As with any major that comes down, the next logical step is to think about which direction a club will go to fill the hole. After Juventus and Paulo Dybala agreed to go their separate ways and Monday turned into the decisive — and last — day of contract talks, the Italian press showed no delay in pivoting to the future.
They asked the very legitimate question (although one we won’t know for sure for a couple of months): What’s next for Juventus when the transfer window arrives this summer?
According to Sky Sport Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo and Sassuolo’s Giacomo Raspadori have emerged as the two leading candidates when it comes to Juventus’ next move to fill Dybala’s shoes. Both outlets — as well as others like SportMediaset — have reported essentially the same type of thing when it comes to who Juve prefers, with Zaniolo the top target but with the caveat that what Roma’s demands could end up being the determining factor in all of this, thus causing the Bianconeri’s front office to potentially look to swinging another deal with Sassuolo.
Italian journalist Nico Schira reported Monday that Juventus has already met with Zaniolo’s agent twice in the last two months, with the most recent one being this past Friday.
This isn’t the first time that Zaniolo has been linked with a move to Juventus in recent weeks, and the very fact that Dybala is now on his way out will only continue that trend. In fact, it will almost certainly intensify from here on out — both because of Dybala’s impending departure and Zaniolo also being in the midst of his own contract dispute with Roma. (Although, no matter how much Zaniolo might be tempted by a new club because of his contract demands there’s a pretty good sense that Roma have no intention of selling the 22-year-old Italian.)
Raspadori, meanwhile, has been reported transfer target of Inter Milan’s for the last few months as they look to potentially at least one of Sassuolo’s talented front line. After his breakout season a year ago, the 22-year-old Raspadori has scored nine goals and added three assists in 28 Serie A appearances (24 starts) this season. With how much Roma are likely to demand for Zaniolo, it is likely that Raspadori ends up being the more affordable option for Juventus this coming summer.
Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali has this to say Monday about potentially negotiating with Juventus when it came to Raspadori:
“We’ve already done the Locatelli deal with Juventus, if there was a chance to do more we’d be happy. In January an English club asked for him repeatedly, he’s a fundamental player for us.”
(Source: Football Italia)
Knowing the kind of solid business relationship that Juventus do have with Sassuolo, that kind of response shouldn’t be much of a surprise. (Yes, even after all of those Locatelli meeting last summer.) So maybe more meetings between the two sides are in store. Couldn’t blame them if it happens, right?