Monday June 25 2018
Rugani too good to let go

With reports Chelsea are close to signing Daniele Rugani, Juventus must do everything in their power to keep the 23-year-old, argues Vilizar Yakimov.

Maurizio Sarri has been pushing for a reunion with ex-Empoli centre-back Daniele Rugani for three years and could finally get his wish at Chelsea.

First Leonardo Bonucci, now Gianluigi Buffon and Stephan Lichtsteiner. In the past few seasons Juventus have suffered some big losses in defence. Luckily for the Bianconeri their squad depth, as well as Massimiliano Allegri’s tactical flexibility, mean that so far the Turin giants’ backline is still one of their biggest strengths. This is crucial for any side, but even more so for Juventus, as the defence has always been the backbone of the team.

Putting Allegri’s tactical brilliance aside, Juve’s ability to bounce back and keep oppositions at bay week in and week out was mainly due to the presence of the experienced heads in the team. Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli have seen it all and know how to act when it matters most, but the presence of Medhi Benatia and Rugani in the team has also been crucial.

Benatia has done well with the tough task of replacing Bonucci in the heart of Juve’s defence, becoming arguably the side’s best defender last year. However, the Moroccan’s bad habit of making an occasional mistake in crucial games has proved costly, as his clumsy tackle on Lucas Vazquez resulted in the controversial penalty that crushed Juve’s Champions League hopes, while he was also guilty of losing Kalidou Koulibaly in the penalty area for Napoli’s goal which almost cost them the Scudetto.

And while Juve are still hesitating, if they should keep or sell Benatia, the reports suggesting that Chelsea are close to completing a deal for Rugani should worry the fans more.

The 23-year-old has seen limited playing time in the last few seasons, as he has registered fewer than 30 appearances in each of the last three campaigns. However, the ex-Empoli man has shown extraordinary calm and ability almost every time he has stepped onto the field and, considering his age, Rugani can only get better.

This season Rugani averaged a 90.9% pass success rate, which was the second best amongst the defenders in the team, with only Barzagli topping it with a remarkable 93%. However, considering that Barzagli is 37years old and unfortunately for the defender age has finally started catching up with him, his playing time will probably be very limited next term. This means that if Rugani stays, he’ll be Juve’s most reliable defender to play the ball out from the back.

The arrival of Mattia Caldara from Atalanta will increase the competition for places in defence, but the thought of Caldara and Rugani forming a long-term partnership at the heart of Juve’s back-line is a mouthwatering one. Caldara’s tenacity, aerial dominance and pure physical prowess would be perfectly complemented by Rugani’s composure, intelligence and on-the-ball ability.

And while the Caldara-Rugani partnership seems like a long-term future prospect, the idea of Rugani partnering Chiellini makes sense for the upcoming campaigntoo. King Kong is probably the perfect tutor for fixing one of the few flaws in Rugani’s game - his physicality. Playing more often alongside his veteran colleague would give Rugani the perfect chance to add this nastiness that almost every great defender has in his game. He famously went through an entire season at Empoli without receiving a yellow card, but was that because he anticipated the moves or just didn’t dive in to the at times necessary tackles?

Considering Rugani’s talent, current ability and margin for improvement, the reported €35m that Chelsea are willing to pay for his services are not even close to what he is worth to the future of Juve and Italian football. Moving to the Premier League at this point would be a huge risk for Rugani, as despite his abilities, the chances of him struggling at the start and ending up on the bench at some point are quite big.

According to the reports, Juventus are preparing a bid for Diego Godin and while the Atletico Madrid veteran is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world, he is 32years old. Considering the transfer fee and the wages that Godin would command, such move would be incredibly costly for a player of that age and a huge step back in Juve’s future plans.

It remains to be seen if Benatia stays or not, but either way keeping Rugani should be one of Juve’s top priorities this summer, as too many Italian talents have been under-appreciated and sacrificed in order to make room for expensive foreign player. Therefore, Juventus must not put Rugani in to that narrative. He is just too good.

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Have your say...
All juve needs is a midfielder who has some creativity and a goal scoring threat like Pogba, SMS, Kroos or Modric class. Then Icardi as an out and out striker. We can give Higuain to inter so that they also have a strong team for champs lig and it's beneficial for all serie A teams if we all have deep runs in champs lig.
on the 1st July, 2018 at 6:52am
@New ACM, I don't think Allegri is a reactor. I was one of the people who was up in arms when Conte was replaced by allegri but after 3 months, I had to admit I was wrong and he was a better tactician than Conte. More unpredictable thus difficult to scheme against. Allegri is a consummate coach. All we need is to alter our transfer policy to sometimes refuse to sell stars who want to go and buy new ones to convince them to stay. Al
on the 1st July, 2018 at 6:48am
Allegri is a lineup selector, even sucks at that. He's a reactive manager who gets most of his (reaction) subs wrong but when he gets 1 right he's the hero who saved the day (which he ruined to begin with), he's a fake, surprised not many have seen it yet. Juve are a terrible team to watch where plan A doesn't exist, always wait for opponents to make their move and we'll go from there, put on a super sub or change formation until something gives, no chemistry, no direction, just reaction.
on the 30th June, 2018 at 9:03am
I'm loving this transfer campaign so far. Perin, Spinazzola, Caldara, Cancelo, and Emre Can inn, and most importantly no one is linked with Dybala, as players like Rugani, Pjanic, and Higuain are easy to replace compared to him. I think they will all stay tho. Benatia can leave however.
on the 28th June, 2018 at 2:29am
on the 27th June, 2018 at 3:25pm
Rugani is super talented. Dominant in the air. I think save for experience, he is more talented than Chiellini. He has added some ruthlessness to his game and it would be a big mistake for juve to let him go. Allegri is a superb tactician but sometimes he baffles me. The way he let go of Pirlo in Milan. They way he is not giving serious consideration to marchisio yet khedira should be on the bench and msrchisio the anchor and pjanic be in the khedira position.
on the 27th June, 2018 at 7:51am
Even if Rugani stays mostly on the bench next season, it would be better for him than the EPL. He's still 24, he will get his time. Still got about 10 years in him.

And some people are harsh on him or maybe quick to judge. When was the last time he was a starter for 10 straight matches? You can't say he's the best but you can't say he's got nothing special either.

Though I disagree with the notion that he's special because he's Italian, that's a dumb argument. He's special because he's still young and has great potential that might be the backbone of Juve and the Azzurri.
on the 27th June, 2018 at 7:18am
I completely agree.

Seeing Rugani's name thrown into transfer rumors really annoyed me. I see him, as many others do, as the future of Juve and Italy's defense. Very calm and collected, elegant with good passing ability.

Buying Godin and selling Rugani sounds like a move that other club from the north would do, not Juve.

I really doubt Marotta and Co are this stupid and short-sighted.

If Benatia leaves, get Godin. If he stays then keep everything as is. We got Caldara coming in anyway.
on the 27th June, 2018 at 7:14am
Let's consider CALDARA as the main man, after all he had the 9th best ratings of all players in Serie A.
Higher ratings than any other Juventus defender.

So............ Caldara in for Benatia.

Which equals = a Caldara-Chiellini partnership.

If he arrives, Cancelo is also suited in a defence with 3 players.

Same applies to Howedes if we keep him in the squad.

Barzagli is a very valid second choice.

Emre Can has good experience as a centreback.

If Rugani goes, the future alterego: ROMAGNA.
on the 26th June, 2018 at 9:43pm
juve still in awe of 'bbc' aura. U either ship out barzagli or play him sparingly. Rugani needs 60% playing time atleast or sell him otherwise, thats for sure...
on the 26th June, 2018 at 8:57pm
I don't think Rugani is that great. 35 mil for him, I take it. Caldara and Romagnioli are the future of the Nazionale. Rugani has no spped athleticism, hes soft. I don't trust him.
on the 26th June, 2018 at 8:44pm
If Juve were to get Lewandowski then thats a scary side for the UCL. Still would bottle in the final but it would be a scary side.
on the 26th June, 2018 at 2:18pm
@John Smith

Benatia would go for half that. Unless it's China.
on the 26th June, 2018 at 9:51am
Sell Sturaro for 18 mill, sell Benetia for 28-30 mill and sell Higuain for 60 mill.
Buy Cancelo for 40 mill and Savic for 110 mill.
on the 26th June, 2018 at 8:35am
They should be keeping Rugani and selling Benatia.

Benatia plays well generally, but his list of madcap mistakes in vital moments grows every season.

Barzagli's been given a new deal too, even at his age.

Another problem is the fee. 35m in this market to an epl club? I don't think so. Those epl teams are there to be fleeced, and Juve should be asking for more.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 11:27pm
@anonymous yup word....but Perin could be made #1 if Szczesny has one hiccup or blunder game. His stock has gone in Poland’s dismal showing. not all his fault but still looks like an average keeper now. Juve is at a status now where the #1 needs to be a big name/ up n coming quality keeper...even the # 2 needs to of high quality. IMO not sure Perin is there yet. + Lewandowski is rumored to on Juve radar...but how’d his WC showing go? lol.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 10:27pm
You can tell if a football column is beyond stupid when it calls a ridiculous manager like Allegri "a brilliant tactician".

Everything else went downhill after that.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 9:28pm
Rugie isn't a priority in Juventus' transfer dealings.

Will he stay or will he go?
Either way, not that significant for the Club.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 8:13pm
So in a way i understand if some of you will be upset if he is sold, but all im saying is given the ton load of players coming to juve amd our current roster i wouldnt be too worried about losing one cb.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 7:38pm
I also agree with what you are saying a little juve forever but saying he is too good to let go does not really make sense to me. Juve just brought in 2 italian defenders and were trying for a third in darmian. They are all young and talented and di ciglio is there as well. The truth is we have a lot of talent in the defense and if he and benatia are sold we will acquire adequate replacements no matter what. It also depends on what the club intends to acchieve in the near future .
on the 25th June, 2018 at 7:36pm
If Rugani is smart he will go. Because at Chelsea he will play. Perin also shouldn't have come to Juve. Why to sit on a bench at 25 behind Szczęsny? No way. Juve is not a team you go to as a youngster to make a name for yourself. Atalanta, maybe Roma or you go overseas. But for a young Italian at Juve? No way, you will ruin your career sitting on a bench.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 7:36pm
If Rugani wasn't Italian, he would have been sold years ago. He is already 24 and hasn't showed anything special. We keep hearing that he is the future of Italy and Juventus, but he will end up being another Berardi.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 6:25pm
That's where you are wrong "Anonymous", Rugani is special because he is Italian. Albeit, I do recognize what you are saying, I think that most people, hope that more Italian are given a chance, Juve tend to lead by example, so giving up on Rugani already, may send out the wrong message. Aside from that, giving up Rugani for Godin is a difficult pill to swallow.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 5:25pm
Also i dont know what you are all whining about as usual. Juve will have perrin, berna, spinna, caldara and chiellini representing their NT and who knows maybe even more. Keep up the hating guys as i have said the new season is still 2 months away and the excuses and same lame irrelevant garbage is being spewed already.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 4:54pm
Juve already has caldara who is better. I dont care if they sell both rugani and benatia. Godin, chiellini , caldara and barzagli are more than enough already for next season and they may only need one more player. Dont get me wrong i like rugani as a player but there really isnt anything that special about him. Cancello and spinazzola to sure up the flanks,can and some other top signings, i think its going to be a great transfer season for juve.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 4:44pm
It would be a miracle if we can keep Rugani. As much as I love Juve, Juve's policy towards Italian young talents is a big mess. I would like Rugani to go somewhere else to revive his career, Italy needs him. Juventus keeps destroying Italian talents all year.
on the 25th June, 2018 at 11:32am
I agree with this article. Juve should do everything to keep Rugani and I also thing De Ligt and Gosine are the wrong players for Juve. Invest in Italian youth the same way you will invest in a foreign youth, give the Italian youth their space to play the same way a foreign player gets space and help the Italian notational team, that is Juve’s history, don’t stop now!!!
on the 25th June, 2018 at 9:52am
it is definitely benatia that should be sold. rugani only weakness is that he isn't physical. this I feel is what turned allegri off of rugani. as a juve fan I was one calling for him to start over benatia long time. I think allegri realized this late and gave him the big game vs inter that decided the scudetto race.all that being said u sell benatia and bring in Godin he will be expecting to start alongside Chiellini.rugani may find himself on the bench.maybe best that he moves on unfortunately
on the 25th June, 2018 at 9:18am

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