Look, I know this is late, OK?
But with the crazy compressed calendar this season, we just didn’t have enough time to run your favorite recurring column at BWRAO right at the beginning of the new campaign. The season power rankings are still here, though, albeit slightly belated, sure, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
I can tell you that a lot of things would have been different if this piece had run earlier in the season, but with some nearly half of the 38 league fixtures already in the rearview mirror we can make more educated guesses at who’s going to be the most important players for the suddenly resurgent Bianconeri in the second half.
In case you don’t remember, we are going to rank the Juventus squad into tiers, from least to most important to the success of the club this upcoming season. This is to say, it’s not a straight up ranking of who’s the best player, but who’s the most important to the team.
So, for example, if I were to rank new signee Filip Kostic ahead of Juan Cuadrado, it does not mean that I believe the Serbian winger is a better player than Cuadrado is — though in this case, maybe? — it just means that whether he performs or not is more pivotal to the fate of the season than whether Cuadrado does.
With that out of the way, let’s not waste any more time, here are your belated, mid season Juventus power rankings.
Tribute to the Fallen
Aaron Ramsey – MF
Radu Dragusin – CB
Luca Pellegrini – LB
Federico Bernardeschi – RW
Arthur Melo – MF
Alvaro Morata – ST
Giorgio Chiellini – CB
Matthijs de Ligt – CB
Paulo Dybala – ST
Denis Zakaria - MF
Well, that’s a long list there, huh?
It’s pretty wild to see the level of turnover this team experienced in just one summer. Granted, not every name on that list played a huge role the last time we did these power rankings, but that’s still a double-digit number, with at least five or six guys that accumulated heavy minutes.
(With the benefit of hindsight, maybe some of that turnover had something to do with their slow start this season?)
That being said, I can’t say I have missed the football showcases of most of those guys. Can you say with a straight face that still having any of Arthur, Aaron Ramsey, Radu Dragusin or Federico Bernardeschi on the roster would have meaningfully changed the results of this team so far?
It’s not such a similar case with some other players in that list, though. We don’t need to re-litigate either the Matthijs de Ligt nor the Paulo Dybala transfer dramas, but it's undeniable that they could have helped save a point or two here and there if they were still Juventus players.
Giorgio Chiellini is an MLS champion now and how cool is that? I wish him all the best, as well as to Alvaro Morata, who was maddening like 90% of the time but I will root for him wherever he is being maddening next.
Lastly, don’t forget Denis Zakaria, who played only six months for Juventus and his stint remains an insanely confounding one. Out of everybody on this list, Zakaria and Luca Pellegrini are the only ones who might still have another shot at sticking around, and given how Zak’s loan stint with Chelsea is going, that chance might come sooner than we expect.
Tier 8: Best Job on Earth
Carlo Pinsoglio - GK
Another year, another spot at the start of the rankings for everyone’s favorite third-choice goalkeeper. With any luck, Pinsoglio will remain a cult hero and the harbinger of good vibes in the locker room and not much else. That said, it will always be enjoyable to see him throw the gloves in one of the final games of the season and have the guy make a couple of flashy saves.
Yes, even the third-string keepers at this level are more talented at their craft than you or I will ever be at anything.
Tier 8: What would you say you do here?
Mattia De Sciglio – LB/RB
Daniele Rugani – CB
It’s unconscionable to me that Mattia De Sciglio is still employed by Juventus. He is a below-average player when he can play, which is not that often since he is almost always hurt. As a fan, I despise him. But as a working stiff, I cannot help but admire someone who is literally stealing paychecks from their employer at this point. Keep getting dem checks, Mattia.
Similarly, Daniele Rugani is a living, breathing testament to poor squad building, but at the very least he’s available more often than not which given De Sciglio’s low, low standard is not nothing.
Tier 7: I’ll Take Anything
Marley Ake – LW
Kaio Jorge – ST
Matias Soule – RW
These three guys are just as underplayed as the tier above, but the biggest difference is that they still have a shot at becoming contributors in the future.
Of the three, Soule is the one who’s seen more playing time so far — even if that’s been a few minutes here and there. Kaio Jorge was the more hyped prospect, but injuries haven’t allowed him to do much with Juve’s senior team.
Ake has seen the bench a few times over his career in Turin, but he’s been injured all of this season and Juve made enough of an investment on him that I’m willing to bet that he will be at least given a chance.
It’s unlikely any of the players on this tier make a big impact this season, but if they give you anything this year it’s all gravy.
Tier 6: Washed Brigade
Leo Bonucci - CB
Juan Cuadrado - RW
These are two guys who had amazing Juventus careers. “Had” being the key word here.
Both were supposed to be regular starters this season, and while Cuadrado has been one of the most consistently started players, his form has dipped tremendously from the way he looked even last season.
Bonucci has been either hurt or ineffective for much of the 2022-23 campaign. He’s looked slow and out of rhythm whenever he has found the field and he’s more often than not looked out of his depth when playing against top-tier competition in Europe and Serie A.
Max Allegri seems intent on maintaining Cuadrado as a starter and maybe the World Cup breaks help get him to some better form, but it’s no coincidence that Juve’s best matches have come with Bonucci on the bench and that a lot of the current transfer rumors are about getting a Cuadrado replacement.
Tier 5: Smooth Operator
Wojciech Szczesny – GK
Alex Sandro – LB
Leandro Paredes – MF
Filip Kostic – LW
Arkadiusz Milik – ST
Three newcomers and two veterans form the tier of steady, reliable performers.
Sandro was close to being the third member of the washed brigade, but Max Allegri’s recent shift to a three-man backline has taken advantage of the Brazilian’s skillset and he’s suddenly turned back the clock enough to earn him a national team call-up for the World Cup.
Another guy who is currently in Qatar is Szczesny, who remains a reliable keeper with a penchant for PK saves. He’s not going to make any lists of the best in the world at his position, but he’s extremely dependable and should be commended for doing so.
Paredes has played a lot less than what we thought he would when he signed for Juventus in a loan deal during the summer. It also probably doesn’t speak highly of him that the midfield has found their best version with the Argentinian off the field. Still, when he’s been on the pitch, it’s been pretty much as advertised.
Same goes for Kostic, who has been a rock-solid, dependable winger. His approach of pray-and-spray can be a bit frustrating, but similarly to Sandro, he’s found his form recently with the formation switch.
Milik’s been the most pleasant surprise of the season, in my opinion. His signing was universally considered a letdown, but he’s been one of the most hardworking players on the team and his veteran presence has helped steady an attack that has very much needed it. I’m a Milik fan, which is a thing I did not expect to say when the season started.
Weston McKennie – MF
Angel Di Maria – RW
Moise Kean – ST
Mattia Perin – GK
Federico Gatti – CB
Samuel Iling Jr. - LW
The biggest Wild Card Tier we have had in the long, illustrious run of the power rankings. It’s with good reason, too — all of the players in this tier have been more or less equally impactful so far this season and I could see it going in any number of ways for the second half.
Kean started off as borderline unplayable, but just like many other players in the last month, he’s turned a corner and is suddenly resembling the player we all thought he could be when he broke out a few seasons ago. Will that rebirth continue or will his form dip back to earth when the games resume in January?
We all knew Gatti was raw, so some of his early struggles can be chalked up to that inexperience. While he hasn’t completely ditched his growing pains yet, he’s another guy who’s second half could very easily see him as a starter in that three man backline or as a rotation guy depending on how quickly he adapts to Serie A play.
Di Maria’s had a rollercoaster of a season. He’s still quite capable of being a force on the wings with his dribbling and vision as he showed in Juve’s lone Champions League victory against Maccabi Haifa. But, between injuries and a poorly-timed suspension, he’s failed to meet the expectations that many Bianconeri faithful had in him. There’s also some potential for him to check the hell out in the second half considering he is on a one-year deal and openly longing to return to his boyhood club in Argentina.
Perin is only here because of his superb performances filling in for Szczesny at the beginning of the season. Performances that earned him more playing time than other backup keepers in recent history. Maybe that trend continues or maybe Szczesny settles back in the starting role for good and Perin sees only Coppa Italia minutes the rest of the way.
Amidst transfer rumors, McKennie is another guy whose potential impact on Juve’s second half is very much up in the air. With the rise of some of the other players in the midfield and his lack of development — covered in detail by fellow writer Hunter Sharpless earlier this week — the young American seems to have fallen a bit out of favor. Still, we know that McKennie can bring a lot to the table and with a compressed schedule and perhaps a deep Europa League run he can still be a valuable asset for Juve.
Iling Jr. was a guy that was on nobody’s radar when the season started but his precious few minutes have been a complete electric factory. He was decisive coming on as a sub in a couple of occasions — one of them in Champions League play — and got everyone wildly excited about his potential before getting hurt and not playing another minute. Iling Jr. is the very definition of a Wild Card, but I’m rooting hard for the guy to be a big performer.
Tier 4: Is it Happening?
Adrien Rabiot – MF
Nicolo Fagioli – MF
Fabio Miretti – MF
Nobody had any of the players in this tier pegged as key performers when the season started for a myriad of reasons.
Let’s start with the two youngsters. Both Fagioli and Miretti were hyped prospects that we hoped would start seeing minutes and develop accordingly. What we didn’t expect is that they would both end up becoming quasi-starters and play with the aplomb of seasoned veterans.
They bring balance to a midfield unit that had been in desperate need of players that fit together for a few years now and if this is the way they are performing with less than a full season combined between them, the mind bogles to think of what this pair could achieve with more and more playing time.
We still need to see more to officially declare them “the next big thing” but its hard to imagine their development going a whole lot better than we have seen so far.
If Fagioli and Miretti have been revelations, the way Rabiot has played is nothing short of remarkable. After seasons of underperformance, the French international is finally playing up to the potential we all knew that he had. His skills are finally being used in a midfield that compliments what he does best, instead of amplifying the holes in his game.
Six months of good play do not erase all that’s happened before, but if Rabiot continues his form, the odds of Juventus sustaining their recent form look a lot better.
I’m not a full on 100% believer, but I’m getting there.
Tier 3: It’s Happening
Bremer – CB
Danilo – CB/RB
Manuel Locatelli – MF
Unlike the guys above them, this tier is formed of guys that already had a history of good performances and are just either validating them or taking them to a whole new level during this half a season.
Bremer was named Serie A defender of the year last season, so it’s not a shocker that the Brazilian center back has taken that form and continued to impress as the lynchpin of the Juventus defense. To fill the hole left by de Ligt after he was sold to Bayern Munich was no easy task, but to Bremer’s credit he has made that transition as seamless as possible while being a huge part of the best defense in Italy.
His national team teammate, Danilo, is probably just as important as the central defender in that aforementioned best defense in the league. He was consistently an above average player in his Juve stint but this season, he’s taken it to a whole other level both in performances as a hybrid fullback/center back and as a leader. Jumping the established hierarchy to be named captain over other players with seniority over him. Undoubtedly, this is the best season of Danilo’s career ever since his hot-shot days at Porto.
Lastly, we have Locatelli. He was always going to have to be key for Juventus, but after being relatively misplayed for large stretches of last season, the recent months seem to have finally unlocked the player that Bianconeri faithful were dying to see. He is incredibly important to Juve’s aspirations this season and wether he can remain performing at his current level is going to be huge for a suddenly resorting Juventus.
Tier 2: Game Changers
Paul Pogba – MF
Dusan Vlahovic – ST
This tier might be the most interesting one of them all. Both of these guys have the potential, skill and talent to singlehandedly turn a season around. The question is if they can actually do it.
We already know the carnival of misery that Pogba’s return to Italy has been so far. He’s played zero official minutes — which tells you all you need to know about how unlucky the second #Pogback has gone. Thanks to his mismanaged injury issues, Pogba is in line to get his first minutes in the second half of the season, and if he can come back and play to his usual standard this Juventus team is suddenly a lot scarier going forward. He is a game changing player, his return could change this quad for the better.
Vlahovic, for his lofty standards, had a relatively disappointing first half. And that’s key, because at surface level he has decent numbers, but we all know that he can be such a bigger part of the offense and the team that is hard not to expect more of him. Juve’s torrid finish heading into the World Cup break came almost exclusively with Vlahovic sidelined due to injury, but if this same team can add healthy and in form guys like Pogba and Vlahovic, the sky is the limit.
Tier 1: Best of the Best
Federico Chiesa – RW
This man has the potential to become the best player in the league and one of the best in the world. Very few players can say that, but Federico Chiesa is decidedly one of them.
Last year was supposed to be Chiesa’s coming out party, but a brutally timed ACL tear stopped his meteorical ascent to the elite of Europe. We started to see glimpses of the old Chiesa in the last few games before the break, with the young Italian already tallying an assist in limited minutes.
Getting a guy like Chiesa back in form in the second half is going to be the biggest factor in Juventus making any sort of challenge at some silverware this season. He leads the power rankings just because of that fact.