Juve fans were left in shock earlier this month, when six time Italian serie a winner Leonardo Bonucci broke the nearly unbeatable BBC by departing the club for rivals AC Milan.
There was no long, drawn out transfer saga like the one involved in Pogba’s move from Juve to Manchester United last summer either. One day, rumours appeared in the Italian papers, and a few short days after, Bonucci was presented as a new addition to Milan’s roster.
Bonucci was a key part of Juventus’ attack and defence. He is regarded to be one of the best defenders in the game, being resilient in defence and providing incisive passes to kickstart attacks from the back. Juventus have lost a massive talent.
They also only received €40 million, and €12 million of that went back to Milan in exchange for Mattia De Sciglio. The remaining €28 million isn’t much in today’s market. So how will Juve cope?
option 1: medhi benatia and daniele rugani
One possible solution for the club is to make full use of Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani. Last season, both players found themselves spending long spells on the sideline. Bonucci, Chiellini and even Barzagli were above them in the pecking order for the centre back positions.
Now, with Bonucci gone and Barzagli too old to play every game, it’s a chance for these players to step up and fill the void left by Bonucci. Both players have shown to be extremely talented, but is that enough in Allegri’s eyes?
With this option, one issue arises. With Juventus unable to recall Caldara from his loan early, the club are left tight should an injury occur. Currently, 4 centre backs for two positions is managable. However, both Chiellini and especially Benatia have a history of injury problems. Should one of them pick up an injury, it would cause issues and hinder the team’s ability to compete on three fronts.
This option has both advantages and disadvantages. It gives young Rugani an opportunity to develop and reach his potential. It allows Benatia to prove he can still compete at the highest level and hit his earlier heights once more. Most importantly, however, it means money doesn’t have to be spent on an additional top class defender. This allows the Board to divert funds towards the more pressing matter of midfield, where a defensive player is needed.
OPTION 2: new signing – manolas
The second option is signing a fifth defender to fill the hole left by Bonucci. Roma’s Kostas Manolas has been linked recently and reports say the player has agreed a deal with Juventus, leaving Roma the only obstacle in the move. Juventus are allegedly prepared to offer around €30 million for the Greek defender. Should the deal go through, it would provide Juve with a very good defender who would be able to fill the gap left by Bonucci. He also provides cover should Chiellini or Benatia get injured. Manolas had an 87% pass accuracy last season and succeeded in 71% of his tackles. Without a doubt he would be a great signing.
Roma still remain the biggest obstacle. It is unlikely that they would want to sell a strong player to direct title rivals. Juventus are also unlikely to offer much more than the reported €30 million as they are still interested in PSG‘s Blaise Matuidi and Chelsea‘s Nemanja Matic. Spending a great deal on Manolas doesn’t allow the club to reinforce the midfield as much as is needed.
It remains to be seen in the coming days what option Juventus choose. It hinges on whether Roma are willing to sell Manolas to Juventus, who they had agreed to sell to Zenit earlier in the transfer window. If they are unable to sign Manolas, they may rely on their current crop of defenders. They will be hoping that they can get lucky and avoid any injuries to their defence.
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