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Horncastle: Pelle takes his chance

Italy Oct 14, 2014
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 By Mina Rzouki
Jul 20, 2014

Transfer Talk: Juventus' summer so far

New Juventus signing Alvaro Morata says he'd like to experience another Champions League title with his new club.

With the transfer window in full swing, ESPN FC's Juventus blogger Mina Rzouki discusses how Antonio Conte's side are shaping up ahead of the new season.

IN -- Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid, 20 million euros), Kingsley Coman (PSG, free), Stefano Sturaro (Genoa, 5.5 million euros), Roberto Pereyra (Udinese, loan)

OUT -- Fabio Quagliarella (Torino, 3.5 million euros), Mirko Vucinic (Al Jazira, 6.3 million euros), Federico Peluso (Sassuolo, 4.5 million euros), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo, 7.5 million euros) Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund, undisclosed).

Expected budget

There is no specified budget. Juventus have not made as much money as they had hoped for last season largely due to their early exit from the Champions League. Money invested in future plans, such as the Continassa project as well as the rising cost of the running of the club, has left them them with little cash to invest in the market.

Signing Alvaro Morata is a coup for Juventus this summer but is it enough?
Signing Alvaro Morata is a coup for Juventus this summer but is it enough?

The sales of the undesired left them with with enough euros to invest in Alvaro Morata, his wages and those of Patrice Evra, who is also due to arrive. Thankfully, there is still another tidy sum of cash that can be spent on a "bigger" champion, a figure between €30-40m that at one stage was going to be spent on Juan Iturbe but may well now be spent on Antonio Candreva.

Unless the likes of Paul Pogba or Arturo Vidal are sold, not enough can be done to raise the overall level of the squad.

Rate your business so far

6/10 -- The transfer dealings so far have hardly set tongues wagging, while the fans will always pray that champions arrive to provide excitement and an alternative skill set. As a team, Juventus lack players with varied skills, but the squad is well-built and well-balanced with no obvious weaknesses to address.

Juve missed out on Alexis Sanchez, a creative and quick player they desperately needed.
Juve missed out on Alexis Sanchez, a creative and quick player they desperately needed.

However, while the Bianconeri possess good players throughout the squad, they lack the players who can, in one moment, shift the balance of the game or offer tactical fluidity. Alexis Sanchez and Juan Cuadrado were the men the fans dreamed of and while they are indeed expensive, one cannot underestimate the impact they would have made; sadly, not enough was done to truly challenge for their signature.

In terms of sales made, the Old Lady is on the right path as management looks to offload the squad players who are unlikely to offer much to Allegri's tactical schemes. The sales thus far have all been made for reasonable amounts, allowing Juventus to collect a tidy sum while it is imagined they still have a few more departures to authorise.

Who should be sold?

The dead weight, the squad players that are unlikely to feature under Max Allegri too often. Juventus did well to sell both Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic, quickly bringing in some much-needed cash and satisfactory savings with regard to wages. With Alvaro Morata signed, it was clear there was no need to have so many forwards on the roster when so few would be afforded minutes.

Federico Peluso, a player who has always performed to the best of his abilities when brought on, was also sold to Sassuolo for a rather large figure considering his age, but it's time to also offload the likes of Simone Padoin. While always dedicated to the cause, the midfielder isn't blessed with the talent required at the highest level and it seems unlikely Allegri will look to him as the perfect late substitute, as Conte often used him in previous seasons.

Who should be signed?

The defence lacks pace but boasts intelligence and tactical understanding and with Patrice Evra set to sign, Juve certainly have all the experience they require. However as witnessed from their matches in Europe, the Bianconeri do suffer against quick opponents and ought to look to a centre-back who offers the one thing they do lack in the back line -- speed.

Pace is missing in this squad as well as a man capable of dribbling past players. It became rather evident last season that, when opponents defend deep and in numbers, Juventus struggle to pierce through. They need someone capable of taking players on and dragging defenders away to create space for others to exploit. With speed in attack, they have one more weapon in their arsenal to overcome well-organised defences.

Problem solving: What do you need?

Under Antonio Conte, the main problem area was the lack of width, a fast winger capable of giving the attack another dimension going forward. However, under Allegri the requirements have changed and the ex-Milan tactician is more interested in keeping possession and playing with creativity as opposed to overpowering any opponent.

Still in search of variety in attack, transfer target Antonio Candreva might be their only option.
Still in search of variety in attack, transfer target Antonio Candreva might be their only option.

It is assumed a playmaker was at the top of Allegri's wish list but the club's interest in Antonio Candreva suggests that they are still yearning for that player who can offer more quality in the wide areas. Yet while Candreva is seen as one of the few Italians capable of offering width, he does not boast the kind of talent the fans covet.

Ideally speaking, should Real Madrid look to offload Isco he may be the player who can offer quality going forward, especially given Allegri's preferred style of play. He may not be the fastest but he offers an important quality Juventus need, the ability to speed up the side's transitions from defence to attack. Versatile and capable of playing through the middle or on the wing, he is masterful at keeping possession, excellent at exploiting the gaps and clever with his movements off the ball. He is good at recovering possession, creatively gifted and most importantly, a man blessed with ice-cold veins.

Mina Rzouki

A football writer, presenter and pundit for the Mirror, BBC 5live, BBC Sportsworld, BT Sports, CNN, ESPN and Football Espana. Focused on Italian football. You can follow her on Twitter @Minarzouki.