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Projecting Claudio Marchisio's 2014-15 season

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Valerio Pennicino

Claudio Marchisio has found himself in a unique situation.

He is one of the longest-tenured Juventus players, having been with the club from what seems like the time he could walk as a toddler; then a member of the squad on the senior level ever since the season in Serie B. He has been a huge part of the Juve starting lineup for the better part of the last five or six years since he returned from his loan spell at Empoli with fellow youth product and Turin native Sebastian Giovinco.

Also, for the first time in years, Marchisio wasn't a full-time starter. His eight substitute appearances in Serie A last season was the highest total he's recorded since his loan spell at Empoli. Marchisio battled a poor run of form that dated back to the 2012-13 season, which obviously didn't help his argument for more playing time if there was even a chance for one.

Here's the thing as Marchisio enters the 2014-15 season: He plays in the same midfield as Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. That's three of the best players in the business right there, folks. And because of it, it's understandable as to why Marchisio's playing time has gone down a bit over the last two years — especially with the way Pogba has developed into such an important player to Juve's side.

He's clearly the first option behind the insanely talented starting three. That doesn't I'm not screaming "SELL MARCHISIO NOW!!" from the mountain tops because that wouldn't look very good on my application to re-up with the Claudio Marchisio Fanboy Club. Not even close to that.

All of that, brings me to a pretty obvious question: Where does Claudio Marchisio fit into the equation now that Max Allegri is Juventus' manager?

We've seen Mad Max tinker with his formations throughout the preseason. And for the sake of this argument, let's just go ahead and assume Juventus aren't going to make any kind of significant additions before the transfer window closes even though we sure as hell would like them to. That means one of two things: 1) Marchisio will be the first midfielder off the bench to replace somebody who needs a rest or gets suspended; 2) Marchisio could very well be one of the options Allegri tries behind the strikers in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

One of those is pretty much status quo, the other one makes you facepalm because we've seen it so many times before and turn out the way it almost always ends up.

We know Marchisio as a trequartista doesn't work. We know Marchisio as anything other than some kind of central midfielder — be it box-to-box, defensive, or regista — doesn't work. We have enough of a sample size to come to a definitive answer that playing Marchisio out of his natural central midfield role isn't going to end well on most days.

But, if it's a 3-5-2 or 4-3-2-1 Allegri is after, then Marchisio will be the utility man he was last season. He could be filling in for Pogba one game and then the next giving Pirlo a rest the next weekend. Marchisio's development to be a more than serviceable replacement as a regista last season is something that cen be looked at as one of the good points in his reputation of being a versatile player. Playing as a vice-Pirlo suits his game quite well. He keeps it simple and does his usual dirty work on the defensive side of the ball.

I guess what I'm saying is that Marchisio is a versatile player — to a certain extent. That means keeping him in the center of the midfield in some kind of aspect, you guys.And don't play him as a winger, Max. That's just asking yourself for a lot of not so nice words on this part of the internet.

CLAUDIO MARCHISIO 2014-15 PROJECTION (SERIE A ONLY)

Games: 30

Starts: 22

Goals: 5

Assists: 3

Times he makes us swoon: Unmeasurable. It's Claudio Marchisio, people.