Paratici found the spiritual successor to Llorente, a big target man who could hold up play and also fire the club towards a big goal tally, as Mario Mandzukic came in from Atletico Madrid. Juventus began to think about life after Gianluigi Buffon as they brought in a quality goalkeeper as his future successor – Wojciech Szczesny. While all three of the youngsters impressed, they ultimately failed to hand boss Andrea Pirlo the quality he needed to win Serie A as a dismal season saw the team surrender the title for the first time in a decade as they finished fourth. Show your love for El Tri at the next match in authentic Mexico National Soccer team shirts. But the statement signing in defence was Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt – who had just led a young Ajax team to the Champions League semi-finals, dumping Juve out in the process. With Pogba gone, in came Miralem Pjanic from Roma, with the Bosnian midfielder proving to be an instant hit – while Mario Lemina was another squad option in the middle of the park after signing permanently from Marseille. Elsewhere, Juve strengthened in defence with Mattia De Sciglio to replace outgoing right back Alves, while they also splashed out £27m on PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
With Liverpool’s versatile star Emre Can also being snapped up for free, it turned out to be a memorable transfer window for Juve. Buffon also followed Bonucci made his return to the club from PSG on a free, while Portuguese right-back Danilo came in as part of the deal to send Cancelo to City. Pjanic had gone the other way to the Nou Camp for a similar fee, while the club were also able to get Higuain and Matuidi off the wage bill as they joined Inter Miami. Real Madrid exercised their option to bring Alvaro Morata back to the club, while Pogba departed Turin for his United homecoming. He was never prolific in Turin but ended up staying for four seasons – providing 44 goals in total. And in defence was another veteran costing nothing as Barcelona right-back Dani Alves, hailed as one of the best in the world, arrived in Turin on another free. Paratici was looking to work his magic on free transfers once again as he brought in two midfielders – Adrien Rabiot from PSG and Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal. But Rabiot didn’t enjoy the best of seasons at the Juventus Stadium and struggled to nail down a regular place in his first year – often being linked with a swift exit – although he began to settle more in his second campaign.
Juventus won the league and cup double under coach Max Allegri and reached the Champions League final in one of their greatest seasons to date. Coman played 20 times in his debut year as he introduced himself to the world, before being loaned out to Bayern for the next two seasons. I entered Andrea Angelli’s room and I told him, “President, don’t kick me out of this office”‘, he reflected. Angelo Ogbonna – now at West Ham – also came in as defensive cover, playing 25 games as back-up to the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini. The club ended up selling him on to Man City for £60m after a quality season in Italy, and also brought back club icon Leonardo Bonucci after his one year stint at AC Milan. Again, Paratici showed he desire to ensure the club were always covered across all bases, while he also recruited two promising players in teenager Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Bernadeschi – who arrived with a £37m transfer tag. Meanwhile, Juan Cuadrado was a smart loan from Chelsea due to his versatility, while Alex Sandro came in from Porto for £23m to battle with Evra over the left back spot.
That round three months ago was the only held so far in 2021, with others including the Sunset Cup in Florence’s home of Hawaii, Gold Coast’s Snapper Rocks and the the annual Easter Bells Beach Classic, cancelled or rescheduled due to COVID-19. Packed with personal footage, it features the likes of his wedding and him helping out around the family home. The club exercised their option to sign him back, and he scored eight times before being loaned out to West Ham and eventually joining Valencia. The Croatian was one of three signings up front – the second was Simone Zaza, who the club had signed years earlier in a co-ownership deal before he was sent to Sassuolo. Replacements were needed, and Juventus made headlines in their search to find a new forward – as they paid £80m, the third highest deal ever at the time, for Napoli’s prolific Gonzalo Higuain.
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