When Denis Zakaria arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach this past January, it was viewed as a step in the right direction for a Juventus side that has seen its midfield struggle all season long. It wasn’t the total solution, but it was viewed as a positive step to hopefully get Juve’s midfield looking toward something that wasn’t what it had been like for the previous couple of years.
Eight months later, Zakaria is already on his way to a new club.
It has been announced early Friday morning (and technically after the transfer deadline passed), right before the summer transfer window officially closed, that Zakaria has joined Chelsea on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy next summer. Just like the Deadline Day for fellow midfielder Arthur and Liverpool earlier in the day, Chelsea, which has reportedly paid €4.5 million for the initial loan, will have an option to buy Zakaria’s contract outright and make the loan move permanent for a reported fee of €30 million.
Zakaria, who underwent his medicals at J Medical before heading to London, signed for an initial transfer fee of €4.1 million from Gladbach in January.
Swiss international Denis Zakaria has joined us on loan from Juventus for the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign! #ZakariaIsChelsea— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 2, 2022
At this point, it looks as though Zakaria’s exit was more a numbers game more than anything else. Juventus had to cut down on players in the midfield even with Arthur’s expected departure. And with Max Allegri choosing to keep two of the big three young midfielders on the roster in Fabio Miretti and Nicolo Fagioli, Zakaria was likely the player who gave Juventus the chance to get something done quickly as the final days of the transfer deadline approached.
Zakaria’s short time at Juventus was marked more than unfulfilled potential for him in the lineup and the fact that in said lineup he rarely got to play where he is best utilized. He got hurt almost immediately after making his debut, and Allegri’s insistence on playing Zakaria off the right shoulder of Manuel Locatelli rather than putting the long-legged Swiss international in front of the defense to try and destroy opponents’ attacks was maybe what his time with Juventus will be remembered most about.
We didn’t really know what to expect this season for the simple fact of how last season ended for Zakaria. But as the summer transfer window went on, the possibility of him leaving became more and more of a possibility, especially after Adrien Rabiot’s potential move to Manchester United fell apart last month. He had also been linked with a move to Roma as well as a potential return to the Bundesliga over the last couple of weeks.
And on the final day of the summer transfer window, that move away from Juventus materialized. Zakaria will call the Premier League home for the next season at least, with Juve potentially cashing in come next summer.