Waiting for the Man: Top 5 Targets for Juventus at the Striker Position
Earlier this week ESPN Soccernet reported that Brazilian wunderkind Neymar was reportedly interested in a transfer to Juventus. I can not tell whether or not this report had any merit, but I figure ESPN is a pretty reliable source, so hopefully there's some truth to this rumor.
But aside from getting me very excited about Neymar in a Bianconeri uniform, the report also got me thinking about who else Juventus might purchase to fill the role of a "prima punta."
The rumor mills have been churning out names and names, so I figure I should put my two cents in.
(Please note, this isn't done in any particular order, think of it more as a list than a ranking)
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The man who inspired this slideshow, Neymar. The Brazilian has been on the tip of many tongues lately, with many ready to knight him as the Ronaldo of the 2010s, minus the fitness problems.
The youngster has been simply brilliant for his club, Santos. He has scored 23 goals in 62 appearances, and that is only in league play. He has also scored 11 goals in this season's rendition of the Copa do Brazil.
He's also impressed on the international level, scoring in his debut against the United States. Before that, he played exceptionally at the U-17 World Cup in 2009, leading to calls on then Brazilian National Team coach Dunga to pick him for the 2010 World Cup. Unfortunately for Neymar, Dunga decided that he had not been tested enough on the international level to merit entry into the squad.
This past summer Neymar was rumored to be on the verge of signing with Chelsea, who reportedly offered 30 million euros. Santos quickly denied these rumors and signed Neymar to a huge contract that expires in December 2014.
But don't let the contract fool you, I'm sure that Juventus (and Neymar's other potential suitors, which may or may not include teams like Manchester City, Real Madrid and Inter) could afford to sign the Brazilian.
2. Edin Dzeko
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Edin Dzeko is a name that might not be familiar to many casual soccer fans, which is a shame. The Bosnian striker has been sensational for current club Wolfsburg, who might I add are quite used to doing business with Juventus having purchased Diego this past summer. Dzeko was the player's player of the year in the Bundesliga for the 2008-2009 season. He also was the top scorer last season, with 22 goals.
Over the summer Dzeko was consistently rumored as a target for the Juventus front office and Beppe Marotta, but no deal was made. The rumors have persisted since then, with some saying he will be signed in January. Others, more reasonably believe that he will be signed next summer.
Dzeko himself has stated that he would like to play for Juventus, which conjures up images of a powerful Juventus attack spearheaded by Dzeko and Krasic, surely enough to scare even the ablest Italian defender.
3. Karim Benzema
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Many unsubstantiated rumors involving Juventus and the French star have surfaced, leading to Benzema catapulting up the Bianconeri fans "want" list.
While there is no denying the Frenchman's talent, he has struggled at Real Madrid. His performances last year were disappointing, ultimately leading former French National Team coach Raymond Domenech to leave him out of the French squad for the 2010 World Cup.
This season he has continued to struggle, scoring only once in ten league appearances. Perhaps Jose Mourinho will decide that he could spend Benzema's salary elsewhere, in which case Juventus may offer a new start for the striker, who would certainly add to Delneri's squad.
4. Giampaolo Pazzini
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Why import a new striker into Italy when there are some perfectly good ones in Serie A?
Pazzini has already had success in Serie A, playing for Fiorentina in the past and currently for Sampdoria. He has proven a spark plug for Samp, scoring 19 times last season in 37 appearances. And, Juve coach Luigi Delneri probably would welcome a former player of his into Turin.
Pazzini, who was brought up through Atalanta's youth system, was the Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2005, and he is still young, only 26, so he has several good years left in him.
5. Fabio Quagliarella
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The fifth, and final player I picked may be a surprise. Why? Because he already plays for Juventus.
Adam Digby, fellow Juventus Featured Columnist here at B/R and also writer of the excellent blog Il Tifosi (http://iltifosi.tumblr.com/) recently wrote about how Quagliarella may be the man to fix Juve's problem up top.
Certainly, Fabio has played very well for Juventus this season, scoring five goals, but some have questioned his consistency.
Not only has Fabio played well this summer, but Juventus have an option to purchase him outright at the end of the season (he is on loan from Napoli) for 10 million euros. It seems that Quagliarella will most likely be staying in Turin, but most likely as a replacement for the oft-injured Amauri (whom might I add was recently re-injured) and not as the first choice "total striker" who will be relied on to constantly create magic for Juventus.