Juventus are a side that, on paper, have a remarkable strike force.
They’ve got one of the best players the sport has ever seen in Cristiano Ronaldo, who even at 36-years-old is still producing incredible goalscoring numbers. They’ve got Alvaro Morata who has played at the top level for years, and Paolo Dybala who despite his lack of recent action, is one of the most valuable forwards in the world.
Despite all this, they seem to look incredibly disjointed going forward at times. The shape that Juve lined up in against Benevento on Sunday doesn’t compliment the forwards they have. Their 4-4-2 tends to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Morata start up top.
It’s no secret that Ronaldo is a nomadic footballer. He’ll pop up all over the forward line looking to influence play and keep defenders guessing.
His tendency to do this leaves Morata isolated in the middle, and he doesn’t seem to have the physical presence or the pace to lead the line anymore. He has produced moments of quality this season, but they’ve become very sparse, and he seems to be a passenger in most games now. That coupled with a lack of cutting edge means he looks ripe for replacement. The Spaniard missed three great chances in the defeat on Sunday.
The other effect of this system is that it reduces the influence of two of the most talented young players at the club. Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski found themselves picking up the ball far too deep against Benevento, meaning they often had to beat two players and run half the length of the pitch before they could really produce any kind of scoring opportunity.
Kulusevski is definitely a player that requires some more development to be a big-hitter in the squad, but Chiesa has shown that he could really be the main man in Turin. To not play to his strengths could be something Andrea Pirlo regrets in the long run.
It’s almost impossible to predict any transfer activity at Juventus these days until we know the futures of Ronaldo and Dybala.
The former has been linked with a move back to Real Madrid following the Champions League exit. Dybala on the other hand has had an uncertain future for well over a year now. He’s had an injury-ravaged season, but he’s looked close to the exit door on many occasions despite at one point seeming to be Juve’s golden boy.
If those two players were offloaded, suddenly there’s significant wriggle room in the wage budget meaning Juve can go after some quality forwards.
The obvious target is of course Erling Braut Haaland. He’s arguably the best goalscorer in Europe right now, but he’s likely to have more attractive offers than Juve. He also may not move until summer 2022 as that’s when €75 million release clause comes into effect.
Another interesting option that could become available is Mauro Icardi. After the way the Argentine’s spell at Inter ended, the idea of rejuvenating his career at Juve could be a very attractive proposition.
If the right offers come in and the right targets become available, we could see a huge change in personnel upfront front for the Bianconeri. After the way this season has gone so far, that might be a welcome prospect for Juve fans.