Juventus: Here is the problem with Alex Sandro at left back

Alex Sandro of Juventus (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)
Alex Sandro of Juventus (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images) /

Juventus left back Alex Sandro could be sold this summer, and that’s because of one key flaw in his game.

The Bianconeri will be focused on finding a new striker and adding one more star midfielder to team up with Arthur Melo and Rodrigo Bentancur. But there could also be some changes made to the Juventus back four, particularly when it comes to depth at the fullback position.

On the right side, Juve have one of the world’s best attacking fullbacks in Juan Cuadrado, who is a crucial chance-creator and underappreciated defender for the Bianconeri. And on the left, they have a quality defensive presence in Alex Sandro, who used to be regarded as one of the world’s finest left backs.

Now, though, there are rumblings Alex Sandro could be sold this summer, with Manchester United being linked again to the Brazilian defender.

To make things clear up front, I don’t think Juventus should sell the 29-year-old. They might not be able to find a new starter at the position, and they are already thin at the position. Selling a capable defensive player at a position where talent is rare is not a wise move for a team with a bevy of needs.

Juventus need a backup left back

But one of those needs is left back. Alex Sandro’s backup is Mattia De Sciglio, who is on the way out this summer and is surplus to goods. De Sciglio is the lone backup at left back with Danilo the emergency option. But both players are right backs. When they play on the left, they are disasters, especially offensively.

Therein lies the issue with having Alex Sandro as the only left back in the squad. Sandro himself has issues with helping the attack, and that’s just not good in the modern game. On a team with Cristiano Ronaldo, who likes to drift inside, losing that outlet of support on the left isn’t ideal.

Juventus need to keep Sandro, and he is still a starting-quality player for them. But at 29, his days as a top-level starter for the Bianconeri are numbered, especially in light of his lack of offensive contributions.

Although Juve have been linked to players like Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri, they don’t need to spend on a new left back this summer. No, they can give an opportunity to Luca Pellegrini, who is an impressive, up-and-coming attacking left back. He brings a more dynamic game than Sandro and is a good foil as a backup to him.

Luca Pellegrini can be part of the answer for Juventus

Pellegrini is the kind of player who can get experience and start in the right matchups. He’s a player Juventus should give opportunities to.

Sandro averaged 1.6 fouls drawn per game, 1.3 dribbles completed per game, and 1.1 key passes per game last season, according to WhoScored.com. Those are solid numbers and show that the man still has a place in Juventus.

But Pellegrini, at 21 and on loan with Cagliari, had 1.3 dribbles completed per game, too. And he bested Sandro’s assists with five to the Brazilian’s three. So while Sandro drew more fouls and completed more key passes, he did so on a better team that dominated possession. And he didn’t even have more assists to show for it.

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Sandro is the starter, and that won’t change in 2020-2021. But that should start to change after the next season, which means Juve must look to the future. The transfer market is tempting, but that’s not the answer yet. Keep using Sandro, but note that a more explosive attacking left back is needed. Pellegrini can be that guy.