Roberto Pereyra: Good but Perhaps Not Good Enough for Juventus?

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2014

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 01:  Roberto Pereyra (L) of Udinese Calcio is challenged by Paul Pogba of Juventus during the Serie A match between Juventus and Udinese Calcio at Juventus Arena on December 1, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The search for a winger capable of helping Juventus compete has been a long and arduous journey, one that stretches back to the summer of 2010.

That was when club president Andrea Agnelli and director general Beppe Marotta first arrived at the club, intent on restoring the grand Old Lady to the summit of Italian football.

Their first missteps came as former manager Gigi Delneri struggled to lift an ailing side, his chances made even more difficult by the slump in form suffered by Milos Krasic.

The Serbian thrived in his first few months on the peninsula, his devastating speed and eye for goal giving fans of the Bianconeri their first glimmer of hope under the new regime.

That light was quickly extinguished in the second part of the campaign, with Juventus once again finishing seventh as the new coach and his winger were found wanting. Simone Pepe and Emanuele Giaccherini attempted to fill the void, but their workmanlike efforts were never going to be quite enough.

Roberto Pereyra 2013-14
Roberto Pereyra 2013-14Squawka.com

Eljero Elia made just four appearances in 2011-12, a mistake almost as costly as the one which saw Jorge Martinez also fail to make the grade. The desire to add a pacey wide player continued, and just this summer they have lost out on both Alexis Sanchez and Juan Manuel Iturbe, both seemingly an ideal fit for La Madama's needs.

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Now she has turned to Roberto Pereyra of Udinese, securing the player on loan with the right to buy him outright next summer for €14 million. That fee would be spread over three years, according to the official Juventus website.

The 23-year-old is some way below the standards of those Marotta was beaten to by Arsenal and Roma, but the resignation of Antonio Conte affected the deal for Iturbe.

Writing on his own website, journalist Gianluca Di Marzio noted the Giallorossi "moved at the right moment" for the Hellas Verona youngster.

There is no way of knowing if the Bianconeri have concluded their hunt for an attacking wide player, with Xherdan Shaqiri the latest to be linked with a move to Turin. The Swiss international told Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) that "Juventus are a great club," adding that a move "would not be a step backwards" from Bayern Munich.

Where that leaves Pereyra is unclear, but it is worth analysing just what the Argentinean could bring to Juve, regardless of who else may arrive.

A youth product of River Plate, he has made 74 league appearances in his three seasons since arriving in Serie A, netting eight goals along the way.

UDINE, ITALY - APRIL 19:  Roberto Pereyra of Udinese Calcio looks on during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and SSC Napoli at Stadio Friuli on April 19, 2014 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Dino Panato/Getty Images

Playing in a variety of positions—including both wings, central midfield and left-back—Pereyra has proved to be a useful utility player, much like Giaccherini and Pepe have been for Juventus. He registered six assists last term according to stats site WhoScored.com, who also highlight his pass completion rate of 87.5 percent.

His crossing and long-range passing are similarly excellent, completing 12-of-45 and 59-of-70, respectively, according to the same source. Despite those positives, there are a number of flaws to his game, ones which could find him suffering at the highest level.

Roberto Pereyra 2013-14
Roberto Pereyra 2013-14WhoScored.com

Pereyra took just 18 shots last term, and watching him closely, his movement appears to hinder him somewhat, the player finding it difficult to take up positions from which to best help his side.

WhoScored.com also shows that he averaged just 0.9 tackles per game, while also recording an identical return for interceptions.

His defensive effort will need to be dramatically increased, the work rate he displayed at Udinese simply not high enough for a side as combative as the Bianconeri.

Pereyra will add to a growing list of young talent in Turin, with the club seemingly building for the future while continuing to win in the here-and-now.

While he joins exciting names such as Alvaro Morata, Domenico Berardi and Stefano Sturaro, it is difficult to see the 23-year-old having a similarly high ceiling.

He is certainly not the solution to that still ongoing search for a winger, and Roberto Pereyra will have to improve quickly if he is to make any impact at Juventus.

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