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Juventus

Can Arek Milik replace Juventus-bound Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli?

Jake Jackman

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With Gonzalo Higuain joining rivals Juventus for an eye-watering £79 million, Napoli face the difficult task of bringing in players to try and challenge for the title this season. The market is going to be difficult for them now, as selling clubs know that Napoli have a huge amount of money available in their reserves. This will inflate the fees for their own targets, as can be seen the De Telegraaf’s report that Arek Milik is closing in on a €35 million move to Naples.

Ajax had wanted to keep the striker, but Napoli have made an offer that was too good to refuse for a player they bought just 12 months ago for €2.85 million. The Amsterdam club have a great record of selling players on for big fees, with Luis Suarez, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar notable examples.

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The huge profit made on Milik after a year shows that Ajax did great business just a 12 months ago, ago and it will allow them to make moves of their own in the coming weeks. The Dutch league is not flushed with money and with one or two quality additions, Ajax could regain the Eredivisie title from PSV Eindhoven.

For Napoli, they needed to move quickly to replace Higuain; who scored a record 36 league goals last season, and they will be hoping Milik can help take some of the burden. They may still yet move for another forward to help the Polish international, as he is almost certainly not going to score as many as Higuain has for Napoli over the last few years.

At the European Championships, it was clear that Milik was still raw and he was wasteful in front of goal. For Ajax, finishing was one of his strong attributes, but he struggled to adapt to having less time in the final third at the Euros.

During his two seasons at Ajax; the first of which was as a loanee, Milik scored 32 league goals, a very good return considering his minutes on the pitch. He averaged a goal every 116.9 minutes and contributed 11 assists across the two seasons as well.

The move to the Netherlands certainly helped his game to progress and the improvements were evident at the Euros. He was influencing matches for Poland and arguably outshone Robert Lewandowski, especially in terms of movement and linking up play.

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The 22-year-old likes to drop deep and get on the ball, which is why Napoli may look to bring in another forward to fill the role on the shoulder of the last defender. He played a withdrawn role with Poland, allowing Lewandowski to lead the line and this could be where his long term future is. In those deeper areas, he excels, as he is very good at playing through balls, while he is a threat when he shoots from range.

As would be expected, Milik’s passing game developed a great deal at Ajax, with the Dutch club famous for playing an entertaining brand of football. He will bring that to Napoli and the Italians could be an exciting outfit to watch this season.

Issues remain with Milik and there have been a lot of regular watchers of the Eredivisie shocked by the fee. The Polish striker is talented and is likely to continue growing over the next few years, but he was only the third best striker in the league last season. Both Vincent Janssen and Luuk de Jong were better in terms of goals and their all-around games.

If this deal is completed, he will become the most expensive player in the history of the Eredivisie, overtaking the fee paid by Manchester United for Memphis Depay.

There is no doubting that Milik is an excellent prospect and his performances at the European Championships highlighted that. He was not playing at the top of his game in France, but he was influencing games and a major threat throughout the tournament. A move to a bigger league was required for him to continue developing at a quick rate, as he had already emerged as one of the best players in the Eredivisie.

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The fee is too high for what he has achieved, but the explanation for that could be that Napoli wanted the deal done quickly, in order to get him bedded into the squad before the season begins. It is likely that Milik was always on their list of targets for the summer and the departure of Higuain simply accelerated the deal. He alone cannot replace the goals that Higuain brought to the team, but he will certainly help.


Featured Image: All rights reserved by djemeinema

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Chelsea

Juventus eye up Chelsea’s Gary Cahill as a replacement for Leonardo Bonucci – Should they let him go?

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Cahill

In a surprising news item, The Sun claim that Juventus could look to Chelsea to replace Leonardo Bonucci after the Italian’s move to AC Milan and may target Gary Cahill as a replacement.

The Chelsea captain is currently serving a three game suspension after his red card on the opening day, but the Italian club may be hoping that he has played his last game for the Blues. They are reportedly prepared to spend as much as £16.5 million to bring him to the Juventus Stadium.

That could be tempting for Chelsea given that Cahill is 31-years-old and undoubtedly past his best. With a number of young defenders coming through, including the likes of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen, it could be tempting to cash in on Cahill and give more opportunities for them to develop.

His rash challenge against Burnley also left his team in the lurch and critics have claimed that it was symbolic of how out of depth the former Bolton man is as captain of the Premier League champions. With mounting pressure, he will need to be up to scratch when under scrutiny more than anyone.

However, Cahill was only recently appointed captain and it would send out entirely the wrong message if he was to be sold now. After a disastrous transfer window so far, it would not only be a psychological blow to lose the club captain, but would also leave Antonio Conte with less than a week to replace him.

His experience is also invaluable. Whilst the likes of Christensen may be knocking on the door of the starting line-up, he will need experienced heads like Cahill’s in and around him to help his development to reach his full potential as a Chelsea player in the years to come.

It could be tempting for Chelsea to allow Cahill to move on, and had this move have happened in June, it may well stand a chance of happening. Now with the season under way and only a matter of days away from the transfer window closing, it would be an incomprehensible decision if Chelsea do sell their captain.

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Chelsea

Claudio Marchisio linked to Chelsea – what would he bring?

Jake Jackman

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Marchisio

Chelsea are likely to be active until the final days of the transfer window as they look to add quality and depth to their squad. Antonio Conte currently lacks options outside of his starting eleven and competition is needed if they are to successfully defend their title. Gazzetta dello Sport report that the Italian is interested in signing Claudio Marchisio, who he has worked closely with before.

The midfielder is understood to be unhappy at Juventus due to being a bit-part player under the current regime. Ahead of the World Cup, he wants to play regular first team football and could be prepared to force a move before the transfer window closes. The Serie A champions already have a lot of players in the position and have recently bought Blaise Matuidi, which further limit the minutes that Marchisio is likely to be given.

What would he bring to Stamford Bridge?

The Blues have been criticised for their lack of ambition and poor squad planning this summer, but those will quickly be brushed to one side if they can land Marchisio. Despite having an underwhelming 2016/17 campaign, the midfielder is still regarded as a great player and it would send a statement to the rest of the division if Chelsea manage to bring him to the Premier League.

There is already a working relationship between Marchisio and Conte, which would mean that he would be able to adapt quickly to the style at Chelsea. He understands what it requires to be successful in a team managed by his fellow Italian, while the Blues’ manager trusts the midfielder. That can’t be said about certain other players currently at Stamford Bridge.

It has already been evident that Chelsea are short in central midfield as they resorted to playing David Luiz there at the weekend. The Brazilian played well, but it underlined the squad problems that the club have. Marchisio is disciplined and capable of carrying out a specific role in the team, which appeals to Conte. He can be a creative presence from deep and offers more than Cesc Fabregas does in terms of defensive work. It would be a smart signing if the Blues can pull it off.

How likely is a deal?

Juventus have already lost two important players this summer in Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci. It would be a surprise if they also let Marchisio leave the club. The midfielder could force the issue, but unless Chelsea submit a huge offer, a transfer looks unlikely at this late stage of the window. Conte will want to add another central midfielder, but there are other positions that are viewed as a bigger priority.

Marchisio to Chelsea
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
This one isn’t impossible, but it would take a lot of work to get it completed before the deadline. Perhaps one for a future window.
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Arsenal

Could Arsenal turn to Juventus’ Daniele Rugani to add depth to their defence?

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Arsenal

Arsenal could be set to look for further reinforcements for their defence as TransferMarketWeb claim that the club may move for Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani.

What would Rugani bring to the Emirates?

Rugani is a strong and dominant central defender who is powerful in the air and effective with the ball at his feet. At just 23-years-old, his style is one of composure and calm and that is seen when on the ball as he looks to move the ball out from the back with short passes.

Defensively, he is strong too. Rarely beaten in aerial battles, his height at 190cm helps him to see off even the most physical of centre forwards. Like many top Italian defenders, he is not afraid of a physical battle either and his strength is another asset when he comes up against powerful strikers.

Rugani is also a great tackler. Learning from the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and the recently departed Leonardo Bonucci, he has improved that area of his game and has removed some of the more rash challenges he made as a youngster.

Is a move likely?

For Arsenal, it’s a possibility. Per Mertesacker will retire at the end of 2017/18 to take up a backroom role with the club’s academy and Rugani may represent the kind of long term successor that Arsenal are on the look out for. He shares many traits with the German but is also an improvement in terms of his passing.

Juventus are unlikely to be so keen on a deal though. Rugani was not first choice last season, making just 15 Serie A appearances, but he could step up to fill the shoes of Leonardo Bonucci after he left the club earlier this summer. Even if not, he is still seen a real prospect for the future.

Whether or not Rugani is keen on the deal is likely to depend on what offer of first team football he has in Turin. He may believe that he has a shot at making Italy’s World Cup squad having been on the fringes of the squad of late. Having made only three friendly appearances and having been left out of the most recent squad, that could prove crucial.

 

Daniele Rugani to Arsenal
Reader Rating1 Vote3.1
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Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
Arsenal may well be interested in Rugani, but Juventus will not want to sell. It seems unlikely that the Gunners will fork out the kind of fee required to take him away from Turin.
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