It has been something of a turbulent first half of the 2021/22 Serie A campaign for Juventus. The Turin club find themselves in seventh position, outside of the Europa Conference League qualification place by virtue of goal difference. Juve are a monstrous 12 points behind pace-setters Inter Milan, who have accrued 43 points from their opening 18 games. They’re even six points behind the fourth and final Champions League qualification place, currently occupied by Atalanta.
One of the main problems for Juve has been a lack of goals. They’ve scored just 25 in their opening 18 league games. That’s the lowest total in the top half of the Serie A table. With that in mind, supporters would be forgiven for thinking that Allegri and the club’s hierarchy would be keen to dip into the transfer market and bring a fresh dynamic to the squad. However, that could not be further from the truth, with Allegri confirming he does not believe the January window holds the key to solving his squad’s issues.
More exits than arrivals expected in Turin next month
When recently questioned about the potential to use the January window to bring an additional firepower, Allegri was highly dismissive. The 54-year-old insisted he was more focused on working “on the players that we have” and was adamant that the players at his disposal are “great”. Allegri believes there is more than enough firepower in his ranks and would rather get the whole team to be “more clinical”, preferring not to single out “just the strikers”.
In fact, there could be more outgoings than incomings during next month’s transfer window. English Premier League outfit Leeds United are said to have a keen interest in Juve’s Weston McKennie. The midfielder is high on Marcelo Bielsa’s priority list, particularly given the recent injury to England international Kalvin Phillips.
Injuries have certainly played their part of late, with Argentine Paulo Dybala enduring a frustrating first half of the season. A thigh problem kept him out from October, when the passionate forward left the field in tears after scoring in a 3-2 victory over Sampdoria. He sustained yet another problem earlier this month during the visit to Venezia. Speaking of Dybala, Allegri said that the club “don’t want to take any risk” regarding his long-term fitness. Juve have some crunch fixtures with 2nd and 5th-placed Napoli and Roma on the horizon in the New Year, so priming Dybala for early 2022 will be a priority.
Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey has also been sidelined for some time with a hip flexor issue, with his torrid time in Turin continuing on the fitness front. Right winger Federico Chiesa has also missed a chunk of Serie A action with an arm injury. Meanwhile right back Danilo, another play that provides plenty of thrust from the flanks, has been sidelined since mid-November, with a New Year comeback pencilled in.
The season is still alive for Allegri’s men
There is no doubt that Allegri and Juve are returning to a semblance of form domestically, with three wins in their last four games. They overcame a tricky encounter away to Allegri’s former employers Bologna, winning 2-0 in the Emilia-Romagna fog. The win at the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium was widely tipped by the leading analysts and handicappers across European football, given that Juve had won their last 11 consecutive meetings with I Rossoblu. It was one of four top-flight European games selected in a data-driven weekend accumulator and Allegri’s men did not disappoint the statisticians.
Early January certainly looks like being a pivotal period of the campaign for Allegri and Juve. Back-to-back games with Napoli and Roma are followed by the final of the Supercoppa Italiana against Inter Milan. Victory over Inter could set the tone for the second half of the campaign. On the European front, Juve also have the small matter of a last 16 Champions League tie with Villarreal to negotiate in February. The season is by no means dead for Juve and January incomings are unlikely to be the root cause of an upturn in fortunes, with Allegri seemingly keen to keep faith with his existing troops.