When the rumours that Juventus were interested in Aleksandr Golovin came out a couple of days before the World Cup, very few Italians knew who the Russian was. Probably some had heard the name, or had watched a game or two, and while the CSKA Moscow midfielder was a fairly popular figure in Eastern Europeand in Football Betting circles, he still was an unknown player for the majority.
However, we all know that the World Cup is a different animal and just a few days later, the world already knew who Golovin was. The 22-year-old was simply magnificent in Russia’s opening game against Saudi Arabia, registering two assists and a scoring stunning late freekick in the resounding 5-0 victory.
At the time, Juventus’ CEO Giuseppe Marotta had already confirmed that “signing Golovin is more than a possibility” and based on his performance against Saudi Arabia, it is easy to see why the Bianconeri are interested in his services.
Putting his goal and two assists aside, Golovin also registered four tackles, two interceptions, while he also completed the impressive five key passes and two dribbles. And while it would be immature to judge a players’ ability from a single game, the stats highlight Golovin’s ability to produce solid all-round displays - something that CSKA Moscow get from him on a weekly basis.
Despite being just 22, the midfielder already has more than 100 games for the Russian giants and the Saudi Arabia match was his 20th international cap. Golovin was a starter in all of CSKA Moscow’s Champions League games in the group stage this season, while he was also instrumental in his side’s run to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, where he scored crucial goals against Lyon and Arsenal.
Juve’s midfield has been one of the side’s biggest weaknesses eversince Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba left the club and it is no secret that strengthening this area is the club’s main objective for the summer mercato. Emre Can’s expected arrival will add steel and allow Miralem Pjanic to move in a more advanced role, where the Bosnian maestro can add creativity and influence the Bianconeri’s attacking movesmore.
However, Claudio Marchisio’s fitness problems have affected his performances badly, which leaves Massimiliano Allegri without an alternative to Pjanic. This is a huge issue, considering the amount of games the Bianconeri have been playing in the last few seasons, so bringing in another creative midfielder is a must.
Golovin would be an ideal fit, as Allegri would be able to use his favorite cautious approach of integrating new players, which would allow the Russian to settle in and gain valuable experience. Considering that two of Sami Khedira, Stefano Sturaro and Marchisio are probably going to leave the club, Golovin will be getting enough playing time to integrate and add another dimension to Juve’s midfield.
The tifosi would probably prefer another Slavic midfielder to join the Old Lady in the summer, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been labelled as the dream midfield signing by many Juventini. However, the Serbian’s excessive price-tag, which considering Claudio Lotito’s relationship with Juventus might reach well above €100 mln, seems like a real deal-breaker at this point.
On the other hand, it was initially reported that CSKA Moscow would demand €20 mln euro for Golovin, which looks like a great price for a player of his talents. However, if the 22-year-old continues to perform anywhere near the level he displayed against Saudi Arabia, his price-tag will rise dramatically very shortly.
According to the latest reports, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are also interested in his services, so the Bianconeri need to move fast, as they cannot afford to start a bidding war against the Premier League giants.
Getting Milinkovic-Savic or not, Juventus would do well to sign Golovin, as the Russian has shown enough quality and maturity to become a key cog for the Turin giants.