Juventus Carlos Tevez Replacements: RVP, Cavani, Higuain, Dybala

Recent reports have linked Juventus striker Carlos Tevez with an early return to his old club Boca Juniors. Tevez wants to finish his career with Boca and there is speculation that it’ll happen after his contract expires following next season.

Carlitos has been superb for the Bianconeri this season with 26 goals and eight assists in 27 appearances across all competitions. While he recently “rubbished” those rumors, Juve will need a replacement, especially if they hope to build on their ever-improving European success of this season.

Juve have a star in Alvaro Morata who will be a full-time starter next season, but with Fernando Llorente underperforming and likely to be sold, coupled with Kingsley Coman not being quite ready to log heavy minutes, the team will need someone to step in for Tevez should the Argentine depart.

With bonus money from Juve’s Champions League run coupled with cash from player sales, the Old Lady will have money to spend during the upcoming summer transfer window. If they need to find a replacement for Tevez, here are some options.

Gonzalo Higuain  

With Rafa Benitez potentially exiting, Higuain could follow his manager out the door. Reports have linked the former Real Madrid star to Arsenal as well as Juve.

The Argentine has accumulated 23 goals and eight assists in Naples across all competitions, so he obviously has a track record and is comfortable with Serie A.

A pairing of Higuain and Morata would certainly be exciting to watch and would strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. The pairing would also give Real Madrid a look at what they’re missing. Los Blancos are obviously better off with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, but the new-look Juve attack would show a little of what could have been.

Higuain’s exit coupled with Benitez’, could signal the end of a once-promising era for Napoli. The club invested a heavy amount of cash in the first team, but never overtook Juventus or made much noise in the Champions League. Napoli currently sit in Europa League spot in the standings and it’s not inconceivable that they slip even further. This lack of success could mean the end of Higuain’s time in southern Italy.

Simone Zaza

Zaza was a Juve-owned player until he was sold to Sassuolo where he has gone on to net nine goals in 24 appearances. He also has an assist.

The striker has also opened his scoring account for the national team with a goal for the Azzurri in a European qualifying match against Norway. Juve will have to ward off interest from other interested clubs due to the player’s young age (23) and potential. However, the Bianconeri have a buy-back clause, similar to the situation with Real Madrid and Morata.

Robin van Persie

The Dutch forward has netted ten goals and handed out two assists for Manchester United this season, but could find himself on the way out at the club. Manchester United have long been linked to Dutch attacker Memphis Depay and are bound to be linked to a number of other elite players in a bid to improve the club.

This means that van Persie, along with Javier Hernandez, Nani and Radamel Falcao, could be offloaded to make room.

The Dutchman nearly joined Juve in 2012, but if available at a cut-rate cost, may go through with the move to Turin this time around. He’s been linked to Juve on a free transfer, and while he wouldn’t be the tireless, ground-eating machine that Tevez is, he would score a load of goals, some which would probably be quite spectacular.

Paulo Dybala

Another Argentine, Dybala is one of the more coveted young footballers in European football and looks set to leave Palermo after the current season ends.

The forward has 13 goals and 10 assists in 30 appearances for the Sicilian club. He’s been linked to a who’s who of elite clubs, specifically in the Premier League, and will cost Juve a large sum of cash, likely similar to the total they spent on all of their new arrivals this season.

The question becomes whether the fee is worth it for a largely unproven player, or if Juventus would be better off investing elsewhere. Juve reportedly have a deal in place, but it remains to be seen if this Argentine will move to Turin thanks to interest from a host of other clubs.

Radamel Falcao

Juve have been linked to Falcao before, but the forward never made the move. Similar to Robin van Persie, the Columbian may be available on a cut-rate deal after struggling on loan at Manchester United. Monaco may be willing to distance themselves from the once prolific hit-man and may sell. After all, they did loan him to United before the season despite having Champions League football on the docket.

With Juve and Monaco meeting in the Champions League, the Bianconeri have stepped up their interest once again. Despite the dip in form, Falcao hasn’t turned 30 yet and could have a few good years left in him.

Juventus have had success raiding Manchester for talent in the past with Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra and Tevez all turning around their careers in Turin—is Falcao next?

Domenico Berardi

Similar to Simone Zaza, Berardi is a player currently in a Sassuolo shirt who could be wearing the black and white of Juventus next season. Where he differs from Zaza is that he is actually owned by the Old Lady and wouldn’t require a buy-back fee.

The attacker has 11 goals and six assists for Sassuolo this season and would give Max Allegri the tactical flexibility that is so vital to Juve thanks to his ability to play out wide on the right.

Berardi is only 20, and if he can break into and contribute to Juve’s first team next season, he’ll provide a pillar for the team to build on for the future along with Morata, Pogba and Coman.

Also, excuse the music please…

Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has some rather curious stats. The striker has scored six goals in nine Champions League games, which is a positive and quite the achievement against Europe’s best, but he’s only scored nine times in Ligue 1.

Like many players on this list, he’s been linked with a move away from the French capitol, and Juve have rumored interest. Like Robin van Persie, he may be sold to make room for new additions.

The Uruguayan hasn’t been himself when playing out of position (out wide) for the Parisians, but would nonetheless cost a pretty penny. Pairing him with Morata would be exciting, but Juve must be careful if Tevez sticks around for another year. Morata can’t spend a full season on the bench behind Cavani and Tevez while Cavani can’t continue to toil away on the wing. Needless to say there would be some issues.

Ciro Immobile

This is pure speculation on my part, but Immobile might be a fit back in Serie A. He’s struggled to acclimate to the Bundesliga and may be better suited back in Italy. The World Cup veteran only has three goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances.

With Jurgen Klopp leaving Dortmund and the possibility that Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus could follow, there could be a lot of change in terms of the German giants’ first team.

Dortmund may be inclined to an offseason rebuild instead of going forward with the same, especially with a new coach. Because of this, and the potential departure of some of their biggest stars, Dortmund may be willing to sell Immobile, especially considering he’s been a flop in the Bundesliga.

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

For more Juventus, click here. For more Soccer/Football, click here. For more from the world of Serie A, click here.

Juventus Potential Carlos Tevez Replacement: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has some rather curious stats. The striker has scored six goals in nine Champions League games, which is a positive and quite the achievement against Europe’s best, but he’s only scored nine times in Ligue 1.

Like many players on this list, he’s been linked with a move away from the French capitol, and Juve have rumored interest. Like Robin van Persie, he may be sold to make room for new additions.

The Uruguayan hasn’t been himself when playing out of position (out wide) for the Parisians, but would nonetheless cost a pretty penny. Pairing him with Morata would be exciting, but Juve must be careful if Tevez sticks around for another year. Morata can’t spend a full season on the bench behind Cavani and Tevez while Cavani can’t continue to toil away on the wing. Needless to say there would be some issues.

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

For more Juventus, click here. For more Soccer/Football, click here. For more from the world of Serie A, click here.

Check out more potential Carlos Tevez replacements in Simone ZazaGonzalo Higuain,Paulo Dybala, Radamel Falcao, Domenico Berardi and Robin van Persie. 

World Cup 2014: Positives from Italy’s Campaign

Italy didn’t experience the best of World Cups – not by their own prestigious standards, or the standards of anyone else for that matter. The Azzurri were eliminated in the group stage with one win and two losses to show for it. One of those losses was to an underrated Costa Rica side, the other loss was marred by near-cannibalism. Regardless, Italy didn’t just miss out on the knockout rounds because of a singular incident (although you could make a case with Suarez’ bite…)  they looked slow and uncreative at times.

Once you get past these maladies, there were some bright spots to be had. Here are a few of them.

Matteo Darmian

The 24 year old Torino right back burst onto the scene in his competitive debut for Italy, combining with Antonio Candreva to terrorize England down the right flank in both team’s opening game. Darmian looked solid defensively as well and was one of six Italians to start every game. The others? Established starters Claudio Marchisio, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli. That’s pretty good company for a player who made his international debut just weeks before the tournament began. The performance helps Darmian even more so because it solidifies his hold on the position. With Ignazio Abate unable to hold down the position and Christian Maggio getting older, Italy may have found their right back for the next eight years.

Salvatore Sirigu

At age 36, captain Gianluigi Buffon doesn’t look like he’s slowing down, but at some point he won’t be around to mind the net for the Azzurri. For a while, no keepers embraced the mantle of Buffon’s successor. At one point in time, you could have pegged it on Marco Amelia or Federico Marchetti, but both have fallen by the relative wayside. Now the title firmly belongs to Salvatore Sirigu. The 27 year old shot-stopper is already a full-time starter at French giant PSG, arguably one of the top clubs in the world. Winning games in Ligue 1 and the Champions League is one thing, but winning and playing well at the international level is a completely different animal. Sirigu, starting for an injured Buffon, performed admirably against England in Italy’s win. He looked solid in goal all game, and would have kept a clean sheet had it not been for a smash of a goal from Daniel Sturridge that few goalkeepers could have stopped.

Marco Verratti

Another member of the Italy’s “heir-apparent club” is Verratti. Like his PSG teammate Sirigu, is the long-term replacement for another Azzurri legend, Andrea Pirlo. Unlike Sirigu in goal, you can play more than one midfielder in a game, so Verratti is afforded the rare opportunities to play alongside the man he may one day replace. At 21, he was arguably one of Italy’s best and most consistent players at the World Cup. Like Pirlo, he is a superb passer and regularly is handed starts at the club level ahead of the likes of Javier Pastore and Yohan Cabaye.

Giuseppe Rossi

This isn’t fair, Rossi didn’t make the team that went to Brazil. Nonetheless, he remains a bright spot. Why? Because of the role he will play in the future after Italy’s attacking options faltered in South America. Of the five forwards Cesare Prandelli brought to the World Cup, Alessio Cerci and Lorenzo Insigne only made two substitute appearances. Besides those two, you had the trio of Ciro Immobile, Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli. Immobile, still only 24, looked nothing like the goal-scorer he was at Torino. Cassano looked exceedingly sluggish and seemed to struggle physically. Balotelli’s play meanwhile was once again, mercurial. Except this time, it took a downward trajectory as opposed to his previous positive displays in an Italy shirt. After scoring against England, he was relatively quiet and missed a key chance to score versus Costa Rica. However, his yellow card against Uruguay changed the game in a bad way for the Europeans. This meant, if Italy advanced, they would have been without their most dangerous striker. On top of that Prandelli took him out to avoid going down to ten  men only to see the referee give Claudio Marchisio a straight red a few minutes later. The point I’m making with Rossi is that none of Italy’s strikers wowed anyone in Brazil. Together they managed just a singular goal. Teams need goals to win, and Italy needs players who can get them those goals. Sure, the Azzurri have a superbly talented group of midfielders who can score, but the team needs strikers who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net. They know that they have that in the New Jersey born Rossi.

FC Porto: Forming a Starting XI of Players Sold Over the Past Five Years

Portuguese giants Porto are the model of a “feeder club.” They churn out wildly productive players and sell them to other clubs for massive profits. All this while maintaining their status of being one of the more consistently winning clubs in Europe.

FC Porto have even supplied coaches to some of top teams on the continent as Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho have left The Estádio do Dragão for new pastures.

Here is a starting XI of the best players to leave the Portuguese club in the last five years-

Goalkeeper: Rafael Bracalli

This is the toughest one on the list, mainly because Porto has employed Helton at the club since 2005. The Brazilian has been team captain since 2009, so all the goalkeepers to leave in the last five years have been a stream of back-ups. Rafael gets the nod due to his move to the Greek League, a higher level league than the other departed keepers.

Left Back: Ally Cissokho

The current Liverpool player (on loan from Valencia) was only at the club for a brief spell, but helped them push a Ronaldo-led Manchester United to the edge in the Champions League while also achieving the Portuguese double. After a failed transfer to AC Milan, Cissokho moved to Lyon.

 Center Back: Bruno Alves

Portuguese national team mainstay Bruno Alves spent nine years at Porto, highlighted by a Primeira Liga Player of the Year honor in 2009. He would later move to Zenit St. Petersburg in 2010. He now plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey.

Center Back: Nicolas Otamendi

Argentine international Otamendi is the most recent player to leave Porto on this list. Valencia bought him at the beginning of February and loaned him to Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro. He’ll likely feature for Argentina at this summer’s World Cup.

Right Back: Miguel Lopes

Lopes spent loan spells with European clubs such as Braga and Real Betis before moving permanently to fellow Portuguese giant Sporting CP in a swap for Russian midfielder Marat Izmailov. He’s currently on loan at Cissokho’s former club, Lyon.

Center Midfield: Joao Moutinho

Moutinho is one of the better box-to-box midfielders in the world. Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, he headlines the Portuguese national team’s attacking force. Along with another player on this list, attacker James Rodriguez, he moved to AS Monaco last summer.

Central Midfield: Fredy Guarin

Columbian international Fredy Guarin is another supremely talented box-to-box midfielder to leave Porto recently. Currently plying his trade with Serie A giant Inter Milan, who he initially joined on loan in 2012, he will by vital to Columbia’s hopes at the World Cup.

Central Midfield:  Lucho Gonzalez

Gonzalez gets the nod over Diego and Raul Meireles based purely on the higher fee he fetched when he left the club. The current Al Rayyan player spent two different spells at Porto, winning numerous trophies in the process. He moved to Marseille in 2009 before returning to Portugal in 2012.

Left Forward: James Rodriguez

Rodriguez moved to Monaco with Moutinho for an obnoxious amount of cash, reportedly 70 million euros combined. The principality-based club brought in the two, along with ex-Porto star Radamel Falcao, in their pursuit of Champions League football.

Center Forward: Radamel Falcao

Lissandro Lopez was also in consideration for this spot on the list, but Falcao’s goal scoring prowess gives him the edge. He left Portugal for Atletico Madrid before moving to Ligue 1 this past offseason. Like Guarin and Rodriguez, if healthy, he’ll be a key player for Columbia at the World Cup.

Right Forward: Hulk

The only player on this list to share a name with one of the Avengers, Brazilian international Hulk moved to Zenit, where he currently plays. He is a starter for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazilian squad.

These players represent what could have been for Porto. While they may be missed at the Portuguese club, they were sold for tons of money. And everybody likes money.