Juventus eventually wrapped up a ninth successive Serie A title but this campaign, the first under boss Maurizio Sarri, has not been without its difficulties.
Five defeats is the most in a league title win since 2016-17 and there have been multiple games where only a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo has spared their blushes.
And so changes, even in a post-pandemic market, feel inevitable as Sarri looks to create a side one through 11 that is capable of producing his ‘Sarri-ball’ philosophy, which won so many plaudits during his time as Napoli manager.
Juventus clinched a ninth successive Serie A title despite an inconsistent 2019-20 campaign
It was not vintage but Maurizio Sarri is now a champion and can go ahead and rebuild this side
Inter Milan under former Juventus boss Antonio Conte will get stronger, as will this current incarnation of Atalanta, who look the biggest threat to Juventus if changes are not made.
While Dejan Kulusevski and Arthur Melo have already agreed to make the move to Turin this summer, who is expecting to be pushed towards the exit in a bid to make space for new arrivals? And where are the landing spots for such big earners?
Sportsmail breaks down this title-winning side and picks out those who Sarri and Co look set to move forward without.
WHO IS HEADING FOR THE EXIT DOOR?
Linked to: River Plate and DC United
The Argentine striker has a contract until June 2021 but it is becoming increasingly clear his long-term future is elsewhere. Four years ago he arrived as the most expensive purchase in Juventus history in a €94million (£85m) deal from Napoli before the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo for from Real Madrid two years ago.
According to ‘Tuttosport’, Higuain is on sale and it is expected his representatives will sit down with the Juventus hierarchy after the league campaign comes to a head on Sunday against Roma. He is courted by River Plate, a move that would allow him to return home and live again with his seriously ill mother, as well as DC United, an American club where his brother is a member of the technical staff. His experience in Turin is likely to end with his third Scudetto and he could be vital in the push for Champions League glory next month. But going forward, his days in a Juventus shirt look numbered.
Gonzalo Higuain looks set to be among the most high-profile departures from Juventus
Linked to: Al Duhail
The German midfielder arrived in Turin on a free back in 2015 from Real Madrid and, like Higuain, he is out of contract in June 2021. His contract renewal in October 2019 was Giuseppe Marotta’s final act before he left to go to Inter. According to publications such as ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’, the club may even decide to cancel the remainder of his contract to save on wages or agree not to earn even a single euro from a sale.
To speed up his exit, the player looks set to not be included in the Champions League list. Khedira is an accomplished professional and even at the age of 33, there would be numerous offers from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, although his dream would be to end his career back in Germany.
Linked to: Wolves
The Wales international arrived in Turin in the summer of 2020 on a free transfer from Arsenal and he signed a €7.5m-a-year (£6.8m) contract until June 2024. Ramsey has struggled to be important in the post-lockdown games. Arrigo Sacchi in an exclusive interview with Sportsmail said that ‘Ramsey’s performance in Turin is insignificant’.
In signing Ramsey, Juventus took advantage of the ‘Growth Decree’ enacted by the Italian government which allows numerous economic discounts for foreign workers arriving in Italy. The bond is that of 24 months: players must stay in Italy for at least two years for the employer to see the rewards.
Ramsey’s situation is complicated because his sale abroad could cost Juventus a lot in terms of taxes and other expenses. According to ‘Tuttosport’, Juventus have offered the player to Wolves given their interest in buying the Mexican striker Raul Jimenez. Ramsey has suffered a number of injuries and is rarely in excellent physical condition at 100 per cent: a real problem for Sarri which could count against the Welshman moving forward.
Aaron Ramsey’s first season in Serie A has been hit by injuries and his impact has been limited
Linked to: Manchester City
The Brazilian footballer is Juventus’ biggest mystery in recent years. Douglas Costa is arguably Juventus’ biggest disappointment of the Agnelli era. Having paid €46m (£42m) to get him from Bayern Munich, the Brazilian has managed to miss 43 games in three years due to 12 injuries and he is now injured again in the most delicate moment of Juventus’ season.
Costa’s first year in Italy he had an average of 37 minutes played per game, the second year was an average of 38 minutes per game and the third year of 62 minutes per game. For a player of such skill and flair that is far too little to justify the fee paid.
Sarri liked to bring him off the bench, rarely ever as a starter due to his frailties, but now offers from the clubs interested in him will probably be lower and lower because no team spends much on the purchase of a player who is always injured or with a strong tendency to muscle problems. Manchester City love technical players like Costa, but this nagging injury risk could have devastating effects on the offer that Juventus will receive. The player’s value is cut in half and the risk is not to earn a lot of money from a sale of a player with an immense amount of talent.
Linked to: Napoli
Juventus chief Fabio Paratici recently told Sky Sports: ‘Bernardeschi is a very useful player, young and Italian. He will be the future of this team.’
However, while these sentiments are strong and decisive, Bernardeschi is an asset that could be the first name to come up in a player-plus-cash deal. According to Tuttosport, the negotiation for the sale of hinges on an agreement being reached between Bernardeschi and Napoli. This season he has played with a lot of continuity in the starting XI. And yet he has done so without being able to demonstrate his talent in terms of goals and assists.
His goal against Sampdoria in the title-clinching game was his first in Serie A in almost two years. With a spot alongside Dybala and Ronaldo in a front three, that’s nowhere near good enough.
Federico Bernardesci (left) scored his first Serie A goal in almost two years in the last match
MATTIA DE SCIGLIO
Linked to: Barcelona and PSG
Mattia de Sciglio, according to the ‘Mundo Deportivo’ and ‘Corriere dello Sport’, is still in the sights of Barcelona and PSG. De Sciglio has a contract until 2022 in Turin but they have more than enough options to sanction his sale. De Sciglio’s problem is the constant injuries that prevent him from being decisive for the team. In three years at Juventus he has played only 42 games, most of them coming off the bench. Purchased for €12m (£10m) from AC Milan in 2017, the player could be resold for about €15m (£13.6m) and such a price is attractive given the constraints of the pandemic on financial resources. He was one of Massimiliano Allegri’s favourite players but never managed to demonstrate his talent at Juventus to convince the hierarchy and Sarri. An almost certain sale this summer.
Linked to: Atalanta and Parma
He is now the fourth choice Juventus goalkeeper despite at one time being deputy to Wojech Szczesny for 12 months. He has a contract until June 2022 but, like Bernardeschi, is being touted as an option in a player-plus-cash deal.
A serious shoulder injury prevented him from moving to Benfica in January 2019. He is now on loan to Genoa but Juventus plan to sell the player to try and raise funds to aid their own business. Atalanta are among the interested clubs if they choose to sell in-form Pierluigi Gollini. Parma’s interest would also be very interesting for him. Juventus tried to include Perin in the agreement for Adama Traore with Wolves, but at least for the moment, that was an offer without interest in England.
HOW WILL JUVENTUS LOOK IN 2020-21?
GK – WOJECH SZCZESNY
The former Arsenal goalkeeper has renewed his contract until 2024 and is one of the leading Juventus players of the present and the future. His starting role is not under threat for the new Juventus 2020/2021 side and he is one of the few who enjoys the trust of Sarri. Szczesny was very important at key moments this season, producing great performances that helped to win the club’s ninth straight Scudetto.
Wojech Szczesny (middle) has consolidated his place in the team and will continue as No 1
LB – ALEX SANDRO / LUCA PELLEGRINI
Juventus do intend to shuffle the pack defensively, with left back one area being looked at. But that being said Alex Sandro’s position still seems very solid heading into 2020-21. The Brazilian was captain for some games this season and it is more likely he shares duties next time round with Luca Pellegrini. Having been a revelation in Serie A on loan at Cagliari, at the end of the season he will presumably return to Turin to compete with Sandro and replace De Sciglio. Pellegrini is physically very similar to Mario Rui of Napoli: small, muscular and very fast, comfortable defensively and offensively out wide.
CB – MATTHJIS DE LIGT
The Dutch star is the new leader for Juventus at the back and has played a fundamental role in this latest title. Unfortunately at the end of the season he will have to undergo and operation on his right shoulder and this will keep him away from the club for about 50 days. He has a contract with Juventus until 2024 and will be the player Sarri and the club look to build a new dynasty around. Recently Marco Van Basten criticised his choice to join Juventus last summer, but he is convinced of his decision and wants to continue his adventure in Italy after his first taste of Serie A success.
CB – MERIH DEMIRAL / LEONARDO BONUCCI
Juventus’ great plan is to promote the young Turkish defender purchased by Sassuolo 12 months ago for €18million (£16.4m) in the heart of the defence alongside De Ligt. A serious knee injury earlier in the campaign blighted his 2019-20 season but back to full health, Demiral is a star in the making. Paratici and Sarri consider the tandem formed by De Ligt and Demiral the future of Juventus and will try to deploy it next season. Bonucci has been the defensive leader, but next season he will be 34 years old and the choice to buy Demiral a year ago reflects the need to find a strong and fast young defender able to replace Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. The club has already said ‘No’ to several British clubs interested in purchasing Demiral.
Matthjis de Ligt had a tough start but has since established himself as the side’s new leader
Merih Demiral is highly rated by bosses in Turin and the plan is to partner him alongside De Ligt
RB – JUAN CUADRADO
Juan Cuadrado has become one of the best full-backs in Serie A for consistent performances and his effectiveness for assists in wide areas. Sarri’s philosophy involves the use of a very fast and technical full-back capable of managing the attack with overlapping and also running into the opponent’s penalty area. His transformation from a traditional winger to full-back is very reminiscent of what happened with Gianluca Zambrotta when Marcello Lippi was on the bench. The presence of Danilo as an alternative is available as a back-up but when fit, Cuadrado has the position locked down.
RCM – RODRIGO BENTANCUR
The Uruguayan player is a favourite of supporters and Sarri who, from the first day of his tenure in Turin, has praised the qualities and determination of the first true great box-to-box Juventus midfielder. Bentancur will play as the right midfielder of a three and will try to achieve greater leadership in the heart of the midfield with Arthur as the anchor.
CM – ARTHUR
The Brazilian midfielder is Juventus’ first major acquisition: he arrives in Turin as a new midfield dictator replacing Miralem Pjanic, who will go in the opposite direction to Barcelona. Arthur was born in 1996 and was considered Xavi’s heir in the words of Dani Alves and many former Barcelona players. His move, other than purely for financial reasons, seems difficult to grasp considering the problems in Barcelona’s midfield under Qique Setien. Pjanic has perhaps experienced his worst season in Italy and his age – he is seven years Arthur’s senior – has suggested Juventus have got the better of the deal to commence the club’s rejuvenation process.
Arthur (left) has already signed from Barcelona in a deal that seems far better for Juventus
Since returning from lockdown, Adrien Rabiot (middle) has been a stand out for Juventus
LCM – ADRIEN RABIOT
Nicknamed ‘mad horse’ by team-mate Blaise Matuidi, the former PSG midfielder is the most improved Juventus player post lockdown. While it was a rocky start to life in Turin, in the end Rabiot helped to add strength and speed to an increasingly aggressive midfield. He has useful strength in his legs and an excellent shot from distance: characteristics that have been missing for much of this inconsistent campaign. He has gone from a superfluous player to an indispensable player in a matter of months.
RW – DEJAN KULUSEVSKI
The Swedish winger of Macedonian origin was the first purchase by Sarri back in January. Purchased for a total of €44m (£40m) from Atalanta, he will be used solely as a right wing in Juventus’ preferred 4-3-3. He will be Douglas Costa’s heir with the Brazilian proving a disappointment once again for the 2019-20 season. Kulusevski became the youngest player in the top five European leagues to score nine goals and add nine assists in the 2019-20 season after impressing on loan at Parma.
ST – PAULO DYBALA / ARKADIUSZ MILIK
Paulo Dybala will continue to be Juventus’ versatile No 9 and, depending on needs of the side, will likely be used through the middle of the attack. But the Argentine is versatile enough to also be played out wide and so a new No 9 seems high up the priority list this summer. Having caused a storm the last time they poached Napoli’s main forward, it appears that is the wishes of the board once again with Milik the man they want to bolster their attack.
There was some talk about pursuing Duvan Zapata at Atalanta. According to Sky Sports, Juventus have reached a five-year agreement in personal terms at around €4.5m (£4m) per year. Napoli and Juventus have a fierce rivalry and shirts were burned when Higuain moved north. With Milik said to be keen to go, it now rests on coming to a deal with his employers in Naples.
Paulo Dybala (left) is a jewel in Juventus’ crown but his versatility means they need a No 9
Arkadiusz Milik has emerged as Juventus’ primary No 9 target to replace Higuain this summer
LW – CRISTIANO RONALDO
Cristiano Ronaldo, even at 35, remains part of the future of the club. With 31 league goals this season he is only one step away from Felice Borel, the Juventus icon who stands as the only player in club history to score 32 league goals in a single season. Ronaldo’s presence is now also fundamental as a leader in the dressing room: he is the team’s biggest motivator after Mario Manduzkic’s farewell and is Szczesny’s adviser when the goalkeeper has to try and save a penalty (as seen against Milan and Lazio in recent weeks).
BOSS – MAURIZIO SARRI
Sarri signed a contract for lowly Avellino 13 years ago and Juventus had Claudio Ranieri on the bench. Today, Sarri is King of Serie A. From 1999 to 2020, the former Chelsea boss has gone from a banker to Italian champion.
Sarri has become in a few years one of the best coaches in the world to the point of coining an all Italian term ‘Sarrismo’, as defined in the Italian dictionary, ‘is based on speed and a propensity to attacking football’. Finally a league title winner but he knows he has work to do after a fortunate campaign where rivals shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.