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Juventus is prepared and ready to announce Dusan Vlahovic, Luca Bianchin of La Gazzetta dello Sport told Max Statman exclusively. The Serbian striker will have his medical on Saturday if he tests negative for COVID-19. Bianchin also touched on Alvaro Morata to Barcelona, Paulo Dybala’s contract, potential outgoings, Nahitan Nandéz and the next big target this summer.
It seems a certainty that Dusan Vlahovic will sign for Juventus and that the total price will be around 75 million euros. When will the Serbian have his medical and can we expect him to hold the Juve shirt?
“I think that today could be a key day, because Juventus will meet Darko Ristic, his agent, who should be in Turin. I’m quite sure the medicals could be on Saturday. The point is that Fiorentina didn’t call Dusan up for the game against Cagliari. We can see it moving all the time. We can assume he has COVID and he needs to be negative of course. In case he’s negative, the medicals will be on Saturday, except anything strange happens today, because Juventus still have to meet his agent.
Everything is prepared and ready for the announcement, but you can’t exclude for 100 percent that something will go wrong, even if we can say that the deal is done for 98 percent.”
So, if everything goes according to plan, Vlahovic should be available against Hellas Verona?
“Sure, he will.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport were the first to report that Juve were going to try and get Vlahovic in the last week of the transfer window. When did you and you colleagues get notice of a potential deal?
“First of all, I have to say that my colleague Fabiana Della Valle was the one to report. The day was last Thursday. We know that something was going to happen and an offer was ready. Of course you never know if Fiorentina would accept, in a complicated deal like this anything could go wrong, but it was big news and on our front page. It is one of those front pages that we will remember at the end of 2022.”
Was the initial plan to buy Vlahovic this summer?
“You can’t say it like that. The situation was fluid as we say. In a deal like this, for a player like that, you can’t be sure of basically anything, because this was just a complicated situation. The relationship between Fiorentina and Juventus, the level of the player, the chances that other clubs from the Premier League and Bundesliga in particular could be interested, La Liga too. What I think that would have happened in the summer regarding the best number 9’s in the world, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappé, maybe Lewandowski, they could be ready to move. Vlahovic has a particular status, because he’s young and going fast, the price is high and everybody knew that. There’s also the fact that he’s going to be out of contract in June 2023.
If you sum all these things up, you can understand that it was too complicated to read in December, November or October. We knew that June was more probable than January because Vlahovic wanted to wait until June. Until December, we couldn’t exclude that Vlahovic decided to stay in Florence and play for Fiorentina for another year and a half.”
With Vlahovic joining, talks of Morata to Barcelona have intensified again. Will he stay this window?
“Morata is probably going to stay, because the deal is complicated. Atletico Madrid, the owner of the player, will not accept a loan to Barcelona for 18 months. We have to consider that Allegri wants Alvaro to stay and Barcelona also can’t sign him if they don’t sell, on loan or with another formula, a player like Ousmane Dembélé.
If you put together all situations, you have to understand that the chances of Morata going to Barca are not so high. In some way, it could be easier if another club from the Premier League would call Juve and propose a 6 month loan. That wouldn’t be a problem for Atletico Madrid and Premier League clubs of course don’t have the problems that Barcelona have.”
Paulo Dybala hasn’t extended his contract yet. We’ve seen claims that his future at Juve has become unsure after Vlahovic signing. What’s the latest news on his new contract and do you think he will renew?
“The latest news is that Jorge Antun, his agent, is now allowed to sign a contract and be an agent in Italy. If you want to be an agent in Italy, operate and walk as one, you have to be registered in an official list. He wasn’t, so he tried to register in the last months. In Italy, bureaucracy is always complicated, so it was one of the key aspects of this deal. Wednesday was the day, so starting from yesterday he’s registered and can be an agent in Italy.
I have to tell you it’s not serious to say yes or no from my point of view. The only serious thing to say is Juventus will meet the agent and talk about the deal. No one can be sure if Dybala will continue playing for Juve or not at the moment. What we can say and what La Gazzetta wrote in December, is that Juventus don’t want to offer the same contract they did a few months ago. He had an agreement with Juve for 8 million euros a year plus two million in add-ons. That contract won’t be on the table next month, so they have to start talking again and find another agreement on other bases.”
Bentancur, Arthur and Ramsey look to be the players with the biggest chance of leaving this week. Will any of them leave?
“It’s too difficult to say at the moment. If I have to bet, I would maybe say they will stay. I think Bentancur will in the end. Maybe Aaron Ramsey in case of an offer. He has the easiest situation, because Juventus do not consider him part of the team for 100 percent. He can leave immediately if a club comes.
With the other players, it’s much more difficult, because Juventus want to find a replacement. They thought about Nahitan Nández and called Cagliari to ask information about him. There’s 4 days until the end of the transfer window, it’s not easy to arrange a double lead in 4-5 days.”
You said Juventus have called Cagliari for information about Nandez. So if one of the three leave, Nandez could be the main name on the list, above Zakaria for example?
“The profiles are different. Zakaria has another level, he is the number one choice for Juventus. I’m not the best person to talk about Zakaria because I don’t know Monchengladbach in details. As far as I know, he prefers to wait until June and choose the destination for his next campaign in the spring. I think Zakaria is the number one option, Allegri loves him and his style of play, but he won’t be available and is probably too expensive now for Juve.
Nandez is another cup of tea. He could be the replacement if for example Bentancur leaves, but I can imagine that Juventus have other options.”
Wednesday evening, you reported that Everton are interested in Kulusevski. What’s the current situation?
“I think this is the typical last week situation, we know that Dejan could leave Juve. Of course it’s not easy to find the right balance between an offer and his desire. I didn’t talk to him personally, but in general from our experience, players don’t like to go on loan for 6 months. They prefer a bigger and longer project. What I can tell you is that for sure if a good offer comes, Juventus will evaluate and then probably accept it.
For sure the feeling between Massimiliano Allegri and Dejan Kulusevski was not so high, Allegri expected more from him. We can say now that he’s not a starter, so he has a good chances to leave on loan or some other option or formula. I think it would be okay for him, he demonstrated to be a really good player with Parma.”
What’s the main target this summer now that a new striker is secured?
“The next target is a centre midfielder, with specific characteristics. I think that Juventus will look to a player like Zakaria in particular. A central midfielder with personality, good body structure and defensive approach, so able to play in front of the two central defenders and recover balls in that big central area. That kind of player, so that maybe Locatelli can play a little more freely and attack.”