Just a few short months ago, Manuel Locatelli walked through the doors at J Medical and was looked at as one of the biggest midfield improvements to be signed in the last four or five years, addressing a major need at Juventus that had gone years without major improvement.
On the final day of the January transfer window, Locatelli’s new running buddy walked through those same doors.
Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria arrived for his medical exams at J Medical Monday morning ahead of his move to Juventus. Zakaria, 25, is expected to sign a contract through 2026 after Juventus pays Gladbach a reported €5 million plus add-ons to bring the Swiss midfielder to Turin. Along with the signing of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina late last week, Zakaria is the other half of a January transfer window in which Juventus has done some serious business and addressed two of its biggest needs just when it looked like they weren’t going to do much of anything or didn’t have many funds to do so.
Gotta love the dude with the Siwss flag waiting to meet Juve’s newest Swiss workhorse. He will likely be the first one to order a Zakaria jersey whenever it comes out, right? And for all we know, he had a Stephan Lichtsteiner jersey under his jacket. That’s just how the Swiss do things, my friends.
When it comes to Zakaria, Juventus’ midfield is about to have the kind of player it hasn’t had in a good number of years. He is the definition of a defensive midfielder, and he will hopefully allow Locatelli to have a little bit more of an advanced role in the midfield and play a little closer to goal as compared to the first parts of his Juventus career.
But to see Zakaria to arrive on the final day of the transfer window and for as little amount of money as he is — seriously, how did another Bundesliga club not take advantage of a chance like this? — is quite the signing for a Juventus team that was in desperate need of some improvement in the midfield. Zakaria fits a need, he will compliment the other players that are currently on the roster and he will make those around him better because of his attributes and ability.
That’s all you want from a player of his ilk — and to get him for €5 million (and maybe a little more) is pretty dang impressive for a Juve front office that is closing this January window with a bang.