Andrea Pirlo HAS to shake things up at Juventus this summer

Aaron Ramsey is free to go, they need a younger model for Alex Sandro and it’s time to cash in on Paulo Dybala… Juventus’ Champions League failure means Andrea Pirlo HAS to shake things up this summer

  • Juventus’ Champions League focus has seen the need for a rebuild accelerated
  • The Italian giants are looking to shift out a number of underperforming stars
  • Aaron Ramsey has fallen short of expectations since joining on a free in 2019
  • Paulo Dybala has struggled with injury and is out of contract next summer
  • Sportsmail looks at fall guys in Turin as Andrea Pirlo prepares to wield the axe

Juventus’ dismal 2020-21 campaign has brought one thing in to sharp focus: they must rip this squad up and start again. 

‘We need to focus on young people after a decade of great successes,’ said John Elkann, cousin of Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli, during a recent appearance on Italian TV show ‘Porta a Porta‘.

It is a sentiment felt by many attached to the Bianconeri. There have been too many missteps in the transfer market and now action is required to return this ailing side to their dominance of the last decade.  

Aaron Ramsey (left) and Paulo Dybala (right) are viewed as trade pieces in a Juventus shake-up

Andrea Pirlo has seen his side underperform this season and needs to revolutionise his squad

Among those on the chopping block will be Aaron Ramsey, Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala, with the future of the Argentine, who is out of contract in June 2022, thought to be in the balance. 

Last month Juventus announced losses of £99million for the first half of the season. 

Noises from behind the scenes was that such heavy deficits would not impact their ability to remain active in the transfer market, but there is also an acknowledgement that the current squad is bloated and too many players are on huge salaries which have not been justified. 

Midfield has been the biggest area of concern for Juventus this season and, while he is not solely to blame for the failings, that has pushed Ramsey closest to the exit door. 

Ramsey arrived on a free to great expectations that he could take Juventus’s midfield over

Injuries have plagued the Welshman since he swapped Arsenal for Juventus and a muscle injury has him sidelined currently, adding to the attitude that his time in Turin is up. 

Ramsey suffered a low-grade rectus femoris injury in his left thigh and was forced to sit out the win against Cagliari, and he has been ruled out of Wales’ World Cup qualifiers too.

The fragility of the ex-Arsenal star is damning and it has been argued that he has never managed to reach 100 per cent fitness in the near 24 months he has been at the club.  

Andrea Pirlo tried to defend Ramsey on the eve of the Cagliari game but it is becoming harder and harder to justify his absences.  

‘He has physical problems and is unable to get continuity to his performances because he has to stop every two or three games,’ said the Juve boss.

Instead he has struggled to stay fit and has managed instead to miss large spells of action

‘In the past, he has had major problems that have kept him away from the pitch for months. 

‘He is precious because he knows how to make the team play well and he plays well. He has only this physical weakness that forces him to stay out every now and then.’

Two goals this season for Ramsey, who is on a deal in the region of £400,000 a week, makes him disposable as they look to target younger players as part of the rebuild. 

Since joining Juventus he has missed 104 days of training and matches and above all he has failed in the decisive matches in the Champions League. 

It has been estimated in Italy that the Welsh midfielder has cost Juventus €300,000 (£257,000) per match this season – a cost as much as a Ferrari for less than 90 minutes of action in each match.

In hindsight, his purchase is now viewed as an economic disaster due to the small number of matches in which he has played in the last two years. 

Dybala (centre) has been out since ligament damage sustained against Sassuolo in February

The feeling is that the player is afraid to guarantee dynamism on the pitch for fear of suffering new injuries and that his performance is heavily influenced by the physical problems that have tormented him in recent years.  

But Ramsey is not alone. There are doubts over Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur and those who are given a stay of execution in midfield will be expected to improve quickly for 2021-22.   

While the gavel is ready to come down on Ramsey’s Italian Job, was Tottenham among the clubs reportedly eyeing a surprise move for him, things are much more in the balance when it comes to the future of Dybala.

The Argentine has been missing from the Juventus attack since February 7 after an injury suffered against Sassuolo. 

All the tests had ruled out surgery but the player continues to feel discomfort in his knee ligament and he is reportedly very afraid that it is a more serious problem than initially suggested.  

Dybala has played 11 matches in Serie A and five in the Champions League this season, too few for a player like him who is in the last 12 months of his deal.

Come January he could free himself on a pre-contract agreement by signing with any other top European club and so a decision must be made as to what happens next.

There is a feeling Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Dybala (right) cannot both stay at Juventus this summer given the attacking duo are both out of contract in Turin in June 2022

Part of the complication with Dybala is that Cristiano Ronaldo is also out of contract in June 2022 and the feeling in Turin is that one needs to go this summer. 

Dybala is significantly younger but recent seasons have seen a stark decline in his output and with growing injury fears, it would be less surprising to see the Argentine shopped around ahead of Ronaldo.

His €7.5m-a-year (£6.4m) salary makes moving him on tricky with limited suitors offering huge money amid a global pandemic. 

The 27-year-old has managed just three goals and two assists in 16 games this season. 

He appeared to be on the verge of a switch to the Premier League with Tottenham in 2019 before that deal collapsed over an issue with image rights.  

Negotiations between Dybala and Paratici for the renewal will continue but the possibility of finding an agreement significantly decreases with every passing day. And then there is Sandro who, at 30, is seen at the end of a cycle in which Juventus need a refresh.

Full-back and wing-back have been problematic positions for Juventus with doubts cast over the replacements for Sandro and Juan Cuadrado. 

Alex Sandro (right) is seen at the end of his cycle with Juventus with new wing-backs required

Robin Gosens of Atalanta has remained a long term target and Pirlo understands the need to transform an area that is crucial to his 3-5-2 system.  

‘It is certainly a great honor for me to be approached by these clubs,’ Gosens told German magazine Kicker when asked about interest from Man City and Juventus. 

‘When the elite of Europe follow you on their radars – and perhaps you’re at the top of their shortlist – it is something gigantic and shows that you are on the right path. Looking back at my career trajectory, it’s crazy to see where I’m at right now.’

Something has to give and those behind the scenes at Juventus know it. This squad has shown it is full of holes and only a big summer clear-out is going to tidy the mess cluttering the Allianz Stadium right now. 

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article