A decade ago, Juventus signed a midfielder in his mid-20s that was close to being out of contract from a team in the Bundesliga for a relatively low transfer fee that ended up being quite the game-changing kind of move.
Juve’s hoping they strike gold once again.
Juventus announced on the final day of the January transfer window that they have signed Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria for €4.5 million plus another €4.1 million in add-ons to bolster the club’s much-maligned midfield. The 25-year-old Zakaria, a clear-cut defensive midfielder if there ever was one, has put pen to paper on a contract through the 2025-26 season with Juventus, as he comes to Turin following a successful run with Gladbach that started back in 2017.
Along with Dusan Vlahovic, Zakaria is the other half of the big pair of signings Juventus’ front office has made in the last week of January.
Here are the official details of the deal, courtesy of Juventus’ website:
Turin, 31 January 2022 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement with Borussia VfL 1900 Mönchengladbach GmbH for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Denis Lemi Zakaria Lako Lado has been reached for a consideration of € 4.5 million payable in 3 financial years, in addition to the solidarity contribution provided for by FIFA regulations and additional costs for a total amount of € 4.1 million.
Juventus and the player have signed a contract of employment until 30 June 2026.
Seriously, when you have the chance to sign a talented midfielder in their mid-20s for that kind of money, you have to take it. And Juventus has definitely done just that, getting one of the better bargains on the transfer market this month in the final days of the January transfer window being open.
Zakaria, who was also with the Switzerland national team at last summer’s Euros, battled injuries in recent years but is most definitely the kind of player that Juventus has desperately needed. With his ability to truly play in front of the defense or as the more defensive option in a double pivot, he will hopefully develop into the quality compliment to Manuel Locatelli that the young Italian will truly appreciate.
With Zakaria now on the roster, Max Allegri has some options when it comes to both who he will play in the midfield besides Locatelli as well as what direction he wants to go with his formation and tactics. Zakaria’s arrival looks like it will allow Locatelli to play a more advanced role where he’s not sitting in front of the defense as much as he’s had to do during the start of his Juve career. Zakaria, who stands 6-foot-3, will be able to cover a ton of ground and give midfield more defensive stability — something that Allegri always desires.
Or, we can just go with what our blog friends SBN’s Borussia Dortmund site, Fear the Wall, used to describe Zakaria: “He is a tank physically but he also has the positioning sense to know exactly where to be.”
That sounds exactly like the kind of midfielder Juventus needs. And they just signed him for what feels like peanuts as compared to what his true value to this squad could end up being. It might not be for a big transfer fee like Vlahovic, but it definitely is an important addition to a squad that needed a player like him so dang bad.