Juventus announce Gonzalo Higuain signing

Juventus have announced the signing of striker Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli.

Juventus has added striker Gonzalo Higuain to their team. The club announced the move on the team’s official website, stating that “Juventus Football Club can today confirm that it has purchased the registration rights of Gonzalo Higuain for €90 million, payable in two financial years… The player has agreed to a five-year contract with the club.”

This is significant news for an already-talented Juventus team that will now add one of Europe’s most prolific strikers.

Higuain joins from rivals Napoli, where he bagged 36 goals in 35 domestic appearances for the club. He also registered a pair of assists while firing off 5.2 shots per game. The Argentine will likely partner with countryman Paulo Dybala in attack, with Mario Mandzukic providing another option.

Another big-name signing

Higuain becomes the Bianconeri’s fifth signing of the offseason, and all five have been significant. Midfield ace Miralem Pjanic was first to join. He was soon joined by a pair of potentially world-class defenders in Dani Alves and Medhi Benatia. Talented young winger Marko Pjaca was also brought in before Higuain.

Rich get richer

With the addition of the Argentine forward, Juventus have now weakened a top domestic rival for the second time this transfer window. Pjanic was arguably Roma’s best player before joining up with Paul Pogba, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and the rest of the Juventus midfielders. By the same token, Higuain was undoubtedly Napoli’s top performer last season thanks to his prolific goal scoring.

With five straight domestic titles wrapped up, the additions of Pjanic, Higuain and company set up the Old Lady as overwhelming favorites for a sixth consecutive title.

[Related: Signings Could Propel Juve to Champions League This Season]

European glory

With the move, it is clear that Max Allegri and company are aiming to claim Europe’s ultimate prize. Even if Pogba departs via transfer, Juventus will field one of the most talented rosters on the continent. What’s more, the team also had tremendous depth. Simone Zaza and Daniele Rugani, two player who could start for a number of teams in Italy and abroad, are now fourth-choice at their respective positions.

There is also the possibility that Pogba stays in Turin this summer, making Juventus all the more dangerous in Europe.

For more Juventus content, visit Know Hitter’s Juventus page. 

Juventus: Recent Signings Could Propel Bianconeri to Elusive Champions League Crown

 

Juventus very nearly took down Bayern Munich in last season’s Champion’s League Round of 16 tie. While the loss was a tough pill to swallow, it only reinforced the notion that the Old Lady can stand toe-to-toe with the other continental powers in Europe.

If this summer’s transfer activity has shown anything, it is that the Bianconeri have their sights set on the Champions League title that evaded them when they lost to Barcelona in the final two seasons.

So far, Juve have seen Alvaro Morata return to Real Madrid via buy-back clause, while Juan Cuadrado headed back to West London upon the expiration of his loan deal. In addition, squad players like Rubinho, Martin Caceres and Simone Padoin all moved on. Rubinho and Caceres left when their contracts ended, while Padoin was sold to Cagliari.

Morata fell behind Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic in the forward pecking order, while the presence of Simone Zaza made the Spaniard that much more expendable. Additionally, Cuadrado seemed unlikely to stay seeing as the wingback is perfectly suited for incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s preferred 3-5-2 system.

In their place, Juve have brought in midfield maestro Miralem Pjanic from arch-rivals Roma, and defender Dani Alves from Barcelona. In typical Beppe Marotta fashion, Alves arrived on a free transfer.

The Bianconeri don’t seem to be done on the transfer market either. Juventus’ official website announced that former Roma center back Medhi Benatia completed a medical at the team’s health center ahead of a potential move from Bayern Munich.

Additionally, there are reports from Gazzetta World that Juventus could be weakening yet another close rival and domestic competitor. The Old Lady could potentially be bringing in striker Gonzalo Higuain. The report also states that Roberto Pereyra could be heading to Naples. Either way, it would be a fantastic bit of business for Juventus in terms of strengthening their squad.

Should deals for Benatia and Higuain go through (as well as any sale of Pereyra), Juventus will essentially have replaced five bench players (Padoin, Caceres, Morata, Rubinho and Pereyra) with a group of players capable of starting for the vast majority of teams in Europe.

Pjanic, Alves, Higuain and Benatia (when he’s on form) are easily amongst the top 10 or 15 players at their respective positions in the world.

Did I mention Juventus have managed to keep hold of Paul Pogba?

Juventus’ current roster oozes with quality. The vaunted “BBC” backline comprised of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini return, as does the exceptional Gianluigi Buffon. The defense will be joined by the likes of Benatia and the continually developing Daniele Rugani.

On the wings, manager Max Allegri will start either Alves or Stephan Lichtsteiner on the right, and one of Patrice Evra or Alex Sandro on the left.

Allegri will have even more difficult selections to make in the center of the park. Some combination of Pogba, Pjanic, Sami Khedira and (when healthy) Claudio Marchisio will start in midfield. They’re backed up by Mario Lemina, Hernanes, the versatile Kwadwo Asamoah and Stefano Sturaro.

Up front, Dybala, Mandzukic and Zaza return. The signing of Higuain would put Juve’s group of forwards up there with the best attacking units in the world thanks to the stylist diversity provided by the incumbent trio.

It’s been a wildly successful summer so far for the Bianconeri, and it looks like it will continue to be successful as Juve adds more pieces to win in Europe.

Don’t be surprised to see Buffon and the rest of the Juventus squad finally lift that elusive Champions League trophy come next year.

For more Juventus content, visit Know Hitter’s Juventus page. 

Juventus Have Five Players Up for #UEFABestPlayer

Of the 10 finalists for the award for the best player in Europe, five are from Juventus. Gianluigi Buffon, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and the now-departed Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez join Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in the top ten along with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Here are some notable facts to consider.

Only Argentina (with Messi and Tevez) matches Italy in terms of the country with the most players.

There are more Juve players than Real and Barca players combined.

There are five players from the Italian league and only one from “The world’s best league” (The Premier League).

Only one goalkeeper made the top ten– Buffon.

Sami Khedira Signs for Juventus: Signing Shows Juve’s Intent

The fact that Sami Khedira, like Paolo Dybala before him, has signed for Juventus only shows the Italian champions’ willingness to reload and re-launch in terms of winning European hardware next season. Both signings are moves that take the Old Lady “from strength to strength” thanks to loaded player selections in the center of the pitch and in attack.

The signings also give just another reason why Juve decision-maker Beppe Marotta is the best in the business. Marotta has snagged Khedira, Andrea Pirlo, Fernando Llorente and Paul Pogba for free while signing stars Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez, Patrice Evra and Andrea Barzagli on cut-rate deals. You paid more for your last batch of groceries than Marotta paid to sign Khedira, Pirlo and Pogba. There should be some kind of award for that.

Khedira missed large parts of the season for Madrid last term, making just 12 appearances over all competitions. However, when you can sign a player for free who was a regular starter at Real Madrid and won the Bundesliga, the Champions League, La Liga and the World Cup before the age of 29, you know you’ve had a solid day at the office.

The German international leaves a crowded midfield situation at the Bernabeu and joins a midfield grouping in Turin where he will receive his fair share of starts.  

While competing with Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio for starts won’t be easy, it will provide him much less competition than in Spain where Khedira was stuck behind James Rodriguez, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Additionally, Khedira would have had to fight off Asier Illarramendi, Lucas Silva and Casemiro for time off the bench.

Khedira will likely provide a change-of-pace to Pirlo in midfield, serving more as a destroyer to Pirlo’s metronome. He doesn’t possess the passing acumen as his new Italian teammate, but Khedira is a reliable passer nonetheless. The German will likely be charged with shielding the defense as a descriptive force while providing steady passing. He’s not Pirlo, but he’ll give opposing teams something to think about nonetheless.

If anything, the decision to bring in a player of Khedira’s quality to essentially serve as the first midfielder off the bench only shows the club’s desire to not only make it back to Europe’s biggest game, like they did this past season, but win the game—no matter who the opponent.

For more Juventus, click here. For more from the world of Serie A, click here. For more Soccer/Football, click here. For Vine videos (including Champions League highlights and Europa League highlights), click here.

Juventus Transfer News: Potential Oscar Signing Makes Sense

If recent reports are to be believed, Juventus are attempting land Chelsea/Brazil playmaker Oscar in a cut-rate transfer.

Out-performed and out-played by the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazzard and Willian, Chelsea’s number eight could be deemed surplus. Should Juventus land him, it would represent another bargain transfer buy for Beppe Marotta, who has already acquired the likes of Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Barzagli on the cheap (relative to their current value).

(RELATED: Khedira and Dybala Transfers Step in the Right Direction for Juventus)

Oscar provided 7 goals and eight assists in 34 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions mainly as a central attacking midfielder. This is the same position that current Juve midfielder Roberto Pereyra plays.

Pereyra is on loan in Turin this season with an option to make the move permanent at the end of the season. The Argentine’s loan deal in Turin can be made permanent if the Bianconeri cough up €14 million to parent club Udinese.

Reports have Juve attempting to pry Oscar away from Chelsea for what equates to a little over €12 million.

Signing Oscar (who played a hand in 15 goals this season) to replace Pereyra (three goals and three assists) would be a massive upgrade and one that would provide Juventus with the depth to make yet another assault on Europe next season, regardless of how the final versus Barcelona plays out.

All stats courtesy of http://www.whoscored.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Khedira and Dybala Transfers Step in Right Direction for Juventus

Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala have both been linked with Champions League finalist Juventus, and now according to the Guardian’s Ed Aarons, the Bianconeri could announce the announce the signings soon.

(RELATED: 2015 Champions League Final Storylines to Watch: #Juventus vs #Barcelona)

Both are monumental signings for the club and signal a step in the right direction for Juventus. Here are just a few reasons why the signings are good for the Old Lady.

Transfer Fees

Sami Khedira is about to join a select club that features the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Fernando Llorente and Kingsley Coman. What do an Italian, a Spaniard and two Frenchman have in common? They were all signed on free transfers by Beppe Marotta.

Adding Khedira, a player who at 28 has already won the Bundesliga, La Liga, the Champions League and the World Cup, for no money may go down as one of Marotta’s best acquisitions. It probably would have been his best if he, you know, hadn’t acquired Pirlo and Pogba for a combined zero dollars/euros/pounds.

While Khedira is arriving on a free transfer, Dybala’s fee isn’t public knowledge. It’s likely in the €30 million range, and while that may seem like a ton of cash, the soon-to-be former Palermo striker has world-class upside. In five years, he and Alvaro Morata may provide Juve with the most dangerous attacking duo in world football.

If you still don’t like the fact that Juve paid €30 million for a player, just think of Dybala and Khedira’s signings as a package deal. Paying €30 million combined for the two is a steal.

Beating the Competition

The perception of Premier League teams, at least the upper-echelon ones, is that they can buy pretty much whoever they want. These British teams are flush with cash and generally can pry international players away from their old teams. However with Khedira and Dybala, two of the most typed/printed names in the transfer rumor sections, set to join Italian giants Juventus, it represents a major win for Juve.

Both have been linked with big-money spenders Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United with Dybala also being targeted by Liverpool.

Depth

Maybe the biggest positive about signing Khedira and Dybala is that neither represent a current area of need for the Old Lady.

The midfield is set with Pirlo, Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Roberto Pereyra, but Khedira adds extra quality and a player who will push for a starting spot in a midfield that is quickly becoming one of the best in Europe.

Dybala joins a similarly talented attack force that includes the likes of Morata, Coman, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.

It is completely feasible that neither player is a consistent starter for Juventus next season given the talent on the team, but the club will need depth and rotation for a shot at potential back-to-back trebles.

(RELATED: #Juventus Transfer Rumors: Players Who Could Leave Turin in the Summer Transfer Window)

Selling Club

Khedira and Dybala weren’t brought in as replacements for outgoing players and arrived before any departures, signaling that Juve has no desire to be a selling club.

Given the economic state of Italian football, it may not seem like Juve are prime candidates to be a buying club, but that’s exactly what the Bianconeri are doing.

Additionally, the club must have seen what happened to other clubs who made the Champions League final in past seasons and then saw their squads disassemble.

Borussia Dortmund lost Mario Gotze the season after reaching the final and saw Robert Lewandowski leave soon after. The German giants are set to lose manager Jurgen Klopp with Ilkay Gundogan likely to follow him out the door. In terms of the Champions League, they haven’t made it past the quarter-finals since losing to Bayern in the final.

Similarly, Atletico Madrid weren’t the same team this season after making it to the Champions League Final last term. Thibaut Courtois returning to Chelsea was a given after a long loan spell, but Atleti also lost Diego Costa and Felipe Luis to the west London club while David Villa departed for MLS club New York City F.C.

Atleti beat Barcelona by three points in last season’s title race, but finished 16 points behind the Catalan club as they finished third. Atletico also finished 14 points off cross-town rivals Real Madrid for second place.

Even if Pirlo leaves as rumored, Juve won’t lose much of their core, or first team at that. Adding Khedira and Dybala only strengthens the team ahead of next season.

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Real Madrid vs #Juventus Highlights As Interpreted by an Enthusiastic Italian Analyst

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#Juventus vs Real Madrid Highlights As Interpreted by a Studio of Enthusiastic Italian Analysts

For Vine videos (including Champions League highlights and Europa League highlights), click here. For more Soccer/Football, click here. For more Juventus, click here. For more from the world of Serie A, click here.