Even before Paulo Dybala steps onto the field for his first Serie A game in a Juventus jersey, the expectations are going to be high. Those expectations will be as high as the money Juve paid to Palermo this summer to secure the Argentine forward's services, which also happens to be a transfer fee for the Andrea Agnelli/Beppe Marotta era.
That's the territory that comes with a transfer that could push the €40 million plateau.
Dybala is not just being looked as a contributor this season, but for the future Juventus teams. As much as that chunk of change sent over the Palermo has to do with being paid immediately, it also has to do with Dybala being viewed as a building block at Juventus for a long, long time. And at the tender age of 21 with his career essentially right in front of him, there's plenty of potential to grow into for this talented Argentine.
For now, though, we'll just concentrate on the immediate future.
Dybala is coming off a breakout 2014-15 season — where he reached double digits in both goals and assists. Not bad for a 20-year-old, right? Only a handful of players in Serie A could say they did the same a season ago, and one of the biggest reasons as to why Dybala got so much attention from big clubs across Europe before Juventus agreed to sign him back in late May. The double-digit double showed the Dybala is not just a legitimate goal-scoring threat in one of Europe's best defensive leagues, but also one that sets them up and makes his teammates better in the process.
That sounds like another Argentina who wore the Juventus colors for a couple of seasons recently, doesn't it?
So, here's something to re-familiarize yourself with Dybala's skill set just in case you've forgotten about what Juventus' big-money signing is capable of doing on the field. And, just like always, the questionable music choice is there as well.
Now that he's traded in his pink Palermo jersey for the bianconero of Juventus, Dybala is on the big stage with the biggest team Italy has to offer. He wanted to be a Juventus player from the onset of all the transfer talk, and that's exactly what he got. Dybala cost the highest transfer fee of the Agnelli era, and he's got the talent to be worth even more than that.
The main question is how Max Allegri will deploy Dybala this season. Will Dybala play wide in a 4-3-3? Will he play behind Mario Manduzkic and next to Álvaro Morata in a 4-3-2-1? Alongside either one of them — and don't forget Simone Zaza, too — in a 4-3-1-2 or 3-5-2? To honest, it's probably a combination of all three of them — and maybe even more possible outcomes along the way seeing as how tactically flexible Allegri is. As we've come to know about Juventus in recent years, they like their players to be versatile, which means Dybala's exactly position on the field probably won'e be set in stone. For right now, at least.
Dybala's long-term future is as some kind of variation of a seconda punta, no doubt, which will obviously cater to his ability to score goals and set them up. And, logically, that would be alongside Morata in the year, oh, 2018 or 2020 and beyond. We know all about the potential each one of the them has, and the hope is that they can not only grow as players, but also a combination to lead Juventus forward. (Pun intended? Maybe.)
I feel safe in saying this, though: If Dybala goes onto score goals that even come close to resembling what he did in the Italian Super Cup against Lazio over the weekend, then Allegri will be forced to play him more often than not. And, at the same time, that record transfer fee will become even less of a worry as the days go by.
PAULO DYBALA 2015-16 PROJECTION (SERIE A ONLY)