Juventus’ attacking group is going to look a lot different to begin the 2022-23 season than it did to end the 2021-22 campaign. Whether it is because there has not been a contract renewed or a buy option after a loan spell that has not be exercised, players are leaving and there’s going to be a vastly different look to Juve’s attack outside of Dusan Vlahovic.
So ... who?
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport on Saturday, Juventus might be looking to Bergamo to find one of those replacements and take advantage of Atalanta’s lack of European football coming next season. The newest name to add to the list of potential attacking targets is Luis Muriel, who is out of contract with La Dea in 2023 and is reportedly eager for a new challenge after spending the last three seasons with Atalanta. La Gazzetta points to versatility and ability to play both out wide and as more of a center forward as a reason to why he is an attractive option for Juventus this summer.
There has been no reporting in terms of how much Muriel might cost Juventus this summer.
At 31, Muriel won’t be the potential long-term option that some of the other names that have been linked with Juventus over the last couple of weeks or months may be. A lot in the same fashion as Juve’s reported desire to sign Ángel Di Maria on a free transfer, this is more short term than it is hoping to have somebody grow into a key figure alongside Vlahovic for three, four or five years down the road.
Muriel, who’s already had a spicy relationship with Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini, finished with nine goals and eight assists in 27 Serie A appearances (17 starts) this season. In all competitions, that number goes up to 14 goals in 39 appearances.
So, on paper, it’s not all that bad.
But again, is signing a 31-year-old short-term option really what this team needs? Maybe as a backup player, but if Juve are thinking that Muriel — who was an explosive option off the bench during his early days with Atalanta — is anything beyond that, I’m not sure what to think. This is a squad that needs to get younger and build something for the long term, not just for 2022 and 2023.