Andrea Pirlo will be forever remembered as a legend of Italian football. Although originally known for his exploits at AC Milan, Pirlo donned the famous Juventus jersey over 100 times before moving to New York City FC in 2015. It would be fair to state that Pirlo was one of a kind and he made that deep-lying midfielder role his own. Many of today’s stars model their own style on Pirlo’s game – and that is a testament to his impact and influence on the sport.
Juventus have continued to thrive on the pitch since Pirlo’s departure but nobody will ever really replace the great man. However, Juve do have a few stars who could potentially step up and blossom into the next big deep-lying playmaker. Miralem Pjanic was Juve’s primary transfer target in June 2016 and he has gone from strength to strength since joining the Serie A champions. The former AS Roma man is now a pivotal figure at Allianz Stadium.
Pjanic was never going to step directly into Pirlo’s shoes but he has certainly helped to fill the gaping void in central midfield. With Paul Pogba leaving for Manchester United, there is a new look to Juventus’ core but Pjanic is more than capable of leading the Italian giants to silverware in the future. He came within a whisker of a dramatic treble in his first season at the club but a Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid ended those dreams.
In addition, Claudio Marchisio is showing no signs of slowing down. At 29 years old, he is still able to hold his own and he could feature prominently at Allianz Stadium for the best part of a decade. Marchisio is one of the most underrated players on the planet and his experience should prove useful in the coming months. Juve are in a real dogfight for the title and a Champions League victory is not out of the question just yet.
The title race is twisting and turning – Juventus and Napoli are still neck and neck with less than 10 matches remaining. Massimiliano Allegri’s men are two points clear at the top but the complexion of the Serie A table changes on a weekly basis. Juve fans will be confident of a seventh successive title but live betting on football games and final standings is proving tricky this season. It is still almost impossible to predict a winner in Italy’s top flight.
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) March 25, 2018
In the search for Pirlo’s long term successor, Juventus could turn to the transfer window and there is an obvious candidate. Marco Verratti, hunted by the biggest clubs on the planet, fits the bill and Juve should go all out to tempt the Italian away from Paris Saint-Germain this summer. He will come at a cost but Verratti is well worth it; he and Sergio Busquets are by far and away the best defensive-minded midfielders in world football.
Finding a replacement for Andrea Pirlo was never going to be easy and it would be foolish to expect Juventus to find somebody capable of controlling a match in the same way. Pirlo was one-of-a-kind but that doesn’t mean that the Serie A champions cannot replace him. Pjanic and Marchisio are doing a fantastic job but the long term ambition of Verratti carries most appeal. It could be a busy summer for Juventus – whether they retain their title or not.