The fallout from their recent Champions League final loss has seen increasing talk of a rebuild for Juventus. Claims that they’ll never match the might of Real Madrid have led to people believing a tearing down of the current guard is in order if the perennial Serie A champions are ever to find success at the highest level.
Those calls are short-sighted, to say the least. Out of all the teams taking part in next year’s competition, attempting to end Real’s run of dominance, Juve are one of the few clubs who aren’t in need of a change in order to compete. Their back five is the strongest unit on the continent, conceding just one goal en route to the final while their attack is one of the more varied around. That’s what made the 4 goal drubbing at the hands of Real in Cardiff even more shocking.
The disappointing defeat has left the club facing tons of speculation regarding their key players, most notably their defenders. Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro and Dani Alves have all been heavily linked with a move away from Turin, as rumours spread over the board’s lack of belief in this current group’s chances of conquering Europe. It’s hard to believe in those whispers, and it’s even harder to fathom why Juve would stand a better chance without that nucleus.
Any club in Europe, even Real themselves, would swap their backline for Juventus’. Offloading them in order to get younger, in the hopes of getting better would see the club fall flat on their face. No defensive group around can match the passing skills of Bonucci combined with the defensive mastering of Giorgio Chiellini and attacking prowess of Alex Sandro. Combine them with a goalkeeper the level of Gianluigi Buffon, and Juve should resist any urge to re-arrange a working formula.
The final in Cardiff is a stain on their resume, that’s without a doubt. But that’s all it is, is a stain. It’s not a contest that defines them or classes their previous success irrelevant.
The heaps of young talent available to Max Allegri is another reason why the transfer committee may be persuaded to part with their most prized assets. Yet, as talented as they are they don’t come with any guarantee of success. Bringing Daniele Rugani and Mattia Caldara into the squad is important, if only for the experience they’ll receive from their elder peers. But playing time can be hard to come by, which is perhaps the biggest reason why Caldara is staying in Atalanta for at least another year.
Rugani has impressed much of the Bianconeri faithful, and the hope is both players will be the future of the club. But neither Bonucci nor Chiellini have reached the stage where they need replacing by younger and fresher legs. Neither young defender can offer the experience Bonucci and Chiellini can, and if Juve are desperate for Champions League success now, then offloading either of them for younger replacements is the wrong move.
The exit of Alves would be understandable, due to his reported desire to ply his trade in another league, perhaps England or France. But that would be the only acceptable exit from a defense that needs no rebuilding or refurbishing. It’s become the most feared and respected group across Europe, and Juve would be wise to appreciate what they’ve built rather than destroy it in search of finding something better.