Juventus are renowned for making smart business decisions in transfer windows by snapping up free signings, producing savvy acquisitions and occasionally purchasing that star player. But ever since the Bianconeri signed Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Merih Demiral and Matthijs de Ligt, the Italian champions have lost their way in the latter stages of this current window.
Selling Moise Kean to English Premier League side Everton was a short-sighted move, with the club management only thinking about financial gain rather than building up a future Italian star.
Juve fans were also anxious when Paulo Dybala looked destined to be in a swap deal with Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, but that move has now faded in the last 48 hours. Of course, you never can tell in the current climate, so sports betting on Dybala at Old Trafford still has decent odds.
However, the transfer that has many Juventini currently bemused is the sale of Joao Cancelo to Manchester City in exchange for €30m and Danilo. It’s like Juventus are content with selling their Ferrari for an Alfa Romeo.
Ditching 25-year-old Cancelo – a key performer for the Serie A winners last season – is a grave mistake on all levels. Danilo, who is 28, has struggled to get playing time at Real Madrid, Manchester City and with the Brazilian national team ever since he left Porto back in 2015. The Brazilian full-back doesn’t even boast the versatile qualities that Cancelo possesses.
Even though the Bianconeri are going to end up with a reported €30m for their Portuguese star, they will still have to end up paying Danilo a hefty €4m wage per season. The only valid reason for Cancelo’s departure to England is that it might be due to personal disagreements with the Juventus management.
What’s also striking about this deal is that Juventini won’t get the chance to see Cancelo in action under Maurizio Sarri’s brand of football. The Portuguese international has the pace, touch, creativity and crossing ability that would unquestionably make him the perfect right-back for the ‘Sarrismo’ style of play. This case can also be applied to the Dybala saga, where Juve tried to sell a creative forward for a less versatile Manchester United striker.
With Danilo moments away from becoming a Juventino, the Scudetto holders need to be aware of the downgrade they are about to commit. There is no denying that Danilo is decent from the defensive aspect – producing good tackles and strong in holding on to the ball. However, the Manchester City defender is not a great crosser and doesn’t possess the mobility Cancelo has driving forward.
The Old Lady needs a full-back with offensive capabilities for this new attacking philosophy, not another defensive-minded option. Juve will now also be left with an older defender, increasing the average age of this already mature squad.
The Turin club is about to strengthen a Champions League rival, with Pep Guardiola realising that Cancelo might be the last piece of the puzzle for his elite Manchester City squad. If Juve are going all out on the European stage this campaign, then selling Cancelo for a benchwarmer is the first ingredient in a recipe for disaster.
Only Juventus in this transfer window have been able to pull off a remarkable signing and then suddenly take two steps backwards in the process. This elusive European silverware dream has turned into an unhealthy obsession – one where Juve have been pushing some of their young talent out the door.