Features, Player Features, Transfer Features

Ranking Juventus’ potential Pogba replacements

August 11, 2016 - 7:51 am

Paul Pogba has officially become the most expensive footballer of all time and Manchester United are primed to pay  €105 million for the French midfielder, leaving Juventus to find a replacement before the new Serie A season kicks off on August 20.

During the last couple of weeks several names have popped up in various news reports, and now it’s time to rate and rank the five best and biggest, taking into account the chances of them joining the Bianconeri.


1. Hector Herrera (FC Porto) – 9/10

A surprising number one? Not exactly. Herrera captains FC Porto and is a true warrior in midfield. Juventus are going to lose the midfield engine and duelling strength of Pogba when he leaves and this is something the 26-year-old Mexican can cover. He also scores pretty easily, has Champions League experience and could leave for a relatively reasonable amount of around €25 million. All things considered: Juve’s best option.


2. Blaise Matuidi (PSG) – 8/10

Switching one Frenchman for another? That could be the case if the Old Lady are able to convince Matuidi to come to Turin. With the arrival of Grzegorz Krychowiak from Sevilla, the 29-year-old has become an expendable player for Paris Saint-Germain, giving Juventus a shot at the France international. He’s an amazing runner and covers a lot of ground on a football field, however, the relationship with PSG isn’t great, and Matuidi is pretty expensive (between €35 million and €40 million), plus there’s competition from England for his signature.


3. Axel Witsel (Zenit) – 7.5/10

There’s no doubt Witsel wants to leave Zenit this summer. Until now, the Belgium international has been linked to a host of clubs, among them Everton, Tottenham, AS Roma, Inter, AC Milan, Napoli…and Juventus. The 27-year-old wants to make big money and play Champions League football. Everton can’t offer him both, and the same can be said about the two other clubs that have been close to signing him, namely Napoli and Inter. Meanwhile, Juve can give him a chance in the midfield as well as a chance at European glory. Witsel isn’t a top gun but he’s got all the necessary experience and skills to become a very good fourth option in Juve’s stacked midfield. Witsel is pretty decent in a box-to-box role, not to mention his price tag is a reasonable one (€25 million according to various reports in the Italian media).


4. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) – 5/10

Antonio Conte really wanted a new midfielder at Chelsea and the club were able to land Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante. Bad news for Matic as it seems like he could be relegated to a bench role next season. Juventus have been linked with a transfer for the Serbian for months with a fee of around €25 million mentioned. Matic would be the ideal replacement for Pogba, offering a range of similar skills to the French midfielder. The stumbling block would be Juve having to convince Conte to part with Matic, knowing full well how stubborn the former Juve coach can be. Chances of Matic joining? Not great, 50/50.


5. Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid) – 2/10

Juventus have been linked with a transfer of Kovacic on multiple ocassions, a player that has shown flashes of brilliance in a controlling midfield role at Inter. The Nerazzurri were forced to sell the 22-year-old to Real Madrid where Kovacic barely featured. For now, Kovacic remains a player with much potential and the standard media-hype rather than one which has shown to be worth his place in a top squad. Real aren’t a club that favour loans…..unless there’s a buyback option! Once bitten…..


Honorable mention: Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 8.5/10

Juventus have plnety of experience in midfield, so perhaps they could take a more ‘youthful’ approach and opt to buy a young talent like Mahmoud Dahoud. The 20-year-old German recorded a very solid first full season in the Bundesliga, as well as playing six games in the Champions League (two against Juve). He’s able to play  across the midfield and looks like a real gem, combining a tireless work rate with technical skills. However, Leroy Sane was sold for €50 million from Schalke to Man City, so Dahoud wouldn’t come cheap, but true talent is worth paying for…


Dishonorable mention: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg) – 0/10

Simone Zaza might not be willing to make the switch from the Old Lady to the Bundesliga, but Luiz Gustavo has been rumoured to like a move from Wolfsburg to Turin. The Brazilian had a decent spell at Bayern Munich before joining Wolfsburg, but he’s been on the decline ever since. Gustavo knows his role in midfield, is experienced, strong, and powerful, but he’s really not Juve material at this point in his career. Wolfsburg have declined a loan move from Juve, meaning the Bianconeri would have to pay his release clause of €32 million. BIG NO!

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  • Avatar
    ho Hi August 11, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Matuidi , Witsel, Gustavo out. Matic too.
    Dahoud is future melody.
    All in for Herrara.
    Do it Beppe, clocks ticking!!

  • Avatar
    ho Hi August 11, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I really dont have a great feeling for a great transfer like Herrara or Matic. Guess we will end with Gustavo or Schweinsteiger.
    Oh…… that fucking clock is ticking…..

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet August 11, 2016 at 10:47 am

    A timely analysis. Many thanks Vince!

    It seems that Witsel has either agreed to join us next season or agreed to join us this transfer window, for by telling the press he is happy to stay one more season it places Zenith in a very tight spot. If we pick him up for 15m I’ll be happy.

    Matic is not at all similar to Pogba, in fact I would go as far as to say that to combine the two would create the most complete central midfielder the world has ever known, for what one lacks, the other has in spades. Matic is of little value in the final third yet huge value in the read third. Pogba is immense in the final third, yet of little value in the rear third. One is very much offensive, the other very much defensive. The need to replace Pogba’s offensive talent is offset by Pjanic and Pjaca. Its the absence of Claudio and the concern of wasting Pjanic in a DM role which worries me enough to conclude that we will sign a DM or a true box to box midfielder to replace Pogba. Something needs to happen, yet we also need to move players on…at least 1, perhaps 2 of Pereyra, Lemina, Hernanes.

    I do not know anything of Herrera other than first hearing Moggi mention him and then the subsequent peeking at youtube and whoscored and other sites which give inorganic measures. I’ll trust Moggi on that score, yet find it too convenient a thing to learn of Witsel stating he will stay another year…if he wanted money and to showcase his skills in the premier league the option is there. Either he is joining us next season (which means we may not invest in a new CM) or he is joining us sooner.

    • Avatar
      VonKellef August 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      A box to box midfielder a la Vidal would be out of this world.
      Any suggestions?

      I agree on the analysis of the midfield. It is in front of our defense and not behind our attack that needs to be strengthened. So if a box to box midfielder can’t be bought we should go all in on Matic and wait for Witsel to join for free next summer or maybe get him for a maximum of 15m this summer, maybe even for 10m in the winter. More than that is not worth it.

      We really need a good midfielder.

      Offloading Hernanes and Pereyra would not be a negative thing in my opinion. If so. I hope it’s a sell and not a loan.

      I read today that if Zaza agrees to transfer to a new club like say Wolfsburg on either a loan or on a permanent transfer than Juventus will go after Gabigol.
      I’m still not convinced by Mandzukic. But it seems like he is ready to stay and fight for a spot.

      • Avatar
        ADP#10 August 11, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        Aaron Ramsey? But that might be a far-fetched dream

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    JuveMarchisio August 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Please none of them,give Rolando Mandragora a chance, none of them will be starters because no one beats asamoah, marchisio, pjanic, lemina or khedira, so why not give a youngster time to shine? and still we have sturaro hernanes and pereyra

    • Avatar
      KPS235 August 11, 2016 at 11:32 am

      mandragora is out for 4 months, marchisio too , khedira is injury prone king, asamoah is no iron man as well so for now we have pjanic, lemina, sturaro, pereyra and asamoah, so we gotta buy at least one more

      • Avatar
        JuveMarchisio August 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

        I’m saying if we do not offload first, we don’t need anyone … unless topclass..in wintermercato we can offload even more

        • Avatar
          KPS235 August 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm

          i would sell 2 of hernanes, pereyra, sturaro and bring in one great midfielder

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    Dar Black August 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Whilst attacking midfield maestros are exciting, we as TGP outlines below are good for putting the ball in the back of the opponents net. What we are lacking is cover in front of BBC to help stop the ball ending up in the back of Gigi’s net. So which of these guys is best to help with that?

    Beppe needs to buy the one that is best at covering that role, taking into account the usual considerations of age, price and talent. Matic would be worth a big offer, see if we can let money do the talking. He has 5 great years left in him as a DM.

    • Avatar
      Gerald Quinn August 12, 2016 at 4:53 am

      we have Khedira! most of his career he has been a DM we should put him as DM and get a well rounded or Attacking midfielder…think Saul, Arnold, Isco etc….

      Conte is an asshole i hate that guy so much probably more than Riola cus he’s a fucking racist prick! I care not that he is ex Juve

      #1 he wouldent let Giovinco or Andrea Pirlo join italy for the Euro’s just because they play in the U,S

      #2 every damn time we want to sign sombodey this transfer season, he comes along and trys to outbid us.. Case in point: Michy, Gabigol, and there was somone else we where after that he was also after i forgot who though, and now he is keeping Matic from us that greedy Fucking bastard!

      • Avatar
        Papilaya(John)™★★★ August 12, 2016 at 7:18 pm


        What? You knw how shit the level is in the u.s.? Its just a bunch of running assholes here. No quality at all. If i had the knowledge back in my teen years as i do now, i would have easily known how to make it in the mls. The damn galaxy was getting balled out by a bunch amatuer sunday league players. Gio and Andrea are are in no shape to play on the international level.

        Matic is his player. If he wants him, he wants him. Conte is the coach of chelsea, nit Juves little helper. Hes getting paid to work for chelsea, not Juve

        • Avatar
          Gerald Quinn August 15, 2016 at 9:52 pm

          The Mls is improving greatly at a extreamly fast rate, to say otherwise is to be ignorant Pirlo and Giovinco can provide experiance..AND EXEPTIONAL FORM in Giovinco, the thing is Conte didnt even give them a chance in friendlys…that is Elitest and Wrong! Fuck Conte

  • Avatar
    Juveway August 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I hope wqe don’t go after Herrera and Gustavo both are bang average

    • Avatar
      Gerald Quinn August 12, 2016 at 4:44 am

      Herrera is not average, and actually the most marketable, and will bring us a lot of shirt sales revenue from the Americas. ….I agree with gustavo being average if not worse than average, but also Kovacic, he was a young promisisng talent at the start, but a shmuck now. We should get either Herrera or Matuidi

      • Avatar
        Juveway August 12, 2016 at 4:05 pm

        Herrera is average that’s why he is at porto still at 26 your standards are too low.No top club wants him

        • Avatar
          Gerald Quinn August 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

          i guess Juve isnt a big club in your eyes then…are you faux follower?

          • Avatar
            Juveway August 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm

            dear porto is not big as juve financially and their prospects leave at age of 23-25(max) to play in high European league

  • Avatar
    Fabrice Boraschi August 11, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    What about Sissoko?

    • Avatar
      KPS235 August 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      no thanx

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    duder1897 August 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    I would take Isco over all of them. And rumor is he is available.

    • Avatar
      Norse Wolf August 11, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Isco wants to stay in Real

      • Avatar
        duder1897 August 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm

        Well never mind then LOL get Fabregas! Rumor is he is available… ?

  • Avatar
    ADP#10 August 11, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Aaron Ramsey anyone? He was sensational in the Euros. When in form he is one of the best CM in Europe IMO

    • Avatar
      Jas August 11, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Englishman have a phobia of Italy plus doubt Arsenal will sell him. In any case he isnt the player we need as he doesn’t bring much defensively.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black August 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Not defensive, and anyway unfortunately he’s not in form often enough for Arsenal!

    • Avatar
      Gerald Quinn August 12, 2016 at 4:42 am

      idk Ramsey is definitely an interesting option, doubt Arsenal will sell him for under 35M though

    • Avatar
      Juveway August 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

      No not a complete mid

  • Avatar
    Jas August 11, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I would take Kovacic over any of them. The fact that all the names you mentioned are are almost 30 seems to be a patch rather than a replacement. I think Kovacic has tremendous potential, if we can get him for 20million it would be a still. People forget how good he was for Inter and the fact that is only 21……..need I say more. Matuidi has a year or two at best, Witsel I rather wait and get for free next year. Herrera is really good but won’t come cheap, I doubt they will sell under 30 million.

    • Avatar
      Gerald Quinn August 12, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Kovacic has showed nothing at Madrid, why would we want someone like him, he’s just a Madrid reject? we are suppose to be looking for talent to make us stronger for the champions league especially against the 4 giants, not stronger for Serie A, Kovacic would actually be our worst option as no way he is coming for less than 30M also Hector Herrera is 26, and far more marketable and a better more complete and experienced midfielder than Kovacic

      • Avatar
        Jas August 12, 2016 at 3:37 pm

        Kovacic is no real madrid reject, he has played plenty of games last season. Please keep in mind he is much younger than the rest of the squad. Most players his age were loaned out to other teams and he was the youngest player on that real madrid team. Still manager to play about 25 games with 16 as a starter. Kovacic has tremendous potential and a higher lid than the guys mentioned above. This can be realized within two years and we would have another Luka Modric if not better on our squad. I rather take him at a discount with a higher potential then anyone up there mentioned. Keep in mind with the rest of these guys it is as good as it gets, you will not get anything better from them and they are not world class players, good but not great.

      • Avatar
        bogdan August 12, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        Khedira, Morata RM rejects
        Pogba- MU reject
        Caceres – Barcelona reject
        BONNUCI- was a reject of Inter at some point etc.
        You get the idea. You just can’t judge a young player by one year as long as he got talent, and imho kovacic is the best option for us, as long as we don’t take him with a buy back clause. Sorry to say but by the way you talk you just seem to be a very immature person or someone who talks without thinking, or you are just a kid , please think more about everything you say cause it just looks silly a lot of times.

      • Avatar
        Juveway August 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

        Pogba tevez pirlo etc…were all wantaways

  • Avatar
    Norse Wolf August 11, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Mahmoud Dahoud ftw !

  • Avatar
    Gerald Quinn August 12, 2016 at 4:33 am

    WHY THOUGH? have we so little faith in our squad that we need a Pogba replacment ASAP??? damn wait! if we get a Pogba Replacment right now we are going to pick up trash! we should just wait till half the season and get a GOOD QUALITY replacment then!

    – Luis Gustavo? idk what people see in him? i agree with the dishonarable mention, he sure as hell doent belong in Juve …verdict – Trash, and for Zaza in a direct trade we are the ones who are getting ripped off and on the loosing end of the bargin. Zaza may be no Suarez, but he has Potential to be at least a better version of Mandzukic …probably a future italian Muller.

    – Witsel? are you kidding me? why is he even discussed? his contract expires next season no need to Buy him, just let him come for free next season, anything over 15M and we will look like fools … i mean the futbol world already thinks Juve are retards for buying Higuain for 90M… Pipita was basically a direct swap for Pogba since we only have a measly 15M leftover that can buy us nothing

    – Matic? he is good but if Conte is being a bitch then nothing we can do…maybe Matic falls into bad form for being a sub and we might be able to get him for cheap next transfer season half way

    – Kovacic? Why do we want a real madrid Reject? further and for most no way Madrid will let him come cheap, and if he does come cheap it will be a Morata part 2 “juve gets fucked by madrid a second time” Also whats the big deal? he seems like your average midfielder…he isn’t anything special, he’s no prodigy like: Arnold, Pogba, Pjaca, or

    – Matuidi? he is a good replacment for Pogba as he is strong and equally effective as an engine, however he hasent relly shined in the euros or at PSG he needs to be more creative for my taste and well if we can get him for 20M-30M that would be a fair price and a good buy meanwhile we get somone better.

    – Herrerra? he is probably the same story as Matuidi, He has the qualities Pogba had and he is a very good midfielder, however at least with the Mexican national team, in very important games; he isnt there, He needs to have more creativity but he can do very well with us. Of all the mentioned options he would be best! Not to mention HERRERA IS THE ONLY player out of all in this list, that can be marketable and introduce and get Juve many fans abroad (the America’s and the US)

    Mahmoud Dahoud ? I dont know much about him but he seems to be a hot commodity with the english and barcelona so i suppose ther is merit to his talents, He along with Herrera seems like our best bet.

    THAT SAID, From this list – Hector Herrera and Mahmoud Dahoud seem like our best bet

    I would like to add WE SHOULD BUY SAUL he is bound to be a great midfielder and i wouldent be surprised if he surpassed Pogba in 2 years;

    Also we should really be looking for A WELL ROUNDED, OR ATTACKING midfielder Not a DEFENSIVE mid. Pogba was not a defensive mid, and defensive Mid is Khedira’s natural position, Yes khedira does well in the upper third however there is young better midfield talent the likes of Arnold, Saul, Isco, Draxler, KROOS, JAMES whom can out perform Khedira in the upper third

    • Avatar
      Dar Black August 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      We are covered for attacking play! Look at the bigger picture GQ. Alves, Pjaca and Pjanic all gives us extra attacking options. We need a midfielder who is adept at protecting the backline. We don’t have one of those with current injuries.

      Why wait a year to get Witsel for free, when we can get him now for peanuts. If we have one or two bad nights in the CL and don’t make it out of the group due to our midfield buckling under pressure the fee for Witsel will seem like chump change compared to lost CL revenue!

  • Avatar
    Papilaya(John)™★★★ August 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Why is zaza looking to be sold 🙁

    • Avatar
      VonKellef August 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      Put yourself in his position. He didn’t play much last year and this year we have strengthened the attack with Gonzalo. He was our number 4 striker last year and will be so this year as well. If we had sold Mandzukic instead, maybe he had stayed. I really like the guy and will be just as sad when he leaves as I was when Giovinco left. This is the right move for him and for his development.

      Glad we didn’t spend 25m on Berrardi just so he could sit on the bench.

      I get it. It’s a precautionary measure. You want to have 4 attackers so that if someone gets injured you have backup. But it’s not fun being the forth guy for a full long season.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black August 13, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Perhaps he fears the opposing fans reaction / taunting to his Euro penalty miss as he goes around Italy this season? You can imagine he will get some abuse by fans of certain teams.

  • Avatar
    Juveway August 13, 2016 at 11:10 am

    An ideal midfield trio consists of a
    DM(holding mid)
    Box to box mid
    Creative mid.
    Pjanic can play as a creative mid.
    Marchisio and khedira(very fragile) both can play as a box to box mid.
    Now on that holding mid there is only marchisio who is out till December.So we need a player which can play in front of defence.(Simple as that)

  • Avatar
    Dybala August 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I’m getting tired of people make fun of higuain because he turned up to camp a few pounds overweight. I hope he makes all these assholes eat their words and only motivates him more.

    • Avatar
      Thomas Mafa Jan August 13, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Its the natural process of those who are jelous. 90m as a proce tag, and the world wants to see him burn. When he scores 30 this season all those haters will be following him on intsagram, and pretending they were supporting him all along the way.

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