Premier League giants eyeing Federico Chiesa and Matthijs De Ligt as Juventus mess unfolds - Inside Football
It was thought Max Allegri would come back to Juventus and turn them back into Serie A title contenders, yet so far there is barely an improvement on where Andrea Pirlo had this team at the same stage of last season. Eurosport's football insider Dean Jones takes an in-depth look at the Turin club and hints at possible exits for Federico Chiesa and Matthijs De Ligt.
Juventus players Matthijs de Ligt and Federico Chiesa during a training session
Sitting 12 points off Serie A’s summit and seven points adrift of a Champions League position, Juventus have plenty of work to do to rescue their season.
The fall-out of failing to finish in the top four would be huge, both financially and in sporting terms. The rumours are already beginning over who might leave.
It took a final day miracle for Andrea Pirlo to finish in fourth spot last season and now it is Max Allegri's turn to look for a cure to their failings. It was thought Allegri would come back to Juve and turn them back into title contenders, yet so far there is barely an improvement on where Pirlo had this team at the same stage of last season.
Federico Chiesa and Matthijs De Ligt are the two players being spoken of most heavily in terms of a potential exit at the end of this season if it ends in disaster.
Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern Munich all have eyes on the Italian forward, while Chelsea and Manchester United are keen on Dutch centre-back De Ligt.
At this stage, it is too early to call what will happen in both instances as there has been no firm contact. Yet it is clear there is a watching brief for these clubs - and others - as the Juve mess unfolds.
Chiesa, 24, has a 65 million Euros agreement to complete a permanent switch to Turin following an initial loan from Fiorentina.
His style of play would go down a storm in the Premier League and both Liverpool and Chelsea are understood to believe he has the potential to add a different dimension to their attack as they consider how things will begin to shape up over the next few years.
Sources in Italy say Juve are adamant they will not sell and that they believe Chiesa would want to persist with the challenge of returning the club to the top of Italian football.
Things might look different by the end of the season though. Strange goings-on in football constantly remind us to rule nothing out.
It’s the same for De Ligt. Chelsea are priming him as a candidate to come in next summer with the futures of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta all still uncertain.
He was signed as part of a five-year plan in Turin to become one of the biggest clubs in Europe both on and off the field.
The impact of Covid-19 has been a test for Juve in their grand plan to dominate European football. When they decided to increase the money being spent on the team in 2019, it was in mind to playing catch up with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United and match the profile of players to emerge as a competitive global brand.
Covid means the outlook has changed significantly in the time since then for all clubs, and not in a positive way. One thing that remains is that hopes of winning the Champions League for the first time since 1996 have not improved for Juve.
Massimiliano Allegri Juventus coach reacts during the Serie A match between US Salernitana v Juventus at Stadio Arechi on November 30, 2021 in Salerno, Italy
Image credit: Getty Images
Beating Barcelona to the signing of De Ligt from Ajax for 75 million Euros was a serious sign of intent two years ago yet Chelsea do believe they could prise him away if Juve fall flat this season.
Again, sources in Turin contest that outlook. But time - and money - will tell.
On top of the bad form on the pitch, Juventus’ team offices were raided by police last week and an investigation began into the manner of past transfer activity.
Whatever the outcome of that, it’s far from ideal to the global profile they have been trying to build.
Still, the Italian giants are striving to ensure that all the fear and doom that currently surrounds the club is soon gone.
They are pushing Paulo Dybala towards a new contract and are hopeful to have a full agreement in place very soon, with baseline details pretty much sorted.
Tying him down to 2026 will show the club remain clear in their intent to get back to the top. And in turn that will signal to Chiesa and De Ligt that they need to stick with the plan, too.
Juve have another chance to move forward with their improvements this weekend with a home match against struggling Genoa. Slip ups are no longer going to be acceptable on the back of five defeats from 15 matches in Serie A.
Plenty of the Champions League elite are watching this situation closely in case it all finishes in an end-of-season fire sale.