Thursday May 21 2020
The problem with Pjanic

With Barcelona, Manchester United and PSG queuing up for Miralem Pjanic, Livio Caferoglu explains why Juventus aren’t doing more to keep the midfielder.

“If you ask my opinion, I’d like to see Miralem Pjanic touch the ball 150 times per game,” Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri famously declared at his official unveiling 11 months ago, resisting a possible reunion with Chelsea and Napoli protégé Jorginho. Eleven months later, however, and the Bosnian is facing an existential crisis in Turin. Despite his struggles adapting to ‘Sarriball’, Pjanic has no shortage of suitors and Juve don’t seem to mind.

Pjanic and Sarri felt like a match made in heaven. The former Roma star was one of Max Allegri’s most trusted lieutenants, yet never enjoyed continuity in a fixed position. With the tactician regularly switching between formations, the 30-year-old was the first to be shunted around. That all changed when Allegri’s successor arrived from Chelsea, vowing to entrust Pjanic with the keys to the Old Lady’s midfield as its deep-lying playmaker.

“My teammates always look for me and I like that,” he said of his new role. “Playing under Allegri was completely different, we immediately looked to get the ball wide. Now it’s different. In the last few games I’ve tried more forward passes, but it all depends on what the coach asks of me. I want to get to 150 touches per game. I want to be one of the best midfielders in the world. I’m playing for one of the best teams in the world.”

The early signs were promising. Pjanic had 127 touches during Juve’s 2-0 victory over SPAL on September 28. And when he wasn’t involved against Genoa a month later, the Old Lady tussled and toiled, only winning 2-1 through Cristiano Ronaldo’s controversial late penalty. “We missed his quality, of course, but also his rhythm because he moves the ball fast and our play becomes quicker as a result,” Sarri admitted after the game.

Then there was the Supercoppa against Lazio. The first Final of the season, Juve lost 3-1 to Lazio and their midfield crumbled with Pjanic at the heart of it. Another poor performance followed against his former club Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League and he was dropped by Sarri for the first time during the Bianconeri’s 2-0 win against Inter. Rodrigo Bentancur came of age as the replacement ‘regista’ to leave his teammate in limbo.

It has become apparent since the turn of the year that Pjanic is not a long-term solution for Sarri. Too slight to impose himself as a defensive midfielder, too slow to release the ball and not athletic enough to play further afield, it begs the question as to why Barcelona are so keen to bring him to Camp Nou or why Paris Saint-Germain would want to add him to their stable of superstars. Chelsea have seen the light, rightfully seeing no reason to swap him for Jorginho, while Manchester United remain interested in a Paul Pogba scenario.

The Catalans were reported to have clinched an improbable deal for the set-piece specialist, receiving him, Mattia De Sciglio and €25m for Nelson Semedo. That was then shot down by Juve’s demands for Arthur Melo on top of the right-back. Arthur is considered expendable by Barca, even if he is considered the closest thing they have had to Xavi Hernandez since the Spaniard himself. His loss would be Sarri’s gain. A huge gain, at that.

Pjanic remains a class act, but his best days in black and white are certainly behind him. He has been a loyal servant, with over 150 appearances, three Scudetti and a Champions League Final under his belt, but Juve now need to move on. He has been their past and present, but he can’t be their future.

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Have your say...
Unfortunately, I agree that it's time for us to find an alternative solution to Pjanic. He has a lovely touch, a good workrate, & immense quality & accuracy, especially from free-kicks, & is a great passer & striker of the ball. However, as much as every coach wants him to be a regista, the role doesn't siuit him, as he isn't dictating play & panics under pressure. His best roles are as a mezzala or number 10, where his shooting from range, late runs & eye for the final pass are best utilised.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 5:19pm
@Pinturicchio, you need help. You really do. Your life must be sad and boring. What a jerk.
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 5:18pm
@Pinturicchio, Yes, you really elevate the discussion with your name-calling. It's a known fact intellectuals resort to defamation. Even Hegel and Lacan were known for their profanities.

I really do hope it's your last comment. Your pervasive negativity won't be missed.
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 2:13pm
(Part 2/2)

Unlike you, I grew up watching Juventus with top talents, and even the least talented players would regularly perform well (Maresca, Miccoli to name a few). My Juventus swapped Baggio with Del Piero, and Zidane with Nedved, and still were world beaters. I can't help think you love Amauri and Iaquinta more. Good 4 You.

@Burndt Dumb Whatever - do you expect everyone to know whatever horrible music you find palatable? Seriously, you're the worst delusional lightbulb ever.
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 10:56am
This will be my last comment, seeing as I don't want to dumb myself down to idiocy displayed by Zambrotta84 and that troglodyte Burndt Whatever. Cuadrado can underperform once, twice, ten times, over and over again... and yet there is no palpable difference in his commitment or performance. He doesn't add anything valuable, and he brings down the quality of the entire team with his displays. It's a sham that CR7 has to play with a horrible player like Cuadrado (Part 1/2)
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 10:50am
1.Take pjanic and sarri both out.2.sell pjanic for 89 million gold coins as hes'a primapunta; nobody will mind having him.3.retire him out as a general he was at roma . . .
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 7:00am
Oh sad lonely @Pinturicchio doesn't know Burndt Jamb is a lovely song by Weezer. And hell no I didn't feel offended by your intelligent words on Juve's players. I actually pity your childish manner and your full of anger personality.
on the 23rd May, 2020 at 5:59am

See, that's a review. Not calling him a moron, which he isn't by the way. I've seen a few interviews with him, and he's actually a very humble guy.
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 9:08pm
@Pinturicchio, I didn't get offended. I pitty acerbic people like you. So do probably most people here. I've never read one nuanced, constructive, or positive comment by you. Never anything insightful or even vaguely intelligent either.

Calling Juan Cuadrado a moron isn't a review of his performances; it actually is a random attack. I'm not a fan of Cuadrado either. His performances are frustratingly irregular, he rarely puts in a good cross and goes down way too easily. 1/2
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 9:07pm
Oh boy, snowflakes like Zambrotta84 and a crackhead like Burndt Jamb (LMAO who let you on the Internet with that pathetic name?) got offended...

Would I have the guts to say this to their face? Again, if you can't play well, and your performances don't help my team, you will be heckled and booted. If they can't handle criticism, then they - and both of you - can go very in your pillows.

PS: In case you're mistaking my reviews of their performance to be ad hominem attacks - you guys need help
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 11:27am
pjanic and rabiot has been the worst midfielders for juve this season. the stats show some of it.
Pjanic 22 games, 20started 3 goals 2 assists
Bentancur 19games, 15started, 0goals,8 assists
Matuidi 23games,18 started,0goals, 2assists
Ramsay 15games, 9 started, 3goals, 1 assist
Bentancur has 8 assists, matuidi game is for workrate and defensive plays but he has the same assist as pjanic. ramsay played out of position but has good stats. we must get Pogba. I put up pjanic/costa/sandro on table
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 8:53am
@Pinturicchio, buy yourself a dictionary and look up the words nuanced and positivity.
A life led bitter isn't a life worth living.
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 8:17am
I don't get all this negative talk around Pjanic. Yes he is bad this season but doesn't mean he's crap. There are various reasons why he doesn't perform good. Maybe tactics don't suit his style of play or maybe it's just tiredness. The point is, It's just temporary. Im sure Juve can handle this situation for win-win solution.

@Pinturicchio, I dare you say those words to Pjanic and Cuadrado's face. Actually you're useless and moron with all your offensive words to FI but yet you're still here.
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 6:26am
@ Marco. I believe all the top clubs are to blame for letting verratti leave Italy. It’s not as if juve was the only team he could have gone to. He was purchased for 12 or 13 mil lol.
on the 22nd May, 2020 at 12:08am
Marco, you misspelled "underrated". Also, you probably meant "He impressed me since day one"...
So many mistakes in your writing, people will misinterpret you believe Pjanic is a bad player..! :)

Seriously guys, he featured in Serie A Team of the Year for:
You are insulting Seria A with your comments. Show some respect like Zambrotta84 & CG --Mire still plays for you!
He's a great player, beautiful passer. (Too bad Crybaby Ron hoards all freekicks to himself.)
on the 21st May, 2020 at 10:17pm
2. Then they should go all out for a pacey energetic rb, Hakimi would be the perfect choice but it's unlikely Real would let him go easily so Semedo or Pereira would fit the bill and be less expensive options. Depending on who else is sold that would leave the squad looking extremely strong with possibly only a young replacement for Higuain required
on the 21st May, 2020 at 9:30pm
1.If Juve could sell Pjanic and get Arthur that would be fantastic business! But seeing as Arthur doesn't seem to want to come then Aouar or Tonali would be ideal. If Juve could then swap Rabiot + Ramsey or Rabiot + 40million for Pogba then all of a sudden a central midfield of Pogba and Bentancur either side of Aouar or Tonali would be world class with a great mixture of technique and physicality.

If Pog ends up at Madrid or PSG then SMS from Lazio would fit the same profile
on the 21st May, 2020 at 9:27pm
Old story but Pjanic's career was over the moment he decided to play for Allegri. Instead of allowing him to play further up the pitch in his natural strengths, he tried to mold him into a defensive mid. Truth be told he did it to the entire team, Manzu included. Juve has been sorely mismanaged and coached in the middle of the park for many years now. I only hope Sarri can desperately improve the team with the right mix of players in this area.
on the 21st May, 2020 at 7:52pm
How fortuitous that two of the most insanely idiotic and overrated garbage players of Juventus' squad from the past 5 years are shown together in this editorial's photo - Miralem "useless" Pjanic and Juan "moron" Cuadrado.

They have different characteristics, but basically are objects from the same class - useless junk. They add nothing valuable, are horrible liabilities and are deadweights which reduce Juventus' quality in crucial moments.

We'd do great to get rid of both of them ASAP.
on the 21st May, 2020 at 1:26pm
It pains me to admit this, but this article is correct. I was absolutely overjoyed when Pjanic arrived, and he has not totally disappointed, but I think Juve got the best out of him, and now need to take a step up, to take their midfield to the next level. I haven't seen enough of Arthur to know whether he is the one, but some fresh, skilful legs in the centre mid would be good right now.
on the 21st May, 2020 at 1:07pm
I watched pjanic is some of the biggest games. vs real madrid in the c.league final, isco ran rings around him in midfield. a game that was open that u thought he would dominate. vs ajax in both legs was horrible going up against youngster de jong and van der beek. he don't defend either overrated. worst thing sari could do now is put him back in the starting lineup. bentancur is a better all-round midfielder than him and fits perfectly into sarri system.
on the 21st May, 2020 at 12:48pm
The most overrated midfielder in Serie A. He has not impressed me once at Juve. Juve should have invested in Verratti over him..
on the 21st May, 2020 at 10:05am
People have been too harsh on Pjanic. He's played almost every game for years, often being our best performer in midfield. I think the last few months he was tired.
That being said, at 30 years old, his value will drop soon, so if the club want to sell and reinvest, this is the right time.
on the 21st May, 2020 at 8:17am

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