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Juventus have lost key players this summer but still remain Serie A title favorites

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Winning four straight Serie A titles and being in the Champions League final this year makes Juventus one of the best teams in the world. Unfortunately for the Bianconeri, three of their star players left and it’s going to be difficult to replace them because their role and skill was crucial to the success of the team.

“[Arturo] Vidal has expressed his desire to embark on a different experience, as did [Angelo] Ogbonna, [Carlos] Tevez and [Andrea] Pirlo,” said Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta at a press conference.

Ogbonna felt that it would be impossible for him to crack into the starting lineup with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in front of him so he looked for a move where he could become an important first-team player. West Ham signed the Italian international for a fee of €11 million which will be paid over the next three years.

Tevez decided to go back to his native Argentina and play for his boyhood club Boca Juniors. While many feel like the 31-year-old can still be a top player in Europe, the three-time South American Footballer of the Year wanted to be able to still play at a high level for the Xeneizes and felt the time was right to go home. The transfer fee is reported to be €6.5 million which will be paid by six-time Copa Libertadores winners next year. Also included in the transaction is that the Old Lady will pay Boca €3.5 million for the loan of teenage forward Guido Nahuel Vadala, with the option to make him a permanent Juventus player for an additional fee of €9.4 million to be paid within a two-year window. The two-time European Cup and Champions League winners also have the option on three other young Boca midfielders in Rodrigo Bentancur Colman, Franco Sebastian Cristaldo and Adrian Andres Cubas for €1 million each which would have to be paid before 2016.

Pirlo looked for a new challenge after an illustrious career in Italy where he’s won almost everything for his clubs and country. The 36-year-old passing genius signed to MLS side New York City FC on a free transfer and explained to newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport why he made the decision.

“I’m certain I would still have played regularly, but the idea of not being sure that I was the absolute protagonist of the side did start to burden me. Maybe I would no longer have felt good about myself. I preferred to make my own mind up before somebody else could have sent me away.”

Vidal is on the verge of being moved to Bayern Munich for €28 million with the potential for it to rise €40 million with add-ons. The price may be considered too much for a 28-year-old but the member of Chile’s Copa America title-winning team is worth the fee if he can stay healthy. The 2012-13 Juventus Player of the Year is one of the most well-rounded footballers in the world. No midfielder has scored more goals than his 28 in the past three Serie A seasons and he led the Champions League in tackles last year with 45. He’s the definition of a box-to-box midfielder and is also skilled enough to play multiple positions on the pitch. Pep Guardiola will have a lot of fun with Vidal’s versatility combined with the Spaniard’s love of formations.

When three of your top five players leave then many would expect a drop-off the following season but Juventus has signed players who they feel will keep them among the elite in Europe. Tevez’s replacement is fellow Argentine Paulo Dybala. The 21-year-old costed €32 million, with an extra €8 million in add-ons, was previously playing for Palermo for three years. He had his breakout campaign last season 13 goals and 10 assists in 34 league games. That display proved that Paulo was one of the most creative players playing in Italy and that he could blossom into a potential superstar down the line. The 2013-14 Serie B winner spoke of the gratitude has to be playing for a top club like Juventus.

“Playing for a great club like Juventus represents an important step for me. The first-team competition here means you can never ease off, which is a motivation and keeps you on your toes. It’s the perfect club to start winning things in my career. I’ve been here a couple of days and it’s a big change for me. I hope I’m able to develop into a top player here.”

The club also signed two more forwards as Mario Mandzukic came from Atletico Madrid for €19 million and Simone Zaza signed from Sassuolo for €18 million. Fernando Llorente is rumored to be on the way out soon so it makes sense to have a replacement already. Mandzukic is a target man who can also contribute in link-up play and Zaza is a overall talent who is versatile and possesses a strong left-foot. Mandzukic is playing for his third team in as many years and he hopes to be at Juventus longer than his previous stints.

“Before coming here, I spoke with [Gianluigi] Buffon and I told him that he was my idol since I was a kid. But Juventus are the best team in Serie A. They are used to winning and lifting trophies. I hope I am able to do my bit to help maintain this tradition. My reason for joining Juve was simple: they’re a great team and it was an easy decision to make.”

Sami Khedira arrives from Real Madrid on a free transfer and the German international hopes to recapture his form of a couple years ago. The 28-year-old lost his place in the starting lineup with the arrival of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos pushed him further down the side’s roster. He’s not on Vidal’s level but he’ll be a solid replacement.

Juventus must be happy Paul Pogba hasn’t left this transfer window also but Pirlo, Tevez and Vidal are massive departures. Manager Massimiliano Allegri is rebuilding the team in his image and it’ll be difficult to replace those men but expectations remain high for the Bianconeri and anything less than another Scudetto will be unacceptable.

 

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