Gonzalo Higuain’s future in Turin doesn’t look like it’s going to last all that much beyond the end of the 2019-20 season. He will be 33 years old come mid-December, he will be on the final year of a contract that still sees him earning one of the biggest salaries at Juventus. It’s those kinds of things that don’t exactly add up to somebody sticking around a whole heck of a lot longer.
So, how might Juventus fill said vacancy on the roster?
According to Corriere dello Sport, Juventus’ solution could be over in Bergamo.
Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata is the name that is now being thrown out there as the player that Juventus Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici has zeroed in on as the main transfer target up front in attack. It’s not Arkadiusz Milik or any of the other handful of strikers that have been linked with Juve over the last few weeks or months. As Corriere dello Sport says, the 29-year-old Zapata is the man that Paratici views as the No. 1 summer (or fall?) target.
The price to bring Zapata, one of Serie A’s best strikers the last couple of seasons, won’t be cheap as the report states: €30 million plus Mattia Perin, who has spent the second half of the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Genoa.
Zapata, who has been one of the leading forces of Atalanta’s rise to prominence the last two years, is once again amongst the top scorers in Serie A this season. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 17, including one against Juventus in Atalanta’s trip to Allianz Stadium last week.
But, if the striker rumors are any indication of what kind of forward Paratici could end up pursuing during the next transfer window (whenever the hell it begins), being linked with Zapata is a pretty good indication.
The Italian press is seemingly convinced at this point that a more natural No. 9 is on Juventus’ shopping list. Whether it’s Zapata, Milik or somebody like Raul Jimenez (hi, Sergio!) that ends up arriving in Turin in the next couple of months, it will be the kind of signing that will be viewed as something to help out both Maurizio Sarri and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The twist in all of this is that Zapata has been part of a club that was once managed by Sarri already during his career during their days at Napoli. Although, technically, Zapata wasn’t with Napoli for very long during Sarri’s days at the San Paolo. That wasn’t exactly the best time of Zapata’s career, as Higuain was taking Serie A by storm and the then-young Colombian was sent on a pair of loan deal to Udinese and Sampdoria because he wasn’t able to get much playing time in Naples.
While we don’t know for sure if Zapata truly is Juve’s No. 1 option at the striker position, this is very much the case: Juventus can do a lot worse than Zapata, and we already know he’s pretty dang good when it comes to playing attack-minded football.