While waiting for Saturday’s game against Barcelona was approaching, I couldn’t kick this thought: As much as I want to see some of the younger players that are part of the traveling squad during this latest United States tour, Douglas Costa is pretty much right at the top of the list. Let’s face it — we know Paulo Dybala, we know Gonzalo Higuain, we know Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and everybody else.
Douglas Costa is Juve’s shiny new toy.
Douglas Costa is Juve’s new No. 11.
So now, as we await another talented winger to join the squad next week, we’re getting to see the first incredibly talented player signed this summer don the Juventus colors for the first time during this preseason tour stateside.
He has a lightning bolt cut into the back-left side of his hair. He has the attributes that we haven’t seen from a Juventus player in a good amount of time. He’s a winger that will certainly add to the squad. But how much?
We decided to reach out to somebody who’s been watching him the last couple of seasons at Bayern Munich, Ryan Cowper of Bavarian Football Works, where they had watched Costa arrive for big money from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2015.
So now, as these question and answer sessions go, we shall wait no further and get right to the heart of the matter...
BWRAO: Ryan, my friend, thank you very much for joining us for another round of questions. First up, here’s a pretty simple one: How would you describe Douglas Costa's overall impact at Bayern Munich?
BFW: Douglas Costa was overwhelmingly positive at Bayern Munich. His first season under Pep Guardiola he was electric and the natural heir to Franck Ribery. At times he was better than the ailing Frenchmen. The only reason he’s leaving Bayern Munich is because Carlo Ancelotti seems to be incapable of understanding the concept of rotation.
BWRAO: Obviously there were huge expectations for him based on his transfer fee. Did he come close to living up to those at all?
BFW: Honestly, the fee was far outsized of the impact many Bayern Munich fans expected Costa to make. The original impression of him was as a depth signing who long term would supplant Ribery. Costa came in and immediately blew the competition away and was Pep Guardiola’s go-to attacking threat. First season Costa performed way beyond expectation. Under Carlo Ancelotti, Douglas Costa was a perennial afterthought and I don’t blame him for moving.
BWRAO: Having watched Douglas Costa as much as you have over the last couple of seasons, what would you say are some of his greatest assets?
BFW: Costa is equally adept at playing on either wing, and his play through the center isn’t half bad either. He’s a threat on goal from close and long range and is totally comfortable playing either as the direct threat or the support cast. He’s not the most creative player, but his two step are electric and the space he creates makes him very dangerous around the box. He’s also not a slouch on defense and isn’t afraid to get physical if necessary.
BWRAO: How do you think Costa will do at Juventus?
BFW: Before the departure of Leonardo Bonucci, I would have said that if Max Allegri gives Douglas Costa the time and role to shine, there’s no reason to think that Juventus wouldn’t win the Champions League. Mario Mandzukic’s off ball movement in conjunction with the way Franck Ribery opened space in defensive midfield was one of the key’s to Bayern’s dominance in 2012-13. There’s no reason to think that the same would not be true with Costa and Mandzukic at Juventus.
With Bonucci gone, I’ll settle for saying in the hands of a tactician as good as Max Allegri Douglas Costa is a truly potent weapon.