Many Juventus fans are confident that their team will eventually end their 23-year Champions League thirst with Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid last summer, but it’s not as simple as that.
It is true that Ronaldo still shows the superstar quality of the new team (like a hat-trick to help Juventus Atletico in the round of 1/8th Champions League) but the problems in midfield, especially defense, have made Juve can go further than the quarterfinals.
Juve’s defense has deteriorated
Maurizio Sarri is now Juventus coach and not Max Allegri on the training bench. What does this change say? It is Juve that will need to recruit a perfect center-back, one who is able to build a play to meet Sarri’s attacking philosophy. And based on the latest developments in the transfer market, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt will be the signature for the current and future of Juventus.
Barca seem to have withdrawn from the race to win De Ligt so Juve hopes that they can overcome PSG to own the 19-year-old midfielder. Ajax captain will be the ideal inheritance for the current Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini, so the 70 million euros for De Ligt is not a barrier to the Serie A champions.
Italian veteran coach Fabio Capello has recently confirmed that Juve will win the Scudetto next season if he recruited De Ligt. “If Juve can buy De Ligt, the race to win the Serie A will end. De Ligt is the best current defender. De Ligt will help Juve defend with only 2 defenders to free the two full-backs, as he did at Ajax. There is De Ligt, Juve will be like winning the jackpot”, Capello said on Corriere dello Sport.
Despite being highly regarded in defense, the truth is that Juve’s defense has gradually deteriorated since the Champions League final against Real in Cardiff in 2017. With the retirement of Andrea Barzagli, the famous trio of defense At one time, BBC of Juve will only have Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, but the duo is increasingly being burdened with age. Obviously Juve could not aim to the future with the official duo midfielder both over 30 years old (Chiellini 34, Bonucci 32).
A season in Milan did not help Bonucci, on the contrary, the Italian midfielder became unstable and made many mistakes in fixed situations since his return to Juve. Chiellini is still one of the best midfielders in the world but he is about 35 years old, the age at which a defender’s body begins to struggle with the extreme demands of top football.
De Ligt will raise the level of Juve
But if Juve can buy De Ligt, Dutch midfielder and Chiellini will be a perfect couple. Between them there are many things in common about physical strength, intelligent defense. The De Ligt-Chiellini pair can only exist for no more than 2 seasons but with Juve it is more than enough if they can win the Champions League silver cup. After that, Chiellini can retire or leave, and De Ligt will be the next leader in the Juve defense after learning the defensive experience from the master Chiellini.
In the past two seasons, Juve players are always vulnerable when they are away from Chiellini because Bonucci does not show his leadership when there is no Chiellini beside him, making Daniele Rugani also negatively affected. De Ligt, although still very young, showed his maturity and leadership qualities, as evidenced by the Ajax armband that the Dutch player holds.
The 19-year-old De Ligt already possesses the highest level of ability to block the ball, while his massive body and strength make him unbeatable and is a threat to the opponent’s defense. It was De Ligt who headed against Szczesny in Turin from a corner to help Ajax Juve in the Champions League quarter-final last season.
That’s why Juve should be safe because De Ligt, a comprehensive midfielder of modern football, like Virgil van Dijk, who has lifted Liverpool after a £75m transfer from Southampton. Liverpool have won Europe mainly because of the upgrade called Van Dijk, and Juve can hope for it if they buy De Ligt.