Perhaps Douglas Costa Should Have Taken Man United Chance…

Juventus’ Douglas Costa had been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United throughout the summer, but recent reports claim the Brazilian wants to fight for his place in Andrea Pirlo’s side.

The Italian legend has long been revered as a master of the game and now, stepping into management, many believe he’ll prove to be as classy, as sophisticated and as successful on the touchline.

A tactician of the game, he’s so far donned a 3-5-2 set-up. His wide players able to drop back and defend and his midfielders able to interchange with both attack and defense. Last week’s 2-2 draw at Roma might’ve brought some disappointment but it’s another game for Pirlo, and another chance for us to see what this new-look Juve will be all about.

There’s been a few selection surprises so far as well; Aaron Ramsey looked set to leave but has started both league games, whilst he’s opted for the young Dejan Kulusevski on the left of his defense/midfield, and Alvaro Morata alongside Cristiano Ronaldo up-top.

Also featuring is Douglas Costa. His Juve exit also seemed imminent after a stop-start season under Maurizio Sarri, where he was often deployed right across a routine-looking 4-3-3. Manchester United looked a likely outcome for Douglas Costa but, probably to Man United’s shock, their pull in the transfer market just isn’t what it used to be.

His club can’t seem to sign anyone; the Jadon Sancho dream looks to be over, and Costa is now claiming that he’s content at Juve, and ready to fight for his spot. It’ll be the kind of determination and fight that Pirlo wants to see, but, realistically thinking, is this a wise move from Costa?

The Brazilian’s best attribute is his versatility. His breakthrough was as more of an attacking-minded midfielder, perhaps behind the strikers was where we would see his best game. But in past seasons as the competition at Juve has gathered, Costa has been deployed wherever necessary.

He’s often taken a backseat in managers’ plans. Since his permanent arrival in 2018 he’s started just 14 games in the league; last season he made 23 Serie A appearances and 16 of those came from the bench.

It looks to be a tall order for Costa to worm his way back into starting contention at Juventus, but opening up to the fight is the first hurdle. He’s made two substitute appearances so far this season, but breaking into this Juve side ahead of Ramsey, Juan Cuadrado or even the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie a bit deeper, seems a task insurmountable.

The simple fact of the matter is that Costa hasn’t been that effective for Juve. His initial loan season was by far his best for the club, notching 4 goals and 12 assists in Serie A. But after making his move from Bayern Munich permanent, he’s registered just two league goals and four assists.

Add to that his 1.3 key passes per game and 1.9 completed dribbles in the Serie A last season, and the stats begin to build up evidence against Costa’s starting spot at Juve. At 30-years-old, Douglas Costa seems to be falling off the boil a touch, and he might yet live to regret turning down the Man United offer of regular first-team action.