When the first headlines appeared that Juventus were in talks for Romelu Lukaku, everyone assumed it was purely a show of spite to cause problems for Inter and their former heroes Antonio Conte and Beppe Marotta. Now it looks as if they genuinely want the Manchester United striker and are prepared to sacrifice Paulo Dybala to achieve this aim.
If the transfer happens, then Manchester United will get a potentially World Class No 10, a man who needs the team to be centred around him, a big game player who can be decisive, but who can also be just as divisive and a little bit troublesome. No, the subject matter isn’t Paul Pogba, so perhaps we will leave this issue for the people in Manchester.
Dybala’s role has been diminished since Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Juventus and the statistics have confirmed that. With only five goals, it has been his worst season in the black and white stripes and many who follow the Bianconeri have questioned whether he really does have a place in this new Juventus. With Mario Mandzukic being generally consistent and flexible, the return of Gonzalo Higuain and the new look Federico Bernardeschi, who has played well in pre-season, is there a place for him?
Maurizio Sarri, however, has hinted that he could play as a False 9, he has also praised the Argentine as being incredibly flexible, but this doesn’t help the situation. It is true that he can play out wide, but how will he get the chance with Ronaldo on one flank and Bernardeschi on the other? There is no doubting his talent and in another team he may well flourish, but it seems his time maybe up at Juventus.
However, is Lukaku in exchange for Dybala really the move Juve need right now?
Over in Milan, Mauro Icardi is training hard on his own, as he is desperate to stay at Inter. It isn’t going to happen, the club have made up their mind and he will depart at some point. It isn’t always easy to put Mauro’s baggage to one side, but when we do, we have one of the most dangerous strikers in Europe, if not the world.
Yes, his wife and agent Wanda Nara is problematic, but in fairness she has negotiated two contracts for him in a public yet ultimately efficient manner. If she were an anonymous old man, we would probably praise her. She’s said nothing worse in public than Mino Raiola and he’s considered the best in the business.
Even so, Juventus have the opportunity to negotiate a deal with Inter that could ultimately see them pay much more (due to their desperation) to get this swap deal done with Dybala. Inter need a player like Paulo, while Juventus with Ronaldo and Icardi would be devastating.
Perhaps the reason that Lukaku hasn’t been mentioned until now is because the deal with Dybala seems confusing. It has been established that perhaps Dybala needs/wants to go and there is an obvious deal to be done, but the move for the Belgian seems odd. It is understandable why Inter want him, he fits that system, he is man who can hold the ball up, but even Beppe Marotta has looked at the price and said: “That’s more than enough.”
Is the Belgian of Juventus quality and is he consistent enough? It is understandable that Sarri wants a man who can get play the role of Higuain at Napoli and become the Capocannoniere, but is this Lukaku? He certainly has qualities, but it’s arguable that playing Ronaldo in the centre would bring you more consistency. It is true that for Belgium he has proved he can perform, but the deal feels like a gamble Juventus don’t need to take.
‘The Old Lady’ are entering a new un-Juventus like era, if that is even a phrase. It is far removed from the efficient winning machine that we have seen under previous Coaches. Now the brand demands attractive football, so here comes Sarri. With this they need a clinical finisher to be the cymbals at the end of the symphony.
Think about this emphatic enforcer, this assassin, this man who gives that second’s silence before the applause… You’re thinking about Icardi, aren’t you? Not Lukaku.