We came into this summer mercato with the feeling that Juventus would likely have to sell one of its big-name players because the financial landscape at the club is basically dictating such a transfer. That is just the case when you’re looking at a season that Juve just had — yes, with a 10-point penalty (rightfully or wrongly) included — and you’ve got no Champions League football on the schedule in a few months.
So, what could be the plan if that big-name sale is, say, Dusan Vlahovic?
Even with Juventus’ new head of the sporting area Cristiano Giuntoli is just taking over things (and hasn’t technically been announced yet), there is very much a plan in place in the event that Vlahovic does leave, says Italian journalist Nicolo Schira. That obviously involves somebody who could try and fill the goal-scoring void, with two names very much at the top of Juventus’ list — Atalanta youngster and reported Manchester United target Rasmus Højlund and Canadian striker Jonathan David, who was teammates with new Juve signing Timothy Weah at Lille the last couple of years.
Schira points out that Juve would entertain a Vlahovic sale with the potential transfer fee hits somewhere between €70 million and €80 million, with the most recent club linked to the big Serbian striker being Chelsea.
Dovesse partire Dusan #Vlahovic (per ora solo sondaggi, valutazione é €70-80M) la #Juventus andrebbe alla ricerca di una prima punta forte ad attaccare la profondità: a #Giuntoli piacciono #Hojlund (Atalanta) e #David (Lille). In seconda fila #Wahi, #Beto e #Dia. #calciomercato— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) July 2, 2023
Obviously, all of this depends on Vlahovic and his desire to either try and endure another season under Max Allegri or request a transfer and try and shake off a tough 2022-23 season at a new club in a new league (because nobody else in Italy is going to be able to afford him). While not-so-reliable outlets have linked Chelsea with a move for Vlahovic, he has also been linked to Bayern Munich, although that has seemingly cooled down over the last couple of weeks.
But when it comes to who Juve could get to replace the 23-year-old Vlahovic, it’s likely that Højlund would be the more expensive player to try and sign. And if it comes to a potential bidding war with somebody like United or anybody else in the Premier League who might want the young Dane, a club in the current financial status like Juve’s in probably doesn’t have the muscle to sign somebody who has been rumored to cost upward of €60 million.
Does that mean David is more likely? He won’t be cheap, of course, but he’s also been somebody who was linked to Napoli a handful of times as a potential Victor Osimhen while Giuntoli was still employed by the reigning Italian champions. And you have to believe that, even with Juve’s limited transfer budget, that if there is still interest on Giuntoli’s end and a sudden need to replace Vlahovic because he’s going to be sold this summer, then David would be in the mix to try and sign as the new No. 9 at Juventus.
But, at this point, it’s hard to say just how much of a transfer budget Giuntoli will have to work with even if a big-name player or two is sold this summer simply because Juve’s finances without the Champions League (and likely Europe as a whole) is going to take a massive hit these next few months. That’s just the reality — and it’s one that probably means at least one of Juve’s best players won’t be wearing a Juve jersey next season.