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Wednesday September 9 2020
Suarez a sideways step for Juventus

Luis Suarez still has plenty to offer Juventus, although a waning physical capacity is a hindrance at the highest level, argues Owen Diana.

The times they are a-changin’ at the top of European football, but Juventus seem content to sit still. Even though The Old Lady have advanced in their efforts to revitalize an aging squad with the summer acquisitions of Arthur Melo and Weston McKennie, those promising midfield pickups will all be for naught if they finalize a deal for Barcelona forward Luis Suarez. While there can be no doubting the Uruguayan’s quality, his incorporation brings the Turin titans no closer to a long-awaited third Champions League title.

Juve’s chase for a new striker has been well documented over recent months, with a host of names being bandied about. It now seems that Suarez is set to sign on the dotted line, and ‘El Pistolero’ has all the requisite tools to forge a strong understanding with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite his advancing age, the Portuguese has not transformed into the penalty box predator that some expected in Turin. Suarez can provide the fixed central presence and canny link-up play that accentuates the virtues of the Real Madrid legend.

Beyond his crucial role in maximizing Ronaldo’s talents, the Uruguayan can also stimulate a shot-shy midfield’s dormant sense of adventure. Aaron Ramsey, last season’s top scorer in that sector, found the back of the net only three times in Serie A. The desire to arrive from deeper positions to finish off chances should increase with Suarez in tow.

Even at 33, the Salto-born bomber is one of the planet’s deadliest marksmen. His 21 goals in 36 matches for Barça last campaign are proof of an undiminished finishing ability, but a deeper dive into Suarez’s showings reveals that his lack of mobility began to hamper his side in meetings with the continental elite.

An insatiable appetite for hounding opposing defenders used to be a hallmark of Suarez’s game, but his legs no longer allow him to harass with the same vigour. Furthermore, his attacking movements are more predictable without the searing pace that once made him a constant threat in behind.

The negative consequences of the Charrúa’s fading physique were on full display against Bayern Munich in Lisbon. The German giants were able to squeeze up into the centre circle and release the full wrath of their suffocating press with no repercussions. Meanwhile, Suarez was unable to disrupt the Bayern backline’s carefully constructed combinations.

Teutonic triumph in the Champions League only reaffirmed the importance of being able to defend from the front. Despite their undoubted brilliance at the sharp end of the pitch, the presence of Ronaldo and Suarez would render any pretensions of collective high-intensity harrying impossible.

As he is yet to make his senior managerial debut, Andrea Pirlo’s tactical persuasions are still shrouded in mystery. However, his introductory press conference suggested that recovering possession quickly would be a focal point of l’architetto’s first construction project.

That Suarez does not fit into that stated aim is clear. Juve’s precarious financial position has probably informed his capture, as the club will only have to fork over a nominal compensation fee to Barcelona. Money is tight, and the exorbitant prices quoted for Duvan Zapata and Arkadiusz Milik put those more youthful options out of reach.

A player of Suarez’s class will expect to be present for the campaign’s most critical contests. Pirlo will use the Uruguayan plenty, but the rookie coach must have the gall to keep him or Ronaldo out for the knockout stages of Europe’s premier cup competition. Otherwise, another desperate drive for continental glory will end in disappointment.

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Have your say...
@ Enzo, I don't see the 4-2-3-1 formation working as Ronaldo won't track back like Mario did.

I'm thinking we would eventually see similar to Atalanta a 3-4-1-2
on the 14th September, 2020 at 6:53pm
Might as well of kept Higuain and made him come in late off the bench than making a move for Suarez at any rate he may not come, Juve have added some speed I would have like to see Kean back instead of a Giroud, Juve are spinning their wheels here as it seems money is handcuffing them time to move the costas ramseys scigilios as they are weight on this squad get what you can and move on for younger talent
on the 12th September, 2020 at 5:09am
I don’t understand why no one in these forms ever discusses a 4-2-3-1 formation, given the squad @ hand. Although it's a terrible shame there are hardly any Italians in the starting lineup, it’s hard to argue that Juve can’t excel in the UCL and Serie A with the following lineup:

De Sciglio, De Ligt, Demirel, Pellegrini
Bentancur, Rabiot
Kulusevski, Dybala, Ronaldo
Spend Largemon either: Lewandowski, Haland, Icardi

Bench
Bonucci, Cuadrado, Bernardeschi, Costa, Melo, McKennie, Sandro
Forza Juve
on the 12th September, 2020 at 3:01am
Well he is overweight, slow and old. At least in this state he theoretically won't try and eat Chiellini again. This could be a bad move for Juve and Italy I he gets hungry again!
on the 11th September, 2020 at 1:59pm
Leave Ronaldo out for UCL knock-out games? Lol what? The guy who has scored all of Juve's KO goals since arriving? The guy who is by far the top goalscorer of all-time in the UCL KO stage?
on the 10th September, 2020 at 7:57pm
They're apparently struggling to find a buyer who will pay the 50million asking price for Costa. What a surprise, who in their right mind is going to pay that in this financial climate. Ship him out for 25million, same goes for Rugani, De Sciglio and Ramsey. Nobody is going to pay top dollar in this market but getting rid of them is essential so just accept a cut price to bring in funds. Remember whoever Juve replace them with is also going to be at a reduced price given the covid situation
on the 10th September, 2020 at 1:01pm
These rumours of Morata better not be true. If Juve can't raise the funds to sign Aouar yet somehow find the money to buy Morata i'll be done with them as a club. Especially if they raise those funds by selling Dybala. They also need to take a harder line with Khedira who is refusing to leave my mutual consent. Just terminate his contract and get him out of the door. It's time to start moving forward.
on the 10th September, 2020 at 12:57pm
@Rosario


That's true. FI have traditionally been just a reporting site, but clearly they've been bitten by the Corriere/Gazzetta/Tutto/SUN/Marca et al bugs so much, they've basically made an entire website out of collating pathetic rumours and hearsay from different trash bins and presenting it on their portal.


Worst of all, they've started forcing utter amateurs and unknowledgeable hacks to pen blogs with "thoughts" which reeks of utterly ridiculous and subpar journalism.
on the 10th September, 2020 at 7:16am
he is still a quality player probably a upgrade on higuian in terms of his abilities. Considering the direction juve are going in it makes sense.

it should be a relief to chiellini he now won't be gnawed at by suarez considering they are going to be on the same team although there is training matches to consider.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 8:47pm
Another slow Higuain. Stay in Spain Suarez. Buy Traore.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 8:06pm
All you've done all summer is either regurgitate rumour rubbish or create woeful rumours. Did the same with Messi and have created one nonsensical article after another on Suarez. The player has laughed it all off, but you keep typing and printing drivel. I've been a visitor to this website for well in excess of 2 decades, but your standards have slipped so much it's embarrassing.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 6:46pm
Juve didn't waste 90M for Higuain, as Pipita secured both Scudetto and Champions Ligue one-offs with $M UEFA reward.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 4:45pm
Suarez is currently better than higuain, so he’ll probably bring more goals. Such a shame for higuain though. In napoli, he was on par with Suarez at his peak. Higuain’s juve is 90m wasted, being ping pong around after CR7 came and now tossed away.
Now how about dybala? his situation is like griezman in barca if forced to play on the right. If it’s 4-3-1-2, CR7 wouldn’t like to play as penalty box striker.
More than CF, juve need another top MF. Why not Aouar or Thiago (1-year contract left)
on the 9th September, 2020 at 3:24pm
I wonder what Chiellini will make of this move
on the 9th September, 2020 at 3:06pm
Yes, he's pretty much useless at pressing but he can still put the ball in the net. Both aspects to his game were on show against Bayern. He'll come in handy over the season + has to be more mobile than Higuian. He'll only be a hindrance if Juve expect him to win the CL for them too! There has to be a plan as they were also after Dzeko but surely they'll have learnt that another aging star isn't ideal for pressing + will go with other options when needed + reinforce further with the CL in mind.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 1:47pm
Theoretically it should be easier for Dybala to play false 9 role. Because before when he would drop deep for the ball an opposing midfielder would immediately close him down since you didn't need to mark Matuidi, Pjanic or Khedira as hard (if you left any of these players free you knew they would pass the ball anyways since they they have zero pace). Now they cannot afford to leave Juve's midfield free since Arthur, Rabiot, Kulu (if in mid) and McKennie can all travel with the ball
on the 9th September, 2020 at 1:19pm
I don't see the issue with this. Yes it's short term but we need experience as well and cannot just go for young players with the highest potential. Pirlo is taking the right approach. Yes, Suarez cannot run like before but Juve's midfield will be doing a ton of running for them. Look at Bayern... Boateng, Muller, Perisic and Lewa are a bit older and not that fast. But look at how much running the younger players do for them and the results that they yield.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 12:55pm
More of a short-term solution for Juve, but he has to be a big step-up on Higuain, who should've been sold 2 years ago

It's hard to believe a club that usually prides itself on the discipline of its players would allow a 90m striker to be overweight for so long

As for the new front 3, it seems Dybala might be out of position again. Maybe Ronaldo further forward, Suarez opposite him, and Dybala middle/deep might be best

As for Serie A in general, there are too many aging players being signed
on the 9th September, 2020 at 10:44am
Dybala has shown incredible patience and loyalty to Juve after being dropped and played out of position by Allegri, attempted to be forced out by the board and now having no faith shown in him as the pursuit of an ageing striker suggests. If I were Dybala i'd be saying enough is enough and leaving, luckily he seems to still be loyal to the shirt and hopefully will sign a new deal.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 8:55am
Nice analysis. However, looking at Juve's attack, I do think Suarez is a fantastic short-term improvement (as he's going to replace Higuain). It's okay to hire a 33-year-old if there's a bunch of young players coming in - so you probably should've mentioned Kulusevsky too :-)
on the 9th September, 2020 at 8:53am
I've seen a lot of Juve fans lauding a potential front 3 of Ronaldo, Suarez, Dybala and like this article states I fear this will be highly ineffective. Not one of those players is capable of high pressing, there is little to no pace and Dybala has shown before that wide right is not his best position. Once again it seems Dybala is being sacrificed and forced to play away from his best position. Why can't any Juventus manager just play Dybala up front for a prolonged period of time?
on the 9th September, 2020 at 8:52am
Spot on, Owen.


When Agnelli decided to give an inexperienced “friend” in Andrea Pirlo the big job, I thought to myself this is a great way to detoxify Juventus, get rid of the ever-present thorns in our flesh and start anew. The signings of Arthur, and the surprising signing of 21-year old Mckennie pointed towards this.


But going for a disgraceful leech like Suarez only points towards dystopian mentality on the part of Agnelli.


I sincerely hope this pathetic transfer doesn't go through.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 7:58am
...provided it's not Atletico.
on the 9th September, 2020 at 5:48am
I really don't get this anymore. Why can we not for once get a top young striker signing. Juve always aims to top European football but you cannot do so without investing in young stars. If Anything we have been selling young stars, the likes of kean, pogba, coman ... Juve is becoming a pure business money making club which is great but fans are sick of seeing them get knocked out of UCL year in year out. It hurts me to say as a Juve Fan that this would be another Higauin like move ... common!
on the 9th September, 2020 at 5:03am

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