We don’t know who, exactly, will be joining Juventus this summer now that there has been a managerial change. But, if there’s any consistent message to come out of the Italian press over the last few days since Andrea Pirlo took over is that there is a certain group of players who seem set on not wearing a Juventus jersey when the 2020-21 season kicks off next month.
One of those potential departures, Blaise Matuidi, has already left and signed with Major League Soccer in the United States. On that same day, we’ve gotten word that another two of Juve’s potential departures are working on agreements to leave before their respective contracts expire next summer.
According to Goal Italia’s Romeo Agresti, midfielder Sami Khedira and striker Gonzalo Higuain are very much looking like the next pair of players who are looking to end their stay in Turin a little earlier than what their contracts says. Khedira and Higuain, two of Juventus’ highest earners who are both on the wrong end of 30 years old, both have a year remaining on their respective contracts and would likely leave for very little (if anything at all) other than saving the money on their 2020-21 salaries.
Higuain reportedly earns €7.5 million net person season. Khedira’s at €6 million net.
Now, I think we can all agree that when looking at Juventus’ roster and players who have definitely seen their role diminish over the last couple of years, that most certainly is Khedira. Higuain’s contributions this past season were more of a surprise more than anything else. But Khedira spent another season where he missed massive amounts of time due to injury, making that big salary of his even more of a lost cause.
Khedira wasn’t going to be a player worthy of the starting lineup even if he did come back healthy before the 2019-20 came to a close. And with the arrival of Arthur to go along with Rodrigo Bentancur and the suddenly resurgent Adrien Rabiot, Juve’s midfield rightfully needs to continue to go on a youthful kind of trend rather than depending on the likes of Khedira.
Higuain’s uncertainty at the club — at least, what has happened this season —dates back to April and May when there started being talk of his reluctance to return to Juventus for training ahead of the restart after he flew home to Argentina. It was a two-fold issue: for one, his mother is ill; and second, as we remember all too well, Italy was the world’s coronavirus hot spot at the time, and there were obvious worries about his health. Since then, rumors that Higuain would return to Argentina to finish his career have been around, and the likelihood that he would see out the final year of his contract with Juventus looked less and less likely.
So now as Juventus clearly works to cut some of its most expensive (and older) players loose to both dump some salary and revamp some areas of the roster, the goal is the same as the past few summers: get rid of the players who don’t have much of a future in Turin.
That’s proven to be difficult at times. Hopefully this short summer transfer window doesn’t end up being one of those times.