Juventus have been proactive this summer transfer window with transfer guru Beppe Marotta wheeling and dealing through negotiations in order to strengthen his side as the new season looms ahead. With the signings of Kwadwo Asamoah, Mauricio Isla, Nicola Leali and Lucio, Juventus are already ahead of the pack in their quest for the second consecutive Scudetto.
But one area that does need desperate reinforcing is that of a top-class striker. Indeed, Juventus have a team devoid of a goal-getter, a hit-man that can notch 20-25 goals a season and win you games on their own; the kind of striker who can produce something out of nothing in the hope of breaching even the most water-tight of defenses.
While Juventus struggled to break down teams that were content with sitting back and soaking up the pressure, Milan would make light-work of the very same sides. The difference? Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In Ibra, Milan had a world-class striker, capable of producing the magic when his side needed him to do so. Ibrahimovic was a true destroyer of the provincial teams and with 28 goals in Serie A, was the driving force behind their Scudetto charge.
For Juventus, it was Alessandro Matri with 10 goals to his name who was their top-scorer. The former Cagliari attacker started off the season well but over the course of time, due to a dip in form, he found himself playing second fiddle to Marco Borriello who arrived in the winter transfer window on loan. Borriello, too, failed to provide that cutting edge in attack and hit the back of the net just twice in ten appearances for Juventus; hardly inspiring form for a team that were fighting for titles on two fronts.
But with Juventus now in the crème de la crème of European Football – the Champions League, it will only get even more difficult for Antonio Conte’s men. The fact that a top-class striker is mandatory has been recognized by Beppe Marotta and rumors emanating from Italy suggest the former Sampdoria transfer guru has already made inquiries regarding the availability of Europe’s finest. With other areas of the pitch already bolstered, there is a general air of anticipation that suggests Juventus will go all out in their pursue for that elusive bomber.
But the question still remains over Marotta’s ability to reel in a big fish while having to face competition from wealthy competitors. Robin Van Persie, Edinson Cavani and Stevan Jovetic have all been linked with a move to Juventus and the acquisition of any of the aforementioned players would be an improvement over the current crop of strikers playing their trade for Juventus.
Top Three Juventus Targets
Robin van Persie
Van Persie has long been on the radar of Giuspeppe Marotta and with the Arsenal captain recently stating that his future lies away from London, Juventus have been, predictably, linked with a bid for the Dutchman. Van Persie is coming off his best season yet in Arsenal’s colors and is a proven world-class striker that could fill the hole up-front for Juventus. The stats speak for themselves as Van Persie racked up an outstanding 30 goals in the Premier League for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Van Persie’s transition from the Premier League to Serie A shouldn’t be a problem for himself as the tactical set-up employed by Antonio Conte more or less resembles the one used by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. At Juventus, he would find himself playing the role of a lone target-man in a 4-3-3 or spearheading the attack alongside either Mirko Vucinic or Sebastian Giovinco in a 3-5-2.
His £25m price tag though could form a stumbling block for Juventus and with Arsenal’s unwillingness to budge from their stance, Van Persie’s immediate future may not lie with the Italian Champions. But what does work in Juventus’ favor is the player’s reported preference being Turin over local English outfits Manchester City and Manchester United. Arsenal, too, would ideally desire to sell their prized asset to a foreign outfit rather than strengthen their domestic rivals. Another potential hurdle for Juventus remains the high wages demanded by Van Persie. Doubts still linger over the club’s financial ability to afford a player with astronomical wages yet Marotta seems keen to land Arsenal’s want-away captain.
THT Verdict: Possible
Another name constantly connected with a move to Juventus is Napoli star Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan is exactly the kind of player that Juventus have been lacking in recent seasons and fits the bill perfectly with regards to Antonio Conte’s demands of a player. Strong, athletic, pacy and with superb technical ability and admirable work-rate, Cavani is as close to a perfect modern forward as you’re going to get. The fact that he’s achieved so much in Serie A in the past couple of seasons that has contributed to his meteoric rise is just another bonus.
At 25 years of age, Cavani has his best years ahead of him and can only improve as a forward which is a frightening prospect itself. In the past, Cavani has also proven to be a menace against Juventus and Antonio Conte would fancy having him on their side as they take on the challenge of chasing three titles. But pricing away a player from De Laurentiis’ Napoli isn’t the easiest of tasks out there.
The president has reportedly set Cavani’s fee at a huge £35m and Juventus maybe unwilling to part with that kind of money. Cash plus player deals have been suggested with Matri and Giovinco as possible bargaining chips. The entry of European Champions Chelsea as potential suitors for Cavani could also damage Juventus’ chances of landing the Uruguayan, given the fact that Juventus cannot compete financially with the Blues. For now, Cavani remains a dream signing and is certainly the type of player that could take Juventus to the next level.
THT Verdict: Unlikely
At 22, Jovetic has shown the kind of promise that could see become one of the best players in Europe in the next couple of seasons. He’s the kind of player that can set your pulses racing when in possession and also the kind you always expect something of when he’s on the ball. Indeed, Jovetic is a gem and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why he’s so highly rated by Serie A fans. Elegant and graceful like a ballerina with the evasiveness to hop and skip past challenges while feeding team-mates, Stevan Jovetic is one of the most talented young player in Serie A currently.
For a fee in the region of £30m, he could become a Juventus player. Beppe Marotta has also acknowledged the fact that Juventus are interested in the Montenegrin striker. Fans of the Bianconeri already look at him as the best replacement to the void left by Alessandro Del Piero and the natural heir to the former captain’s famous no. 10 jersey. Jovetic has all the talent required to be a future great and has the mentality of a champion.
He could follow in the foot-steps of Roberto Baggio who so controversially jumped ship from Fiorentina to Juventus. To accommodate him though, Antonio Conte might have to alter his formation given the fact that Jovetic isn’t an out-and-out striker but more of a support striker. Nevertheless, with the ability that Jovetic possesses, finding a solution wouldn’t be a major concern.
THT Verdict: Likely
Other players that have found themselves linked with a move to Juventus include Luis Suarez, Giampaolo Pazzini and Edin Dzeko and they could be considered should bids for the above players fail.