Juventus are quite familiar with taking a promising young midfielder from a club based in the North-West of England, however, if Bianconeri fans are expecting Emre Can to have a similar impact in Turin to Paul Pogba, they could be somewhat disappointed.
Securing a full German international with, hopefully, his best years still in front of him for nothing – ignoring the bumper salary the reigning champions are handing out – is still a major coup, but few Liverpool fans will have sleepless nights over his departure.
When Pogba arrived in Serie A in 2012, he was still a teenager and displayed all the attributes to become one of the best players in world football. A then-world record fee received sent him back to Manchester United, an added bonus after four wonderful seasons in Turin.
During a similar period on Merseyside, the 24-year-old has flattered to deceive at times and has rarely hit the heights expected when he joined from Bayer Leverkusen, but a general midfield quality has increased the myth that Can will walk into the Juventus engine room.
Advocates of the German’s potential point towards an improved goalscoring output – one short of his best ever tally of five – yet they have come in high-scoring routs of newly promoted Brighton, a below-par Hoffenheim and European minnows Maribor; hardly match-winning strikes.
In an article – ironically titled Our Man Can – appearing in the matchday programme versus Everton on January 5, the admission that he “knows there are a lot of areas where I can improve” is something of an understatement.
Despite netting with his head this past campaign, the midfielder seems to lose an astonishing number of aerial duels, while his work with the ball can often appear sluggish or poorly thought through. Bianconeri fans will get to enjoy his aimless ‘drives’ towards goal next term.
However, the more thoughtful and less cut-and-thrust style of Italian football may play to Can’s strengths if used as a midfield anchor, as his distribution is generally very good – if he has a little more time to engage his brain.
While these skills will no doubt improve with time and experience, though, consistency is the biggest reason there has been a lack of outrage around Liverpool surrounding his exit like Philippe Coutinho.
The ex-Bayern Munich youth will look every bit a midfielder worthy of regular Champions League football one game, the next mediocre and the following two average or good at best. A cycle he seems unable to break.
Can will no doubt pick up one or two more medals in Turin than in Liverpool, given the strength Juventus wield domestically, but if the Old Lady are expecting him to have a similar impact to Pogba they are sadly mistaken.
The Italian giants certainly won’t have European clubs breaking down their doors to smash a transfer record for their latest acquisition any time soon.