Juventus will have to try and secure Champions League footabll without Federico Chiesa. The Italian winger injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Roma-Juve on Sunday night. What does this mean and how will it affect Juventus for the rest of the season? Max Statman takes a look.
The first thing I think about is Venezia away. Juventus lost playmaker Paulo Dybala after only 12 minutes, while Federico Chiesa was out with an injury. What happened? The Bianconeri were unable to create enough danger and drew the match.
Juve continued to win their matches against Bologna and Cagliari (both 2-0), but Max Allegri’s side clearly lacked creativity. And that was in matches where Juve didn’t even face direct competitors for the Champions League spots. Of course Juventus’ lack of creativity got exposed even more because both Dybala and Chiesa didn’t feature.
I can hear you thinking, has Chiesa been that good this season? After all, he only scored 4 goals and gave 4 assists during the first half of the season. But Federico Chiesa brings much more to the table than goals and assists.
Chiesa can create danger out of nothing. His explosiveness can cause any team trouble. And that’s the kind of player Juventus have been missing so much this season. A player that can change the game at any time. Chiesa’s importance can’t be expressed in numbers.
We also can’t forget the way Chiesa came back into the squad. He scored against Napoli and created plenty of danger against i Partonopei. Before he was taken off against Roma, he assisted Dybala and gave debutant Maitland-Niles a hard time.
The name of Paulo Dybala plays an important role in this story. When we talk about players who offer creativity and create danger out of nothing, Dybala’s name can’t be excluded. With Chiesa out, Juventus will depend on Dybala’s qualities even more. And that’s a dangerous thing to do, because the Argentinian has proven to be very injury prone. He has already missed 9 matches this season due to injuries.
A big part of Juve’s chances to reach top 4 in Serie A will rest on Dybala’s shoulders. Even though he’s a fantastic player, it seems dumb to believe that he won’t get injured before the end of the season. The question seems to be when rather than if.
So, should Juventus now look on the transfer market? Unlike Max Statman President Adamo Luciano, I’m a big fan of Sassuolo’s Gianluca Scamacca. The striker is exactly what Juventus need: goals, goals, goals. That he can score those, he showcased yesterday with a brace vs. Empoli. He has averaged a goal every 118 minutes in Serie A this season. To put that in comparison: Vlahovic scores a goal every 111 minutes in the Italian top flight.
Don’t get me wrong, Scamacca definetly isn’t better than Vlahovic. For me, Vlahovic is a special player, only Haaland has the same characteristics. But Scamacca is cheaper and seems a more realistic option, if we’re talking about January.
Sassuolo have put a €40M price tag around his neck and would rather sell him in the summer. Scamacca is also a totally different player than Chiesa. Although he would bring goals to Juve, €40M is way too much, he can’t replace Chiesa and won’t bring the needed creativity.
Another problem is Juve’s budget. It is said that the Bianconeri can’t buy new players without selling some others. Dejan Kulusevski is a player that attracted some Premier League clubs, especially Parataci and Conte’s Spurs. With Chiesa out, Kulusevski seems to be the man to replace him. That probably means Juventus won’t be able to get the funds to go for new players in January.
A name that has also been floating around for a while now, is Mauro Icardi. Juventus want to loan the former Inter striker for 6 months. PSG would rather sell him. It seems out of the question that Juve would pay big money for Icardi. And the same could be said for Icardi: he’s a totally different player than Chiesa.
If Juventus get someone, it will very likely be a loan deal. For now, we can only sit back and wait. The January transfer window is in full swing, anything could happen, that’s something we can say for sure after yesterday. What all Juventini should agree on, is that securing Champions League football got way harder after Monday’s news.