How Juventus Starting XI Will Change for the European Comeback
Roma’s heavy defeat against Catania last Sunday has given FC Juventus their 30th Serie A title and the 3rd straight under manager Antonio Conte.
While the Serie A path has always been pretty easy for the Bianconeri in the last few years, next season’s challenge will be becoming competitive in the Champions League. This year’s campaign ended up prematurely as Juve finished 3rd in their Champions League group, behind Real Madrid and Galatasaray.
Following the Champions League fail, the dream of playing and winning the Europe League at the Juventus Stadium has fallen down too, after the elimination by Portuguese champions Benfica, in the semi-finals.
Provided that Antonio Conte will still be the manager for next season, the board at Juventus Stadium is aiming to straighten the club’s position among Europe’s elite. If not winning, Juve need to be at least competitive in next season’s Champions’ League.
To do so, it is believed that Antonio Conte will swap the system, from the winning 3-5-2 to a new 4-3-3, which was tried this season during some matches.
Most of the main clubs in Europe are playing with four defenders, usually a 4-3-3, like Real Madrid, or 4-3-2-1, like Bayern Munchen.
So, who’s going to move position in the pitch and which types of players will Juve need for next season?
With four defenders in front of Gianluigi Buffon, the solid Giorgio Chiellini should move left from central defense, becoming the team’s left back. Chiellini’s performances in the middle of a 4-man defense are not as good, and that’s why he should be moved to the left, where he also played at the beginning of his career with Livorno and Fiorentina. On the other edge of the pitch Swiss midfielder Stephan Lichtsteiner would step back in the defense, playing the same role he had at Lazio. Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci are likely to keep their positions as central defenders.
The midfield might not change too much, compared to this season. It’s almost certain that Andre Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio won’t move from Juventus Stadium next season. There are some rumors that suggest Paul Pogba or Arturo Vidal may leave the club, bringing in fresh talent.
Pogba has been associated with many top clubs in Europe, especially Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munchen. Juve is asking at least €70m to let the Frenchman go, even if Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta has denied that the 21 year old star will leave Juventus next year.
Fit attacking wingers are vital when playing with 4-3-3. The only one available at the moment is Simone Pepe, who’s not healthy, being out since nearly two seasons, due to an injury. There are currently three wingers on the Bianconeri target at the moment.
The first one is the Portuguese star Nani. According both to Italian and English media, he is the first purchase of Juventus for next season. The 27 year old has just played 16 matches this season at Manchester United, scoring one goal. The deal between the Red Devils and Bianconeri should bring Old Trafford €5m and €4m per year for the Portuguese player, who has won four Barclays Premier League titles, two League Cups, a FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League his in seven years at Old Trafford.
PSG Jeremy Menez is also under scrutiny. The Frenchman would join Juventus as a free agent next June, when his spell at PSG will end. The 26-year old already knows the Serie A championship as he has played for three season at AS Roma.
Alessio Cerci is another player who is under strict control by Juventus’ board. Thanks to his brilliant season at Torino, with 13 goals and 11 assists in 35 matches, the former Fiorentina and Roma will also join the Italian selection in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup, but Torino’s city rivalry with Juventus won’t make it an easy transfer to make. No surprise that Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente will be confirmed in the attack. This season they scored together 34 goals in Serie A.