After a six-month injury layoff, Marko Pjaca is ready to return to action, but is there space for the Croatian international at Juventus? With the arrival of Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi in the summer, the talented winger has become a forgotten man in Turin. With the transfer window now open, the 22-year-old will have a chance to prove himself, as teams are queuing up for his signature.
Despite just recently returning from an ACL tear, Monaco, Zenit St. Petersburg, Schalke and Wolfsburg are interested in Pjaca, while Bologna and Sassuolo are also said to be in the race for the player. With a €23m price tag looming heavy over his head, it’s now time for Pjaca to prove his worth. It’s clear that the winger needs regular playing time to regain his form, a luxury Juventus cannot offer him right now. As a result, a loan move is a no brainer for the former Dinamo Zagreb man, but where to?
Considering the teams interested in him, German side Schalke 04 would be the ideal destination for Pjaca. Currently sitting in second place, Die Knappen play an exciting brand of football which is heavily predicated on skillful wingers.
With the forward-thinking Domenico Tedesco at the helm, Pjaca would get regular minutes and rotate with Amine Harit and Yevhen Konoplyanka. In Tedesco’s 3-4-3, Pjaca will have the opportunity to improve his decision-making in one of the most tactical leagues in the world and use the six-month loan deal to regain some much-needed match fitness.
Another good option for the winger would be to join Ligue 1 side Monaco. The French giants have a positive reputation when it comes to developing young forwards, as we have seen with the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Bernardo Silva. In Jardim’s traditional 4-4-2, Pjaca would learn how to become a defensively-responsible winger, while working on his deliveries to Radamel Falcao. The main concern for Pjaca, however, would be displacing Rony Lopes and Thomas Lemar from the starting XI.
While Zenit St. Petersburg is another alternative, he would be foolish to join the Russian League, as he would once again become a forgotten man.
Staying in Serie A would be a wiser course of action. With Sassuolo and Bologna interested, Pjaca has the opportunity of establishing himself as a big fish in a small pond. In theory, he would link up nicely with Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi and Matteo Politano, while the prospect of him joining forces with Simone Verdi at Bologna is an enticing one as well. In addition to having most of the play flow through him, he would also get the opportunity to experience the rigours of Italian football as a starter.
My only reservation with either of these moves, however, is that by remaining in Italy, Pjaca would be limiting his own growth, missing out on a wealth of tactical knowledge both Tedesco and Jardim have to offer him.
With the World Cup around the corner, it’s time for Pjaca to get regular playing time to prove himself. After all, he has shown glimpses of brilliance in the past, but was never afforded a real shot by Massimiliano Allegri. As Juventus’ offensive ranks continue to fill up quickly, it’s now or never for Pjaca to come good on the hype.