Just a few short days remain until Juventus opens its 2016-17 season against Fiorentina. That means, even though the club has played a handful of friendlies, we get the cub's summer signings for the first time official. Yes, we've seen the likes Marko Pjaca, Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain for a couple of times already, but soon the games will actually mean something in the standings and the impact they make will be measured and be put under more of a microscope.
That begs the one question about Juventus' summer acquisitions.
Which one are you most looking forward to seeing this season?
Juventus have brought in one of the best strikers in the game. Juventus have brought in one of the best passers to play in the midfield in the game. Juventus has brought in a fullback who has achieved just about everything you can achieve during his time with Barcelona. And Juventus has brought in a young Croatian winger who certainly doesn't look like he's lacking in talent from what we've seen so far.
Previous BWRAO Roundtables
Previous BWRAO Roundtables
Not a bad summer transfer window, huh?
(And they probably aren't done yet. There's still a couple of weeks to go and probably another central midfielder to buy.)
So, in our last BWRAO roundtabling of the summer before the games get underway, we discussed which of the four arrivals that we are most looking forward to seeing with the season set to begin this weekend. Considering who Juventus have signed this summer, there are no wrong kind of answers here.
Miralem Pjanic for sure. The sooner he hits the ground running the better it will be for Juventus. With Claudio Marchisio out for the next few months, Sami Khedira notoriously fragile and who knows where Paul Pogba's head would have been if be even if he stayed in Turin, Pjanic could be the metronomic heartbeat of the team that Andrea Pirlo once was from the regista position.
As much as Higuain excites me, the signing I'm most excited to watch is Pjanic. That silky touch of his and whirring footballing brain will come in great use wherever you play him. With him, we're given the chance to play the way we did with Pirlo, ie, with a proper regista pulling the strings, or we're given the chance to see Max implement the dream he's been harboring since he became coach: Build the offense around a world class trequartista.
I expect him to excel in both roles, however the thought of the likes of Marchisio, Khedira and Lemina forming a dynamic midfield trio, with Pjanic playing in the hole supporting Dybala in front of him, and Higuain in front of him, is truly a sexy thought. Without even factoring in Alves and Sandro bombing down the wings.. Here's hoping we sign some brilliant midfielder now to reinforce and add some serious quality in Pogba's absence, to allow Pjanic to shine where he does best. That said, I must make a shout out to Pjaca. I'm excited to see him adapt to the Italian game, and grow under Allegri's tutelage, and long term, he really does excite me too. Man, we're spoiled for choice this year..
I am most looking forward to seeing Marko Pjaca this season. The quality of the other players we have purchased this season is well documented as most of them have been European regulars for many years. Admittedly, I had not heard of or seen Pjaca play prior to Euro 2016 but was pleasantly surprised with a) his creatively and skill and b) his work rate. I don't know if it's just me or if I have become smitten with Mandzukic's trackbacking ability, but I find Croatians leave everything on the field. Blood, sweat and tears with no regrets whatsoever. Now I'm not so sure we are getting a player who is a mix of Messi and Ronaldo (cc: Pjaca's agent) but I am quite confident we will look back on this season as the start of the Pjaca era and what a coup that signing was by Beppe and Co. We lost a significant amount of creativity on the wings with the departure of Juan Cuadrado and I am quite confident that Pjaca is going to fill the void admirably.
I'll give the honorable mention to Pjaca, who I can see forcing his way into the starting XI at some point this season. Pjanic is the most exciting to me, though. As lauded as he is, I still think he's one of the more underrated players in Europe and making the switch to Juventus will help him stake a claim as one of the best midfielders in the world. His passing and vision are world class and he's gonna be creating chances no matter where Allegri puts him in the midfield. I think he'll start as a regista and get moved to trequartista when Marchisio comes back and Allegri decides to start using more formations. Should Paul Pogba had stayed, the idea of a Pjanic-Pogba-Marchisio midfield would have been ironically almost too good to be true. All of this, for €0.2 million LESS than Real Madrid once paid for Asier Illaramendi, all hail Beppe Marotta.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to watch much Juventus during this pre-season. I finally got around to watching my first game on Sunday (live) when the Bianconeri opened West Ham's London Stadium. At that point in time, I was most keen on seeing the young Croatian Marko Pjaca, as he was the signing that I knew the least about. However, by the end of the game, I ended up being most excited by the prospect of seeing Dani Alves bombing down our right flank this season.
As much as I like Stephan Lichtsteiner, especially after his miraculously speedy recovery from heart surgery, the undoubted worst part of his game is his consistently horrendous final ball. With the Brazilian, however, I get the feeling this will not be a problem at all. In addition from his joyful flicks and one-twos, his crossing is a huge improvement over those of the Swiss international. Within minutes, he already put in the cross which led to the opening goal for Paulo Dybala, and was involved in the second goal, sending the Argentine through to make a complete fool of West Ham's Winston Reid. Maybe he won't be as solid defensively, but Allegri has seemingly already worked on a contingency for when Dani gets caught up field, with Mario Lemina regularly dropping back to cover the right back channel when he went forward.