Tuesday July 25 2017
Finding Bernardeschi's place

Juventus one of the hottest talents in Italy, writes Jack Stevens, but where does Federico Bernardeschi fit in?

As the hearts of Florentines worldwide ache with the news of Federico Bernardeschi’s transfer to Juventus, the question for Juventini remains: Where does the 23-year-old fit?

Born and raised in the heart of Tuscany, Bernardeschi’s rise to fame in Viola colours wasn’t straightforward. A fractured ankle in 2014 and a spell at Crotone set the foundations for the player Juventus paid €40m for.

While Fiorentina continue to wallow in the quicksand, Juventus spotted a window of opportunity and primed their sights on the Italian prospect. It was only in March that Bernardeschi refused to handle a Juventus scarf live during an interview. Such a blunt refusal to associate with the ‘old enemy’ was a thing of beauty to Viola fans. However, he feels ready to test himself on the biggest stage and the truth is he has outgrown his purple shirt.

Bernardeschi’s real value lies with his versatility. He is a premium player, an Italy international with wonderful technique and spatial awareness. What he lacks is experience, his adventurousness sometimes getting the better of him with his mazy dribbling into dead ends.

Having been deployed mainly as a wide midfielder in the 2015-16 season with Paulo Sousa’s 3-4-2-1, his energy and dribbling provided the perfect attacking impetus and mirror to the more de-facto wing-back Marcos Alonso on the opposite flank. His use more centrally, often in the Number 10 position, in Sousa’s last season indicated the Portuguese tactician’s belief that Bernardeschi’s game is multi-faceted. He is just as capable of playing a probing ball through the lines as switching his game to directly dribble at defences.

Tactically, Bernardeschi’s arrival at the Juventus Stadium is interesting to say the least. Should Leonardo Bonucci’s departure prove pivotal in the re-design of Max Allegri’s system going into the new season, Bernardeschi’s ‘Swiss Army Knife’ approach to the game could well prove very useful indeed.

These factors coincide with the fact that Bernardeschi is a key part of a supremely talented young crop of future Italy senior internationals. Juventus’ history and pedigree with Italian players stands above all, and in today’s over-inflated, frankly ludicrous market, €40m seems like a bargain.

Having said that, Allegri’s masterstroke to switch to a 4-2-3-1 last season to accommodate the attacking talent at his disposal presents him with the problem of shoe-horning Bernardeschi in. With Douglas Costa now plying his trade in Turin, and Mario Mandzukic’s unflappable work-rate presumably complementing the Brazilian’s trickery on the opposite flank, Bernardeschi faces a logjam.

Paulo Dybala’s rebirth as the Number 10 behind Gonzalo Higuain completed the midfield quartet last year. Should Allegri opt for wide midfielders, there are no options more favourable than Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro. This leaves a temporary problem for Bernardeschi, who may initially struggle to see game-time in a regular position.

While the majority of the Viola fan base found fault with Sousa’s lopsided, inconsistent 3-4-2-1, Bernardeschi excelled behind the striker. Should Allegri choose to adopt the en vogue double number 10 system, Dybala could find himself in tandem with the Italian. Such attacking potential should make Juventini drool, and coupled with his aforementioned versatility, the option for flexibility makes Bernardeschi a truly outstanding signing.

There is a strong argument that Bernardeschi could well be the most important transfer Juventus will make all season. The ex-Viola man presents Allegri with a tactical dilemma, but there are certainly worse problems to have. 

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Have your say...
To the Desciglio bashers LET'S GIVE HIM A CHANCE IN THIS JUVE SYSTEM BEFORE COMMITING HIM TO THE GALLOWS OR MAKING HIM WALK THE PLANK OF A SHIP,...People PLEASE STOP bashing him,Yet let's not forget he's a national player that's played countless games on the biggest stages EX;EURO AND WORLD CUP FOLKS...Allegri's coached him before and knows his capabilities whereas he'll be able to unlock them.
on the 31st July, 2017 at 7:12pm
@ putuco: I don't wanna sound like a smart*ss but you can't judge any footballer in pre-season matches, not to mention, he's a new boy from A.C Milan who play football differently with Juve. Wait until the league is started, and we'll see how good he is.
on the 28th July, 2017 at 3:07am

Dybala isn't close to playing as a #10.

He played way deeper last year, when they switched back to 3-5-2 and he played very much behind Higuain.

Or do you not remember that? 4-2-3-1 is in vogue for some people, but it has nothing to do with what Juventus were playing. Dybala was often in front of Higuain. They were very defensive after scoring a goal or two, and everyone defended; never pressing but instead dropping.

Yeah, so no.
on the 27th July, 2017 at 3:57pm
Mandzukic was terrific as a LM last season (a position he has played in his career), precisely because it was a 4-4-2. Rather than play as a true winger, he played as a SM doing the work and crashing the box, where his presence is tremendous. Juve have depth, but their midfield isn't what it as when they got to the final in 2015..that's obvious, but something they need to fix. Tho they have some young guys who could maybe step up.
on the 27th July, 2017 at 3:52pm
Some fans sound so ungrateful to Bonucci..not angry or hurt, but ungrateful and delusional. That said, Rugani has a chance to surpass all of the Italian CB's that have come since Canna and Nesta.

I've been a huge Pjanic fan since Lyon, but I don't like his move to Juve or his fit there. Marchisio is world-class, if he's healthy. He's essential. Khedira is depth, no more.

Pjanic, if he is the guy, needs to step up. He needs to be the creator. Juve also have to play fast, thru those wings.
on the 27th July, 2017 at 3:51pm

MDS does not know how to pass a decent ball, does not know how to put a decent cross. If Juventus can solve that and make him a decent player, they are not a good club, they are wizards. Just watch the match against PSG yesterday, he was absolutely shameful in offensive play. A complete and utter useless player
on the 27th July, 2017 at 12:13pm
@ viktor: I will save my laugh for you later when Serie A is rolled after 3-4 months, then you will clearly see that Bonucci is a "shaky" defender who needs fully support from his team mates to help him to cover the defense. He's good but compare him to Nesta is LOL, c'mon Milanisti you need to stop this excessive talk about how good Bonucci is. Bonucci played with Juventus who defend COLLECTIVELY.

About MDS, don't worry, Allegri will unlock his full potential. He's playing with CHAMPIONS NOW.
on the 27th July, 2017 at 9:00am


You seem to know very little about your current and your past players.

De Scgilio is rubbish, he was promising, he didnt step up to it, I KNOW this because I watch every single game he plays. He rarely gets the cross in, and he gets caught of of possesion very often. Bonucci on the other side, considered as one of the best in the world, fully deserves he's salary, and have years to go before slowly declinening. You do realize nesta was 30 when he reached hes best right?
on the 27th July, 2017 at 7:43am
@Juveman I really hope we'll see more of Mandzu up front where he belongs, especially now we have wingers that can actually cross the ball. Now don't get me wrong, I love Lichtsteiner to pieces, but what I'm really REALLY looking forward to most this season is some decent balls into the box, and Mandzu scoring plenty of goals with his head. I'd like to see Rugani start, Marchisio and Khedira carefully rotated to prevent injury, and Dybala as SS rather than being wasted out wide on the right.
on the 26th July, 2017 at 11:04pm
----Mr.No Good-----

Costa ----Dybala----Bernardeschi


Sandro---Chiellini-Barzagli--De Sciglio
on the 26th July, 2017 at 8:13pm
eh... because it isn't a 442 at all and quite clearly is a 4231....

Dybala isn't playing as a second striker he is playing as a link between midfield and Gonzo. Watch the games and all will be revealed...
on the 26th July, 2017 at 3:50pm
WHYYYYY do people keep with this Juventus 4-2-3-1? Dybala is not playing as a 10; he's in the same position he usually plays. Why the need to call that a 4-2-3-1 when he's playing just off (not even behind) Higuain?


Mandzukic is losing his spot, so long as the newbies perform.
on the 26th July, 2017 at 3:16pm
@rusdi MDS? Really? Have fun teaching the guy to put a decent cross in the box. Good luck with that
on the 26th July, 2017 at 3:08pm
slightly concerned at the prospect of an attacking trident behind Gonzo of heavily dependent left footers. Balance is slightly odd but hopefully shouldn't be a problem.

I am happy that Juve have wide options in Bernadeschi, Costa and Cudrado now. For me, Mandzukic is utterly wasted out wide. He spends more time chasing back than in the opposition box where he is a NIGHTMARE for defenders.

Midfield is covered in Khedira, Pjanic, Marchisio, Lemina and Sturaro. No need to panic buy.
on the 26th July, 2017 at 10:13am
ya have fun with MDS. he's not that stellar
on the 25th July, 2017 at 6:29pm
@ Viktor: Trust me, Allegri don't need Bonucci (he's not that special) with this 4-3-2-1 formation because Juve from now on will rely on wings and start the ball from Pjanic. You can have 30 years old Bonucci with 42 M payment with 8 M salary/year and we have freshly 24 years old De Sciglio with only 12 M payment with reasonable salary. We don't need a whiner who thinks he has right to earn 7 M with all his blunders without Chiellini on his side.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 6:16pm
@Ferban: Unfortunately, Marotta already said he won't take Verratti from PSG since Juve have owned Pjanic who possesses similiar playstyle. Not to mention, PSG's Nasser Al Khelaifi hates Marotta.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 5:58pm
An Incredibly over hyped and overrated player, who is about to get even more over hyped and overrated now he is at juventus. Just like Dyballa is.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 5:40pm
I'm a big fan of this kid and I really look forward to seeing him in Russia 2018. To be perfectly frank I'd have preferred seeing him at any other big team than Juve (Roma, Inter, Milan, Napoli) as I expect he'd have had guaranteed starting time there. At Juve, as the article points out, the competition is so high that I fear he may be relegated to the bench.

Anyway. Hope he does well.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 5:11pm
Get Krychowiak as a DMF (destroyer) - Agree!
on the 25th July, 2017 at 1:49pm
With him and Costa it may mean a switch to 4-2-3-1.

Mandzukic/Cuadrado are good players in different ways, but Costa and Bernardeschi should be a step-up on both. Whether the crop of CM's are good enough remains to be seen.Verratti would be great, but probably impossible.

Rugani and De Sciglio will need to step up too, and another top RB may need to be signed with De Sciglio acting as back-up for both FB positions.

And if a mad offer comes in for Higuain, sell him for Belotti or Aubameyang
on the 25th July, 2017 at 12:10pm
Get Krychowiak as a DMF (destroyer).
on the 25th July, 2017 at 12:08pm
I am not accusing bernardeschi he is at fault as well but the management of the viola have been disgraceful. They have pretty much betrayed their fans in every way imaginable this just caps it off. Fiorentina are going no where with these guys in charge they should sell the club to owners who are capable of taking this club onto the next level. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see this club fighting relegation next season the fans of this club have been completely betrayed.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 12:07pm
Bernardeschi's versatility will enable us to make multiple adjustments up front as and when needed. We still need better squad depth quality, especially in midfield. I'm of the view that we need two, rather than one midfield players. A robust DM is essential, but I'd also try to get an attacking creative midfielder. The reason I say this is that Khedira and Marchisio have been extremely injury prone, and it's highly likely that neither of them will get through a full season.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 11:06am
Bernardeschi is the player with most successful long passes amongst creative players in Serie A. It's the perfect player to add now that Bonucci is gone, and the build up from defense will rely on the midfield to distribute for the deep runs and overlaps.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 9:32am
Bernardeschi SHOULD play on the wing opposite costa. Yes mandzu was a work horse last year but not much else. He offered VERY little going forward and IS NOT a NATURAL winger. imo you have costa, bern, cuadrado and pjaca as wingers with hig and mandzu as SSs it's not that complicated. Not to mention knowing Allegri bern won't be starting till like mid November at best. Whats also great is costa and bern can stay swapping wings during the game cause even more havoc. And dybla roaming all over:O
on the 25th July, 2017 at 8:48am

YEs no... you def need Bonucci nor will you miss him.

Great signing tho.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 8:42am
Exciting signing.... should now see some real options going forwards... aldo joping not to sign a top cb, i think rugani has proved his worth and deservs the oportunity to step up.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 7:47am
I would love to see allegri test costa from the left flank bernardeschi from the right and dybala in the middle in a 4-2-3-1 formation
on the 25th July, 2017 at 6:30am
I believe Allegri finally has almost complete players for his 4-3-2-1 formation in the arrival of Bernardeschi. One missing puzzle will be a DESTROYER type of player such as Davids, Gattuso, Vidal or Nainggolan, etc. to solve Juve's problem with self confidence as they're often afraid in big games to play flowing pass because minus of those kind of players.

Bye-Bye Boncci. We don't need you because from now on Allegri will play short pass from the midfield.
on the 25th July, 2017 at 1:24am

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