Just a few months ago, Juventus had too many midfielders, with a glutton so plentiful that trying to find playing time for all of them was an impossible task for first-year manager Maurizio Sarri. It wasn’t due to his reputation as somebody who didn’t rotate his squad all that much; it was more due to the fact that there were so many midfielders, there simply wasn’t going to be enough minutes to leave everybody satisfied.
As we sit here in the middle of December, that situation has changed — a lot. And it is none more evident than going into Sunday’s game against Udinese, where two midfielders (Aaron Ramsey and Sami Khedira) are certain to miss out due to injury, while another, Miralem Pjanic, is out due to suspension.
The good news in all of this? Another one of the injury midfield contingent might not be considered injured for all that much longer.
According to reports from both La Gazzetta dello Sport and Tuttosport on Friday morning, Rodrigo Bentancur is close to fully recovering from the minor knee injury that saw him miss Juventus’ win over Bayer Leverkusen midweek and be good to go for Udinese’s trip to Turin this weekend. Bentancur, who had to be subbed out late in the first half of last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Lazio due to what was diagnosed as a strained knee ligament, is expected to step in for the suspended Pjanic if he is in fact 100 percent good to go.
That is, of course, if he is truly healthy.
If he is not, then Juventus will be with just three senior squad midfielders: Blaise Matuidi, Emre Can and Adrien Rabiot.
If you’re counting, that would be more midfielders unavailable (4) than those who are able to play for the battle of the bianconeri in Turin this weekend.
The biggest thing when it comes to Bentancur is that he’s even in position to come back all of a week after suffering an injury that had Sarri talking about — or maybe bracing himself — the possibility of serious damage to the young Uruguayan’s knee ligament(s). Before Juventus posted the medical update about Bentancur, all we had were the quotes from Sarri about there being some kind of damage to the midfielder’s knee. But, as we’ve come to know, those fears were pretty much put to bed entirely when Bentancur’s diagnosis was a simple strain and one that would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
And it seems like, after all of about five days of evaluation and rehabilitation, Bentancur — who has become incredibly important to Sarri’s squad over the last two months or so — could be ready to hit the training ground in full stride again. It will be nice to have him back even though he wasn’t out all that long — especially since the number of other midfielders available can be counted on one hand.