Maurizio Sarri Wants Reunion with Juventus Center-Back at Lazio

Newly-appointed Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri has compiled a list of transfer targets featuring the name of Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. As per Il Tempo (via The Laziali), the Italian manager wants to reunite with his former pupil for the third time.

Sarri launched Rugani to prominence during their early days at Empoli, helping the youngster become one of the most highly-rated defenders in Serie A. Despite his tender age at that time, the Italian centre-back was a cornerstone of the Tuscan’s side backline, which eventually earned him a permanent return to Juventus. 

Rugani moved back to the Allianz Stadium in summer 2015 and made his senior debut for the Old Lady only a couple of months later. But given a fierce competition for places in Turin, the 26-year-old has struggled for regular first-team opportunities under Massimiliano Allegri. 

With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci headlining Juventus’ backline, the Italian was relegated to playing second fiddle for most of his career in Turin. Though Sarri’s arrival at the helm in 2019 was expected to boost Rugani’s first-team chances, there was not much he could do to push one of the stalwarts away from the starting line-up.

Merih Demiral’s arrival has further derailed Rugani’s playing time, forcing him to leave Juventus for two separate loan spells at Rennes and Cagliari last season. The Lucca native’s underwhelming adventure in Turin could come to a definite end this summer as Sarri seeks a third reunion with his ex-protege.

The 62-year-old tactician took over the reins from Simone Inzaghi earlier in the summer and is aiming to shake things up a bit at the Stadio Olimpico. Sarri’s appointment means Lazio will likely shift from Inzaghi’s three-man backline into four players at the back, which will require some changes in personnel.

With Stefan Radu well past his prime and Luiz Felipe’s problems with consistency, Sarri wants to increase competition for places by adding Rugani to the jigsaw. The player’s contract at Juventus is due to expire in two years, and it remains to be seen whether the Bianconeri would let him go permanently this summer.