One of the concerns that started to gain steam as Juventus’ summer transfer market went on was that the depth at fullback, once a relative strength of the club a few years, is nowhere close to where it should be.
And what do you know?
As we get ready to enter the final weekend fixture in the month of September, Juventus currently has this many fullbacks available to face SPAL on Saturday:
In case you’re wondering, that’s not a typo. There is supposed to be nothing after that colon in the sentence above. That’s because Juventus, a team that has been talked about a team with too many players on its roster, currently has no available natural fullbacks for this weekend’s game against SPAL. Both Mattia De Sciglio and summer signee Danilo are injured and expected to be out until after the October international break. And, as the Italian press reported on Thursday morning, Alex Sandro — the only healthy fullback remaining on Juve’s roster right now — has flown back to Brazil following a death in the family.
With Luca Pellegrini on loan at Cagliari, the only option at fullback that’s actually available to Maurizio Sarri for this weekend’s fixture isn’t a fullback. That would be Juan Cuadrado, who has been a makeshift right back as recently as in Tuesday night’s win over Brescia following Danilo’s first-half injury.
Other than, if Juventus want to have somebody capable of playing fullback for SPAL’s visit to Allianz Stadium this weekend, Sarri will have to tap his resources with the club’s under-23 team or the primavera side.
Sooooooo ... what the heck, man?
It’s not like, with the lack of depth at either fullback position that this could have been predicted as a possibility. The Sandro news aside, relying on a player like Danilo who hasn’t played much regular football over the past 12 months or De Sciglio and his injury past at both Juventus and Milan, Fabio Paratici was playing with fire when it came to having just three natural fullbacks on his roster. Cuadrado is capable of filling in when need be, sure, but I don’t think anybody wants to have him be there for more than a couple of games at a time.
Basically, Sarri is going to have to get creative when it comes to filling out the defensive part of his starting lineup for at least one game. (Going to a three-man defense with Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi as wingbacks seems like a logical step, doesn’t it?)
What that looks like come Saturday afternoon just got a little more interesting.