Grading Marko Pjaca’s transfer to Juventus
Juventus have continued their incredibly aggressive summer transfer campaign, snapping up 21-year-old Croatian winger Marko Pjaca for €23 million from Dinamo Zagreb to further bolster their attack.
The Bianconeri have already confirmed the signings of Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic and Mehdi Benatia, and this is just another step toward the 5-time consecutive Serie A champions’ desire to make an impact far beyond just the Italian shores.
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Marko Pjaca only played limited minutes in this summer’s European Championships, but he introduced himself to the world with a dazzling display in his one start against Spain, tormenting Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran, completing an absurd 7 out of 8 take-ons, and generally just behaving like a schoolyard bully with the principal on vacation. Pjaca’s name was immediately linked to a host of clubs like Liverpool, Milan and Juventus, but the Turin giants were eventually the ones to land the young attacker.
Standing 6-foot-1-inch, Pjaca is more robust than most typical wingers, often strong-arming physically smaller fullbacks, or using his searing pace to simply run by them. A right-footed player, Pjaca typically prefers to operate on the left side of midfield, cutting infield to unleash powerful strikes at goal. A relatively single-minded player, and Dinamo’s main man, Pjaca is accustomed to taking matches into his own hands, and could be described as a selfish player, often preferring to take defenders on rather than play the neat combinations Juventus have become synonymous with in recent years.
Though he does prefer to play on the left wing, Pjaca can operate on the right side of midfield, as a second striker, or even a trequartista tucked in behind a target man or striking pair. Not a direct replacement for Alvaro Morata, Pjaca’s arrival could signal a change in tactics for Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, or simply an additional option for the former Milan coach to deploy. Despite Juventus primarily using a 3-5-2 formation last year, Allegri’s preference is a "4-3 and then we’ll see" formation, and it remains to be seen where the young Croatian will line up.
At €23 million, Pjaca’s transfer isn’t a cheap one, and it’s unclear at present exactly where he’ll fit in Juventus’ system. It’s unlikely he’ll displace any of the current first XI for a starting spot, but he will provide much-needed depth and versatility for Allegri’s men. At just 21 years of age, Pjaca has a high ceiling, and he’s definitely one for the future as Juve continue to plan not only for an assault on Champions League this year, but to assure dominance in the future.
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