Beppe Moratta's replacement must spend at Juventus
Background image: Gabriele Barberis, CC BY-SA 3.0
Juventus enjoy their football at the moment. Their Serie A dominance remains intact after a second-half surge against visiting AC Milan powered by goals from Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean invalidated Krzysztof Piatek's 39th-minute strike. Any combination of three more points dropped by Napoli or picked up by the Bianconeri seals their eighth successive Scudetto.
In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo finally showed his Champions League bona fides with a hat trick in the second leg of the Round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid. They face Ajax in the quarterfinals next week. Life is good.
As you'd anticipate, their defence bosses Serie A, breached a mere 20 times in 31 matches. Re-signing Leonardo Bonucci stabilized the regard, easing concern over Mehdi Benatia's departure. Pairing Bonucci with Georgio Chiellini yielded sweet results for Massimiliano Allegri. Alex Sandro and Ronaldo's Portuguese compatriot Joao Cancelo, who arrived from Inter Milan last summer, provide excellent cover on the flanks.
That said, the squad is ageing. Chiellini is 34. Now 37, Andrea Barzagli will probably retire at season 's end. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Daniel Rugani needs seasoning. Thirty-one-year-old Bonucci becomes the last resort but Juve are aware he struggles without a strong partner. The Italian international admitted as much when he left Juventus in 2017 after being named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
The midfield re-energized with Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can's appointment. Even though Miralem Pjanic is getting on, the Zebras have no worries in the centre of the park.
The attack is a different story. At 34, Ronaldo is a short-term option. Even if we assume that he can keep producing substantial numbers, defying his age, other positions need filling. Juan Cuadrado is 30. The Colombian struggles to find his feet against weaker oppositions. Douglas Costa, 28, has not reached his potential. The Brazilian winger's forgettable campaign offers a single goal in 17 appearances. Aaron Ramsey's arrival is treading water, the Welshman reportedly a replacement for Paulo Dybala. Moise Keane is off to a firing start in the league but has miles to go to prove he's not a one-season wonder. As well, he cannot play on the wings.
Juventus' frugal transfer policy won't do this summer. Seeking out signings for value or on the free with the occasional blockbuster like Ronaldo is all well and good, but the roster needs a good spring cleaning. Unlike Bundesliga cousins, Bayern Munich, Juve's ownership hasn't acknowledged the need for heavy investment. CEO Beppe Marotta's departure makes matters even more difficult.
Options are available to match Juve's ambitions. Samuel Umtiti finds it tough reclaiming his place alongside Gerard Pique at Barcelona. The Frenchman's injuries raise concern, however.
Toby Alderwireld can be had for £25 million. The Belgian international seems the perfect replacement for Chiellini and Barzagli with the immense experience he holds. They can also opt for younger options like Matthijs De Ligt if they're willing to bid against Barcelona.
Offensively, Hirving Lozano and Nicolas Pepe can add firepower. Their pace, trickery and service into the box will keep Allegri happy. Florian Thauvin deserves mention. The 26-year-old can play on both sides. His defensive contribution is precious. As well, the former Newcastle man possesses great crossing abilities. He's the type of value buy the Old Lady loves.
Long story short, defensive and offensive reinforcements are a must next season. Italy's top six gather momentum behind the perennial champions. Even if they can win the elusive Champions League this season, the club isn't the type to settle. Juventus has made a tradition of coming back for more.