It looks as though we won’t see a repeat of Atalanta flipping a central defender previously owned by Juventus for a big-time profit.
According to multiple reports out of Italy over the last 36 hours or so from the likes of Gianluca Di Marzio, Romeo Agresti and Fabrizio Romano, Atalanta are set to let Merih Demiral’s loan spell expire and will see the 24-year-old Turkish international defender return to Juventus this summer. But if you’re thinking that Juve’s sudden need for a central defender is suddenly solved and they won’t even have to pay for a quality player to fill a void, think again. That’s because, as Agresti said on Twitter, Juventus will be looking to move Demiral rather than keep him around and “are working to find a new club” for the player they initially purchased from Sassuolo three years ago, the same summer as Cristian Romero and Matthijs de Ligt.
Atalanta’s buy option was €20 million, according to reports.
Now, the question is a pretty simple one: If Demiral is not going to be staying at Juventus like most people are reporting, where could he actually go this summer?
As of right now, there’s been a few options thrown out there. Based on the fact that there could be some big names could be on the move this summer, Inter Milan has been thrown out as a possible destination, although who knows if Juve has any interest in selling to a direct rival that is also about to sign their former No. 10 on a free. What might be the more logical and possible option would be Juventus looking to have Demiral follow in Romero’s footsteps and head to the Premier League this summer, with the likes of Tottenham (duh!), Manchester United and Newcastle United all reportedly potential landing spots.
What seems like the least likely thing we will see happen is Demiral wearing bianconero — at least that of Juventus, I will add — come the beginning of September.
And there’s one big reason why that seems all but certain (besides Agresti’s report, of course): Demiral wants to play and play regularly, and that is probably not going to happen at Juventus despite the fact that one of Juventus’ two projected starters is a 35-year-old Leonardo Bonucci who is coming off a 2021-22 season in which he started just over half of Juve’s Serie A fixtures.
What could Juventus get for Demiral on the current market? Well, that’s also a big question. Tuttosport seems to think that Newcastle is willing to offer over €30 million for Demiral, who appeared in 42 games last season in all competitions. (By the way, Tuttosport then says Juve will turn around and use that money to buy Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer.) Maybe seeing an English club splash that kind of money is possible because €30 million doesn’t seem like all that much for many of the sides that call the Premier League home.
No matter what, though, seeing Merih Demiral as a Juventus player beyond this summer transfer window just doesn’t seem possible. But at least Juve’s going to get some money back for him, and likely more than they would have gotten if Atalanta had taken up their buy option before the end of the month of June.