Transfer News

Opinion: Stronger or weaker? Comparing Juve’s current squad with last season

September 2, 2021 - 4:30 pm

For better or worse, the summer transfer market is over, and we now finally have the identities of all 25 players what will make Massimiliano Allegri’s squad for this season – or at least until January.

Some deals went through as expected, while other transfers collapsed, but the question remains, do Juventus have a stronger or weaker squad from the one that was at Andrea Pirlo’s disposal last season?

Let’s make our assessment based on every department before reaching a final conclusion.

Goalkeepers

In: Perin

Out: Buffon

Despite the fact that Gianluigi Donnarumma was available as a free agent, the Bianconeri were too crippled by their financial difficulties to pull off a move for the giant Azzurri star. Therefore, Gianluigi Buffon will be replaced by the returning Mattia Perin – reminiscently to 2018.

Even though the former Genoa man is a decent option for a backup goalkeeper, Gigi’s confidence and charisma remain irreplaceable, even at the age of 43.

In any case, the identity of the second shot-stopped wouldn’t have been a major issue in the presence of a reliable number one, but unfortunately, Wojciech Szczesny is currently short on confidence and has been regularly committing howlers since the latter stages of last season.

Verdict: Unless Tek can find his best form again, this department has surely been weakened in comparison with last season.

Defense

In: Rugani, De Sciglio, Pellegrini

Out: Demiral, Dragusin, Frabotta

Juventus opted against spending a penny on their defense, instead bringing back three players from their loan stints.

As for the departures, Radu Dragusin will eventually return, while Gianluca Frabotta didn’t exactly set the world on fire last season, but allowing Merih Demiral to leave could totally expose the aging defense.

The Turkish center back had his difficulties in Turin but he remains a promising talent that can explode at Atalanta, and replacing him with Daniele Rugani surely can’t be considered an improvement.

Verdict: A weakened department filled by injury-prone veterans and mediocre backups.

Midfield

In: Locatelli

Federico Cherubini and company spent their entire summer chasing Manuel Locatelli, and they eventually got their man. However, Allegri is paying the price of the delay as their midfielder couldn’t be a part of the team’s pre-season and will need some time to settle.

Moreover, the management was unable to offload the deadwood in this department – Aaron Ramsey in particular – which meant that the club couldn’t land a genuine deep-lying playmaker who can allow Locatelli to operate as a box-to-box midfielder.

Verdict: An improvement on last season, but perhaps not enough.

Attack:

In: Kean, Kaio Jorge

Out: Ronaldo

Juventus fans were surely happy to see Moise Kean in Turin again, and winning the exciting race for Kaio Jorge was another pleasant surprise.

Nonetheless, these two young men are can’t truly make up for the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo – a world class enigma who adds 30+ goals per season.

Now surely the Portuguese’s sale made sense on several levels, and some observers believe that the likes of Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa could see an increase in their scoring stats. However, this remains a mere theory thus far, as CR7’s departure can only be considered a significant loss on paper.

Verdict: A weakened department until proven otherwise.

Conclusion

At least in our own assessment, Juventus ended up with three weakened departments on paper, and one that was improved – although not enough.

However, football is played on the pitch, and the Old Lady’s supporters will be betting on Max Allegri, who will have to squeeze the best out of his men in order to reclaim the lost Italian throne.

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  • Avatar
    Ros September 2, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    midfield did get a boost. CR7 departure might be a good thing. Since his arrival, La Joya got quiet, so maybe now he can become a leader. Kaio Jorge has skills and is young. Morata will do better. I think CR7 dominance on the field was a bad thing. PD10 and M9 would have scored more if CR7 wouldn’t take all the free-kicks and penalties. I don’t think Juve will miss him.
    Buffon leaving is a blow. He used to be there when Szcesny played s**t. Even now, at the age of 43, he is better than Perin.
    The defence is OK. Demiral was not a decisive player.
    Locatelli will definitely bring quality.
    All together, a bit stronger and still should win the Scudetto, but not enough to compete for CL medals.

  • Avatar
    JP September 2, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    This team will struggle to regain their identity. Unfortunately the midfield is still a concern even with Locatelli’s addition but certainly can be labeled an upgrade over last year. Defense is a downgrade, our CB situation is very thin. Rugani is simply not a quality defender. I also think Alex Sandro’s best days are well behind him. At best we will have a top 4 finish but I worry that may not happen if we continue to struggle early in the campaign.