Even before the official kick-off to the 2020-2021 season, an obvious weak point was detected within the Juventus squad. With long-time serving left-back Alex Sandro ruled out with an injury, Mattia De Sciglio set for an exit after a disappointing spell and the young Luca Pellegrini sent on loan to Genoa to gain further experience, new manager Andrea Pirlo had to promote Gianluca Frabotta from the Under-23 squad and throw him straight in the fold in the season opener against Sampdoria.
But for a club that inspires to reach the epitome of world-football, emergency backups are simply unacceptable, and thus Juventus need to act as soon as possible to secure the left-back position. And so here are the probable names who can bolster this department.
1 – David Alaba
We start by addressing the elephant in the room. Ever since the announcement of the collaboration between Bayern Munich defender David Alaba and notorious agent Pini Zahavi, the Bavarians knew that this can only spell trouble for them, and so far the veteran agent hasn’t disappointed, with the Austrian left-back already having one foot outside of the club as his contract is about to expire by the end of the season, with Liverpool, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid and every other European giant put on notice.
This week, Turin based newspaper Tuttosport claimed that it is actually Juventus who are leading the race for Alaba’s signature, as Pirlo is a huge fan of his versatility, and the club will try to land him as soon as January for a cut-price.
Although Alaba would truly be the perfect left-back for the current Juventus side, as he can replace the aging and often injured Giorgio Chiellini in the back-three while also being able to play as a wing-back, it should be noted that such transfer market rumors should often be taken with a pinch of salt, as it’s unlikely that the German champions would allow one of their best defenders to walk out in the middle of the campaign.
Bayern are not open to selling David Alaba in the winter window. Hansi Flick still sees the defender as a crucial part of his squad. pic.twitter.com/ggVODvV5tn
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) November 11, 2020
2- Emerson Palmieri
A more realistic January transfer target is Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri. The Brazil-born left-back has been struggling for playing time ever since he left Roma in 2018, and has recently fallen even further below in Frank Lampard’s pecking order after the arrival of Ben Chilwell.
But luckily for the oriundo, the Italian national team manager Riberto Mancini has decided to stick with him as a main option despite his West London struggles, which helped the Chelsea man to remain relevant within his adopted nation.
Thus, Italian giants Juventus and Inter tried to secure his services last summer, and will reportedly try again this January. From what we’ve seen of Emerson during the National team matches, the Italian international is maturing into a well-rounded left-back, and Juventus should be willing to put a fight for his signature against Antonio Conte’s side, as they are the ones who truly need to reinforce this particular playing position.
Emerson Palmieri drops Chelsea transfer hint by revealing Serie A return hope as he targets spot in Italy’s Euro squad https://t.co/VyMttdDxMI
— The Sun – Chelsea (@SunChelsea) November 14, 2020
3- Luca Pellegrini
Despite arriving at Juventus in 2019 as a promising left-back, Luca Pellegrini has thus far failed to convince two Bianconeri managers, Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo, as they opted to loan him out to Cagliari and Genoa respectively.
Nonetheless the former Roma man has caught the eye of Roberto Mancini who rewarded him with an Italy call-up. But is that enough to change Pirlo’s mind and bring Pellegrini back as soon as January? And would the already struggling Genoa be willing to part ways with the young wing-back so early? The answer for both questions leans towards “unlikely.”
4- Maintaining the Status-Quo
Well here’s a solution that would probably please sporting director Fabio Paratici. Instead of trying to find a new left-back in January, Juventus could simply maintain the available options, mainly Alex Sandro and Gianluca Frabotta, with the Brazilian veteran set to return from his long lay-off in the coming weeks, and the young Italian acting as his understudy, at least until better options appear in the summer transfer market.
It should also be noted, that in Andrea Pirlo’s current system which reverts around a 3-5-2 formation, the left-back role could simply be replaced with a more attacking-minded wing-back, as we’ve already seen the likes of Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi being deployed in that position.
Bonucci will be out for about 20 days. Chiellini out for 30 days. De Ligt & Alex Sandro are expected to be available vs Cagliari. (GdS)
— Khaled Al Nouss (@khaledalnouss1) November 15, 2020
Our Final View
Although the last solution presented would be perfectly suitable from a financial point of view, the Italian champions must think beyond their economical needs. Alex Sandro might no longer be the same player from a few years ago, and he could be set for a similar switch into a more defensive role – just like his compatriot Danilo – in order to extend his playing days throughout his thirties.
On the other hand, Frabotta has shown promise at times, but his lack of experience at top level could end up hurting the club in the long run. And even if the club managed to bring back Pellegrini, it’s unlikely that he’ll prove to be a considerable improvement on Frabotta just yet.
David Alaba is undoubtedly the best name on the list, but Juventus would have to splash some cash in January to convince Bayern to part ways with their longtime serving left-back. Paratici would also have to offer the player and his agent an incredibly lucrative contract to sway him away from the rest of the European sharks.
But in the current economic situations, Juventus are eager to lower their wage bill rather than adding another high-earner to it. Thus, a Ioan deal including an option to buy for Emerson Palmieri would be a beneficial deal for both the Bianconeri and Chelsea, with the 26-year-old eager to return to Italy as he prepares to enter the prime of his career.