Just five days ago Lazio’s President, Claudio Lotito, took to the media to announce that Juventus have not made any formal offer for their star winger, Keita Balde. Since then, things have changed.
Today, Beppe Marotta told SkySport that they have now in fact formally submitted an offer to Lazio for the winger. He mentions that now they are playing the waiting game, as Claudio Lotito evaluates the offer.
There is no doubt that Keita is a very talented attacker. He has put up two very impressive seasons in a row, but broke out offensively last year with 16 league goals.
The issue would be where he fits into this Juventus team. Up front, the traditional strikers are Gonzalo Higuain, Mario Mandzukic, and Moise Kean. Behind them as wingers or attacking midfielders are Paulo Dybala (for the purpose of this exercise), Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Marko Pjaca, Juan Cuadrado, and Moise Kean could also fill in here. That list of players does not exactly scream ‘bring in one more guy’. This would likely signal that someone has to go.
As a Juventus fan, we should know by now to never rule out the possibility of a major player leaving, for whatever reason. In recent years, the moves of Bonucci, Vidal, and Pogba were all huge impact players who left almost out of nowhere. The likeliest of departures here, in my opinion, would be for Marko Pjaca to go out on loan. I don’t think he’d be a bad bench piece, but after dealing with injuries last year, it would make sense for him to get some consistent minutes somewhere else if an adequate replacement like Keita is available. Cuadrado moving to a Milan club could also make sense for both parties.
Bringing in Keita would be a huge move and would probably be able to be done at a very discounted price. Unless it means a sale of Dybala or Higuain, he would mark another solid upgrade in a summer that has already seen quite a few.