I know it's (almost) June and the transfer market is all the buzz in European club football right now. However, I ask you to put aside your salivating thoughts of a Higuain-Suarez-Llorente trident wearing a Juve jersey next season and focus on the current crop of strikers with me.
Reading our season in review so far, you immediately get the feeling that Juventus excels in all areas of the pitch. Our goalkeeper(s), defenders, and midfielders are all among the top in Europe.
There is one zone of the pitch that is the black sheep for a second year in a row - the attackers.
For the first season since I can (literally) remember, Alessandro Del Piero, the eternal capitano, wasn't among the ranks to wear the bianconero in attack. While that left a void to be filled and presented an opportunity for someone to step up, no one forward was able to do that this season.
That said, all of our strikers got a good amount of games by the end of the season, which led to most of them having similar amount of goals. How would you rate them though?
MIRKO VUCINIC — 7 (41 games - 14 goals)
Forget Arturo Vidal for a second and you're looking at Juventus' top scorer for this season in Serie A and in all competitions. Not bad, eh? Well, he did play in most games because without him in the lineup Juventus often struggled to create anything past a shitty cross from Lichtsteiner. That said, it's been well documented how lazy and inconsistent Mirko can be and this year was no different. The more games he plays, the more evident that becomes. In the beginning of the year, he developed a decent partnership with Giovinco and was able to link up with him much more successfully than with any other striker. He became a bit more inconsistent in the closing stages of the season but he was also struggling with injuries/flu. Whether you wanna admit it or not, Mirko is our best forward and has been for the second year running. Hopefully all of that will change this summer and he'll be coming off the bench behind Llorente + (insert quality striker here).
FABIO QUAGLIARELLA — 7 (35 - 13)
Despite not playing as many games as Gio and Mirko, Quagliarella had some key goals for us (especially in the CL where he knocked in 4 in 7 games) and came into form right when we needed someone to step up a bit. I would go as far as to say he was the surprise of the season in attack. Most importantly, he kept his mouth shut all season and waited for his chance, similar to Matri. That is the type of attitude that has kept him focused on the field and as an option in Conte's mind.
ALESSANDRO MATRI — 6.5 (33 - 10)
Matri came into the season burried in the slump he experience at the end of last year. With a lot of confidence from Conte and his teammates, he was able to overcome the drought and started bagging in goals as the season went on and he got more playing time. Clearly not a first choice striker behind the initially preferred Mirko and Gio (and then Quagliarella with his sudden form), Matri made the most out of his substitution games and showed signs that the poacher is still in him. Between himself, Quagliarella, and Giovinco, one (at least) will have to leave Turin this summer. Either way, it was a positive season in the end for Mitra Matri, and I truly hope he continues to contribute in either a Juve or any other jersey next season.
SEBASTIAN GIOVINCO — 6 (41 - 11)
Alright, confession time. Before the season started, still fresh from the wound in my heart Del Piero left when he flew down under, I was tempted to write an article on here in support of giving Giovinco the numero 10 jersey. Man, would I have been wrong. Not only did Giovinco disappoint this season, but the majority of the goals he scored made no real difference in the results of the games. His touch was horrendous in some games, which is odd since given his size that's the one thing that differentiated him from the taller, more physically dominant strikers in Serie A. With how much playing time he got this year, he really should have done better. It's funny that just yesterday the news surfaced that he'd be given the number 10 for Italy. Can this be a turning point for Gio? Hopefully. I would still like to give him one more year in a Juve jersey before letting him go to a smaller club, but he will have to work really hard to find a spot in Conte's lineup next year.
NICKLAS BENDTNER — 5 (10 - 0)
This guy. This maafuckin guy. Came into the squad with confidence riding as high as ever, though never managed to create the spark Conte needed from him. Scored no goals, played ineffective games until he got a DUI in Denmark and Conte banished him to the bench for good. Thank God Marotta took him on loan. He could've potentially become another Iaquinta-like torn in our squad for the next few years.