The Curious Case of Dybala’s Possible Departure from Juventus

After a season of success, the career of Paulo Dybala at Juventus is in question again. So why can the attacker not kick on to that next level?

Juventus’s title defense has not gone according to plan so far this year. Poor results, unsettled tactics and sometimes-plain old bad luck has befallen the Bianconeri but arguably the biggest loss has been Argentine Paulo Dybala, whose absence has left a jewel shaped void in the attacking third.

La Joya had a sparkling run in during the last campaign, finishing as the Serie A MVP scoring 11 goals (4 coming in the last 9 games after the restart) and contributing 6 assists as well as being the fulcrum through which Juventus found their attacking verve to catapult themselves to title number 36 and ninth consecutive triumph.

Playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, the forward was in majestic form dazzling defenders with a varied array of hip feints, shoulder drops and skills coupled with deadly finishing. There was a feeling in Turin that Dybala had set down a marker to all his teammates as the example to follow alongside Ronaldo and that he was the future of the club.

Before this, it was easy to forget that Dybala was the subject of transfer rumors. Both Manchester United and Tottenham logged heavy interest with the forward alongside French champions PSG but none of the sides had the leverage to pry Dybala from Turin.

I did not speak directly to any of them, but there were conversations with the clubs. However, my intention at the time was to stayDybala argued.I hadn’t had a good year or a positive last six months, so I didn’t want to leave with that image because I think I had given the club a lot of nice moments and it wasn’t fair that I went like this.”

It paid dividends for Juventus to keep hold of their star man with the retention of the Scudetto, but just as all seemed set Dybala pulled up injured in the Quarter-Final of the Champions League against Lyon, tested positive for COVID-19 twice and was recently ruled out by Argentina thanks to an injury to his (cough)… crown jewels.

Pirlo’s tactics have varied this year as the Italian coach struggles to find consistency and indeed his best 11. Dejan Kulusevski, bought in from Parma, has been a real positive from wide with his speed on the break and ability to dribble past opponents and Alvaro Morata, on his second stint with the club seems revitalized though albeit seems to have inadvertently made an enemy of VAR (with 13 goals and counting of his being disallowed).

Dybala recently let his frustrations known to both manager and Director after being snubbed for a recent Serie A match against Crotone.

Pirlo has insisted he is a fan of the star attacker and has threatened to unleash the Argentine alongside both Ronaldo and Morata. Whether this tactic would be a success, remains to be seen and previous attempts to shoehorn Dybala into the team out of his natural position have harmed his output and team dynamics.

Dybala at his best is deployed in an attacking midfield role either behind center-forwards or operating alongside a striker where he is free to drift across the attacking third. Injuries have not helped his cause, dropping out of the team to be replaced by a teammate with a different set of attacking skills.

This forced previous Juventus managers such as Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri to amend their tactics in light of Dybala. When the attacker returned especially under the latter manager, his form hit peaks and troughs forcing him to the bench more often than he would have liked.

The start to the season has not helped and rumors are starting to swirl again with the January transfer window fast approaching and Real Madrid have emerged as potential suitors, with his ex Palermo chief Maurizio Zamparini citing Spain as the ideal destination for the young man he bought to Europe from Instituto in Argentina.

Zamparini was reported as stating: “I told him clearly: “Paulo, for your own good you must leave Juventus”. His football is fantasy. It’s more from Spain: Barcelona or Real Madrid. But he always told me he felt good at Juventus.”

Both Spanish giants are on the hunt for a new striker, of both quality and gravitas and Dybala has that in spades.

For either side he could be deployed as a false 9 or second striker, with speedy forwards either side the Argentine could wreak havoc in the space provided with his eye for a pass and deadly long-range striking ability.

Atletico Madrid could also offer another route to Spain. Los Rojiblancos are reinventing themselves as the season progresses this year with the mantle being seized by Portuguese wonder kid João Félix. The signing of Luis Suarez points to Diego Simeone wanting to develop his attacking output and to link Félix with Dybala it could potentially create a devastating one-two attack punch.

Highly thought of across the continent, a move away from the Allianz Stadium seems likely once again and with his reported £70 million fee it could provide the best solution to both parties, with Juventus recouping a large transfer fee to reinvest in the team and Dybala moving to a club with the opportunity to start every game.

The next six months are set to be very interesting and this saga is set to rumble on. Watch this space!


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