Just when it seemed that things were starting to go Juventus’ way, fate has dealt the club a cruel blow in the form of an ACL injury to their young star Federico Chiesa. His season-ending injury sustained in a dramatic victory against Roma has thrown Massilimiano Allegri’s plans into chaos.
The injury could significantly damage Juve’s chances of finishing in the top four and will affect their success rate and odds at top betting sites as a result, if the club cannot find the right replacement.
Allegri’s problem is that the financial situation restricts his options significantly. Any signing would have to involve a loan deal, and for that reason, it is possible that the club may prefer to find a replacement from the ranks of the players that they already have.
Of the current squad. Dejan Kulusevski, who came on for Chiesa in Rome and scored a vital equalizer to set up the victory, is the most obvious and readily available replacement. He was expected to join Tottenham in the current transfer window, but that move might well be postponed in order to promote him to be Chiesa’s permanent successor.
The Swedish winger could have fetched a significant fee from the Premier League side, now managed by former Juve boss Antonio Conte. But finishing in the top four and guaranteeing Champions League football next season is an even higher priority than addressing the club’s immediate financial problems and Juve can ill afford to lose a player of Chiesa’s quality without an adequate replacement.
It is fair to say that Kulusevski has not yet lived up to his potential in Turin, but that may well be due to his lack of a long run in the team. With Chiesa out of action, he has the chance to make the wide right position his own, and if he can do so, Allegri will be spared the need for a tactical adjustment.
Allegri may also use Moise Keen, Weston McKennie, or perhaps even Federico Bernadeschi, as offensive wide players. Bernadeschi might be a logical replacement for Chiesa, and could even take Chiesa’s spot in the national squad, although Roberto Mancini is more likely to opt for Domenico Berardi.
Alternatively, with numerous key games remaining in the remainder of the season, Juve may opt to sign someone on loan to preserve the existing depth of the roster. Sardar Azmoun at Zenit St Petersburg has been discussed in the media as a potential replacement, however, Zenit may be hesitant to cut him loose, even on a loan agreement. Adding another midfield player, such as Bruno Guimaraes of Lyon or a striker, perhaps Mario Icardi, of PSG would give him more options.
At the moment, it seems that Juve are leaning towards replacing Chiesa from within, but fans will be watching anxiously in the next few games to see how well the new-look side will cope.