When Cristiano Ronaldo left Juventus this summer, the club looked to be in a desolate situation. Having just scraped a place in this season Champions League, the Old Lady narrowly avoided domestic embarrassment but did miss out on winning a ninth consecutive Serie A title — costing Andrea Pirlo his job in the process.
This season things haven’t exactly gone to plan under Massimiliano Allegri, with Juve struggling in his second stint at the club, and perilously poised outside the top four once again, the hierarchy Turin have got the chequebook out — bringing in Dušan Vlahović for just under £70 million.
While the Old Lady were unable to recoup the full amount they splurged on Ronaldo back in 2018, they will be thinking they have found his long-term successor in the form of Vlahović. Having just turned 22, he has plenty to offer Juve in the years to come and having scored 17 already this season, the Serbian could be exactly what they need to regain some momentum. Read on, as we look at the things Vlahović will be offering Juventus.
Having been linked with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester City, Vlahović instead choose to stay in Italy — trading Tuscany for Turin in a deal that has frustrated Fiorentina fans. While a move to England may appear too early, fighting for the Serie A title regularly and playing in the Champions League will certainly give the Serbian some invaluable experience, which he can use it to develop into the world beater he threatens to become.
With Serbia unbeaten in World Cup qualifying, it made sense for Juve to swoop in before Qatar as a good tournament would have seen the youngster’s price valuation sky rocket, and despite his tender age, he still has plenty to offer the first team between now and the end of the season if they are to defy the football odds and finish an otherwise arduous campaign with a degree of success.
Juventus really felt their season was at a crossroads when one of their key attackers, Federico Chiesa, tore his ACL before the winter break. Having fired on all cylinders both domestically and in Europe, the Italian will be sorely missed for the Old Lady and Vlahović will need to find his shooting boots quickly in Chiesa’s absence. Goals are hardly in short supply for the Serbian, and with two assists, he currently has 19 goal contributions this season — five shy of his entire total for last season. Paulo Dybala is the only Juve player to hit double figures this season, and despite being seven goals behind the Serbian, the duo could certainly form a deadly alliance, either in a strike partnership or one playing off the other.
As pressure mounts on Allegri, questions will certainly be asked if he is the man to take Juve forward come the end of the season. If not, then Vlahović will have to adapt quickly to another new system, but his versatility should stand him in good stead to do so. Fiorentina currently play a 4-3-3 with Vlahović down the middle as a lone centre forward, but at the Allianz Stadium he could be relied on in wider areas, or in a deeper attacking midfield role as part of a 4-2-3-1.
It might take some time for the Serbian to be integrated into a team that has far more possession than his former employers in Tuscany, but his positional awareness and ability to press from the front enables him to be used in a variety of positions — something that will benefit Juve in the latter stages of the campaign if fatigue does indeed to creep in on a thin squad.