It’s safe to say that 2019 was Dejan Kulusevski’s year. After making only three appearances for Atalanta last term, the talented teenager not only found his place at Parma, but has also become the Ducali’s most influential player.
Kulusevski’s tally of four goals and seven assists means that he has been directly involved in 46% of Parma’s goals this term. In fact, if we keep digging into his stats, we could well say that the 19-year-old Swede has been one of the best players not only at Parma, but in the whole league.
He currently ranks second in terms of assists (7), key passes (18) and distance run per game (12 km), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Juventus acted quickly and beat competition from Inter and Manchester United for his signature.
The 1.86m tall Swede can cover multiple roles in attack and can even feature as a mezzala, so he could solve several problems of this Juventus team.
Ever since the start of the season it has been obvious that the Bianconeri’s midfield is not performing on the desired levels. Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot have both struggled to adapt to life in Italy, while the likes of Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira provide experience and strength, but not much else.
Emre Can has also fallen out of favour with Maurizio Sarri and has already expressed his desire to leave, so Kulusevski might prove to be very useful as a midfielder for the Bianconeri.
At Parma, Dejan is often dropping deep where his physicality and dynamism allows him to steal the ball and either dribble it out or pass it vertically to a teammate in a more advanced position. This is something that none of the current group of Juventus midfielders has been able to do on a consistent basis, as only Rodrigo Bentancur has shown glimpses of that.
Going further forward, Juve’s attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain has impressed almost every time that Sarri has played them together, but the trequartista position has proved to be a rather problematic one, especially when La Joya is not playing.
By now even Sarri has probably realised that Federico Bernardeschi doesn’t know how to interpret that role and the Juventus boss is not doing anyone a favour by playing him there. On the other hand, Kulusevski has been most effective between the lines, as the Stockholm-born youngster has a remarkable sense for a through ball and this is precisely how he provided the majority of his seven assists.
The Sweden international is equally capable with both feet, as highlighted by the fact that he has scored two goals with each foot since the start of the campaign. This makes him much more unpredictable in comparison to Bernardeschi, and even Dybala, as both players strongly favour their left foot.
Considering Kulusevski’s age and lack of experience Juventus will probably prefer to leave him at Parma until the end of the season and that would be perfect for everyone.
It seems very unlikely for Juventus to offload enough players in January, so that Kulusevski can find space in the starting XI right away, and it wouldn’t make sense to bring him in now and keep him on the bench.
By staying at Parma, the player will continue his development and avoid the risk of moving to a bigger club mid-season, as such transitions often don’t go as planned. The Crociati will undoubtedly be happy with such an outcome as well, as Roberto D’Aversa’s men have a chance of reaching a spot in the Europa League, which would really be extraordinary.
When it comes to Atalanta, the Nerazzurri will get a hefty transfer fee for a player who has made only three appearances for the club and was brought in for only €165k, so Kulusevski would become one of the many smart transfer dealings that La Dea have done in recent years.
Overall it can be concluded that as long as Kulusevski remains at Parma until the end of the season, this deal would be good for everyone involved. Juventus get their hands on a very talented player, Parma get to keep him for a while, while Atalanta register a huge profit.
Last but not least, the chance to work with Cristiano Ronaldo and the other Juventus stars could do wonders for Kulusevski, who has so far been the breakout star of the current campaign.
Image via juventus.com