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Who is Zakaria and is he needed by Juventus?

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According to the most reliable sources, one of Juventus’s main targets for the winter window is to sign a midfielder, therefore, here is a name to look for, one that is becoming more and more of a possibility and that is Denis Zakaria. The 24-year-old Swiss is a defensive midfielder who has been for some seasons, standing out in the Bundesliga as a very solid and promising player.

The deal financially

Over the past few years, Zakaria has attracted interest from several European clubs, which leads us to believe that we would have a dispute for the player in January. However, according to the latest informations, the only club that has any real interest in the player in the next window is Roma, which would not complicate anything, since according to Nicolò Schira “Juventus have overtaken AS Roma in the race for Denis Zakaria. Giallorossi had reached an agreement in principle for a contract until 2026 with his former agent last month. The Swiss midfielder prefers the Bianconeri’s bid, even if his dream is still to play for Barça.”

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So, the Swiss midfielder doesn’t seem like a difficult deal for the club, especially since he will be a free agent at the end of the season and his salary won’t be a problem with Ramsey’s departure. However, the big question is, what can he actually add to the club?

Analysis of the player

. Collective characteristics

Zakaria is definitely a type of midfield that Juventus don’t have on the squad… It’s because all of out physical midfielders on the team, like Rabiot, Mckennie and Bentancur, spend a lot of their time on the offensive field, in addition to running into the box. Zakaria, on the other hand, unlike the players we have, spends most of the time on the defensive field, offering more freedom and security for the midfielders who play alongside him. Below is his heat map in Bundesliga for this season.Zakaria's heatmap this season so far

This feature allows him to work well in formations with two midfielders, like 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2. In my opinion, this characteristic would work very well alongside Locatelli, since the Italian would have more freedom to start the plays and play in the offensive field.

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. Individual characteristics

However, in addition to standing out collectively, Zakaria draws a lot of attention individually for his ability to tackle and do  interceptions, what has earned him the stat of 1.8 tackles per game in Bundesliga so far this season. This characteristic puts him in the category with players like Fabinho and Fernandinho, since he not only works perfectly in a midfield with 2 midfielders, he can also function perfectly in a 3 man mid as well, playing the role of providing security to the front of the defensive line and protecting between the lines.

In addition to having a lot of ability to steal balls, Zakaria has an ability that players like Fabinho and Fernandinho do not have, speed. Zakaria is very fast, which can be very useful for moments of defensive transition. An example of his speed is that, in the 2017/18 season, Zakaria was named the second fastest player in the Bundesliga, reaching around 35.07 KM/H.

The swiss midfielder also possesses the important ball handling skill, being able to often steer the ball with quality in offensive transitions, which I find very attractive for a manager like Max Allegri. Zakaria is also versatile, able to act as a defender, in addition to being very strong physically and having a good heading.

. Negative point

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Zakaria’s weakest point is undoubtedly the ball’s output. He cannot be expected to be the man who acts as the regista. He is a player who to start plays must always be assisted by a man with more passing quality at his side. However, luckily I believe that his defect will not be a problem for Juventus, as Locatelli could perfectly be the man to deliver the ball with more quality, besides, let’s not forget that with Zakaria on the field, Locatelli would have more freedom, which would further increase the participation of the European champion in creating the plays.

 

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