Serie A giants Juventus are reportedly back in the market for a central midfielder following an injury to Sami Khedira in a friendly against Marseille, with the Bianconeri looking at Axel Witsel and Fredy Guar n as options
Italian champions Juventus had a fantastic 2014-2015 season, winning the Scudetto as well as the Coppa Italia and reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League. However, with the departures of influential players like Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, Massimiliano Allegri faces an uphill battle to repeat the feats of last season.
To complicate matters further, new signing Sami Khedira was stretchered off just 25 minutes into a friendly against Marseille with a suspected hamstring injury, which could force Juventus back into the transfer market for a central midfielder.
Juventus target Witsel and Guar n
With Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal departing the club over the summer, and German midfielder Sami Khedira facing an extended spell on the sidelines, Juventus are looking at AC Milan target Axel Witsel as well as Inter Milan’s Colombian star Fredy Guar n to plug the gap at the centre of the park.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, the Bianconeri are worried about Khedira’s condition – not just for the present, but also for the course of the season – and are looking to sign a central midfielder, with Axel Witsel as the top of their list.
a Corriere dello Sport (@CorSport) August 2, 2015
The report claims Juventus are ready to pay a 20 million plus add-ons, with Witsel’s current employers Zenit St.Petersburg holding out for a 30 million.
Meanwhile, another Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claim Allegri is looking to make two or three more signings, including a playmaker, a left-back and a central midfielder. According to the report, Khedira’s injury might force Juventus back in the market for a centre-mid, with Inter Milan star Fredy Guar n in the Bianconeri’s sights.
Axel Witsel worth the outlay for Juventus
Although Juventus’ primary target remains a play-maker in the mould of Mario G tze or Julian Draxler, the Bianconeri would do well to sign a central midfielder for the medium to long term this summer, particularly given Paul Pogba’s long-term future at the Old Lady remains far from certain.
In light of that, a 30 million for a player of the quality of Axel Witsel would be a good investment for the club, given the Belgian is in his peak years and will only strengthen the centre of the park for Juventus. The Zenit man represents a far better option than Guar n, who – despite his experience in the Serie A – is 29 years old and unlikely to be able to contribute at a high level for the long term.
Witsel, at 26, is already a very experienced footballer with games on the biggest of stages including the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup. The Belgian international’s combination of athleticism and technical quality makes him a complete midfielder, one that could – to some extent – act as a replacement for Chilean superstar Arturo Vidal.
With the new Italian season inching ever closer, Juventus should prioritise the signing of a central midfielder along with a play-maker, even if only as an insurance policy for Pogba’s eventual, inevitable departure.