old had a rather average season, recording just two goals and six assists in 36 appearances last term.
4. Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari)
Slightly more appealing than Pereyra are links to Victor Ibarbo, a member of the Colombia squad who have hugely impressed at the World Cup. According to Sardinian newspaper La Nuova Sardegna (via Forza Italian Football), Juventus will meet with Cagliari to discuss a possible transfer this week.
The 24-year-old caught the eye against Juve last season with the stunning goal shown above, and he eventually notched four goals and two assists in 30 matches with the Isolani. He would be a relatively cheap option, but not one to ignite the Bianconeri supporters.
3. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)
Already co-owned by Juventus, exciting youngster Domenico Berardi is a player most would love to see in Turin next term, so incredible is the potential of the 19-year-old. Only six players topped his tally of 16 goals in 2013-14, with the forward adding six assists by the end of the season.
His suitability to Conte’s style of play was discussed at length here, and it would be relatively simple for the club to buy out the remainder of his contract with immediate effect.
2. Juan Iturbe (Hellas Verona)
Despite strong links to other clubs, Juventus have emerged as contenders for the signature of Hellas Verona’s talented forward Juan Iturbe. This week, La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) insisted the Bianconeri have stolen a march on Liverpool and Roma, agreeing terms with the player before opening negotiations with his current club.
The Argentinean star enjoyed a remarkable debut Serie A campaign, recording eight goals and four assists, helping Luca Toni to his own excellent tally of 20 league strikes. The 21-year-old is potentially a genuine star, and Juventus could make an excellent addition should he become their newest signing.
1. Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona)
While the rest of the available names appears to be a list of compromises, the links to Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez puts the Bianconeri in line for a truly gifted footballer at his peak. The Chile star would be the most expensive, but he could arguably have the greatest and most immediate impact upon their fortunes.
Yahoo Sports reported that, despite 19 goals and 10 assists last term, the Catalan side have listened to a proposal from Juventus and are willing to part with the player for the right fee.
Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio has—via his own website—confirmed how close such a move could be, noting Juve had reached an agreement with the player.
A lengthy explanation of why Sanchez is the ideal man for Juventus can be found here, and the 25-year-old remains the perfect winger for Antonio Conte’s side.