There are a lot of things that are uncertain about Juventus’ upcoming summer transfer activity. A lot of it, surely, will depend on what level of European football they’re playing in come the start of the 2021-22 season. Those dominoes will fall once the current season ends, and there will be some tough decisions to make no matter what will happen as a result of where Juve finishes in the standings.
That involves players being sold, but it also involves some of Juve’s longest-tenured players deciding if they do want to continue their professional careers.
One of those names, club captain Giorgio Chiellini, is very much not a lock to continue past this season. With his contract expiring in a few months and his injury history the last couple of years, Chiellini’s role this season has been, at best, a part-time player who has been more about his locker room presence than his on-field impact. Because of that possibility, Tuttosport is reporting Wednesday morning in very large type on its front page that Juventus is already planning for the future in the event that Chiellini retires. And it involves Matthijs de Ligt being named Juve’s new captain, a sign that a new era is being planned by club management.
Before you get all up in arms, this is more Tuttosport speculation rather than something that is being thrown out there as fact. But you can’t help but think if Juventus want to truly kick off a new project — whether it’s with Andrea Pirlo as manager or not — then major changes will be happening. And if Chiellini does retire, then there’s a massive decision to be made about filling the shoes of another massive leader that has been at Juventus for nearly two decades.
Now, I don’t think anybody — or at least very few people — would object to de Ligt getting the captain’s armband at some point. He is the future cornerstone of the defense, he’s already shown to be quite the leader despite his young age during his last couple of years at Ajax and, when you look at the roster, some of the other names who are currently ahead of him in the captain’s armband pecking order are far from certainties to still be around come the start of next season.
The problem is, those names are still here, and some of them will still be on Juventus’ roster when the summer transfer window is over. Barring anything major, Leonardo Bonucci — the man who has filled in for Chiellini as captain the last two seasons as the latter has dealt with his variety of injuries — will still be employed by Juventus. Others on the vice captain pecking order could very well stay since we don’t know for sure just how reworked Juve’s roster will be come the summertime.
No matter if it’s de Ligt or somebody else, Juventus has a big decision to make if Chiellini does end up retiring after the season. On top of the other big decisions they have to make. Oh, what a busy and crazy summer it looks like it will be.