With all the rumors revolving around potential moves during the January transfer window, Juventus have a player poised to return from injury who could prove to be a money saver (or, even better, money well spent). That is, at least until the summer market opens.
When you look at the current roster (forgetting about injuries for a second), the Bianconeri have pretty remarkable quality and depth, and given the way they’re playing at the moment, buying a big-name player can be seen as both necessary and unnecessary. Whatever they do, let’s hope they don’t rush to buy and make a mistake like they did this past summer with Hernanes.
If we’d had a fitter squad since preseason, I’d say there’s no need to worry too much about buying someone in January. Just let the players you’ve got do what they’re supposed to, and if the right deal comes, then you can take it.
However, on the other side of things, it may be necessary to bring in a big name because of injury woes to players like Sami Khedira and Kwadwo Asamoah, among others, as well as the need for one or two more proven champions to really solidify the squad heading into what will be a massively important second half of the season.
The name I have in mind is Roberto Pereyra. Just as his purchase was slightly overlooked this summer because of big buys like Khedira, Mario Mandzukic, and Paulo Dybala, he’s being slightly forgotten now as well.
I’ve been a fan of his since he joined on loan from Udinese in the summer of 2014, mainly because of his work rate. He fit in really well from his debut, and whenever he was on the pitch, lots of things happened. Notably, he’s got a great work ethic, can play in a variety of positions, and creates lots of chances.
Because of his versatility, the 25-year-old Argentine can play in a 4-3-1-2 or a 3-5-2, both utilized by Max Allegri. In the former, he’d be best suited behind attackers, a role the Bianconeri are currently trying to fill. Since he can play both on the left and the right (though he’s primarily used on the left), he’s also well-suited for Allegri’s 3-5-2. As we know, Allegri prefers to have the flexibility to play in several different formations, and the return of Pereyra could be just what he needs to let that philosophy flourish.
In an interview ahead of the 2014/2015 campaign, the manager admitted that Pereyra would feature well in a playmaker role behind the strikers, even though he’s not a classic finisher. (Indeed, his ability to score goals is something that he needs to work on.)
He's still young, too, and given the chance to develop along with a talented group of young players in a role he's almost destined to fill, he'd be on his way to becoming as important a player as his idol Mauro Camoranesi.
According to WhoScored.com, since the 2011/2012 season he’s averaged a solid 86.5 percent pass success rate, while also averaging 29.7 passes per game, in all competitions. He’s got great stamina too, and during the 2014/2015 season he played in 52 matches in all competitions (35 in Serie A).
His ball control and intelligence when in possession, along with his tenacity off the ball, mean he’s most effective when trying to disrupt the opponent’s possession and transitioning to the attack. He makes the most of every pass, and his pace might be second only to Stephan Lichtsteiner. Pereyra’s ability to get the ball smartly and quickly moving up the field was a noticeable contribution to an extremely successful season.
The Argentine was injured against Atalanta in Week 9, and his 40-day recovery period will be ending in the coming days. The Old Lady, no doubt, have not been rushing his return. Juventus paid €14 million to keep him in Turin after the year-long loan deal with Udinese, and if he returns to form quickly and can stay healthy, he could be the real big blow for the Bianconeri and Max Allegri this winter.