Does Federico Bernardeschi deserve a contract extension?

BOLOGNA, ITALY - DECEMBER 18: Federico Bernardeschi of Juventus looks on during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and Juventus at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on December 18, 2021 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
BOLOGNA, ITALY - DECEMBER 18: Federico Bernardeschi of Juventus looks on during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and Juventus at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on December 18, 2021 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images) /

Federico Bernardeschi may have played his way into earning a contract extension at Juventus, according to the latest reports.

Bernardeschi’s current deal expires at the end of the season and, up until now, there hasn’t been any urgency to discuss an extension. The Italian was coy when asked to discuss his contract situation last month.

The Italian midfielder made an interesting move in November as he opted to ditch super-agent Mino Raiola in favour of P&P Sport Management. Raiola was set to discuss an extension for Bernardeschi at Juventus, but the player’s decision halted any negotiations.

We weren’t sure whether this was Bernardeschi admitting that he wants a new challenge, or whether he’s happy to commit his future to the Bianconeri on different terms. The situation’s been entrenched with ambiguity.

Bernardeschi may have played his way into a new contract at Juventus

Bernardeschi had become the forgotten man at Juventus before Massimiliano Allegri returned to the club in the summer. He was used sporadically by Andrea Pirlo to little effect and it appeared that his career in Turin would draw to an anti-climactic close at the end of 2021/22.

Allegri, though, has shown faith in the Italian international. He utilised Bernardeschi as a mezzala in pre-season and it was clear from the very outset that the manager valued the fading midfielder’s skill set.

The 27-year-old offered glimpses of his Fiorentina self in the 1-0 victory over Chelsea back in September before producing his most complete display in a ridiculously long time at home to Zenit in a 4-2 win. On that occasion, he performed the ‘hybrid function’ that Adrien Rabiot had put to shame in Allegri’s 4-4-2 superbly.

Recently, Bernardeschi’s level has gone up a notch and he’s arguably playing his best football since his debut season at the club. He’s started Juve’s last six outings in all competitions from various functions and has registered three assists in the process. Two of which, the outside of the boot cross for Moise Kean against Malmo and disguised reverse pass for Alvaro Morata against Bologna, were Paulo Dybala-esque.

Bernardeschi’s playing with a swagger that we haven’t seen for years. Allegri’s slowly bringing the best out of him, with his contract situation perhaps serving as an added incentive to shine.

Are Juventus going to offer Bernardeschi a new contract?

Bernardeschi may well have played himself into an extension. According to Corriere dello Sport (via @JuveFC), Juventus have been convinced by the 27-year-old’s recent performances to continue negotiations over a new contract.

Earlier this month, La Gazzetta dello Sport (via @BianconeriZone) wrote that Bernardeschi was keen on extending his stay in Turin despite the Juve hierarchy wanting to lower his current €4m salary.

The report stated that it could be a long-term extension for Bernardeschi.

Does Bernardeschi deserve a new contract at the club?

Bernardeschi has been given a new lease of life by Allegri and he’s looked like a man reborn in recent weeks after teasing a renaissance earlier in 2021/22.

Unfortunately, most will hold the player’s woes before Allegri’s return against him and allow that frustratingly long period of obscurity to cloud their judgement on the here and now. There’s a hesitance among Juventini regarding Bernardeschi, a reluctance to believe that his recent resurgence will be sustained.

Perhaps it won’t, and we shouldn’t expect it to. However, even if Bernardeschi doesn’t persist as Juve’s primary or secondary creative force, the Italian offers so much more. He holds tremendous value to Allegri as a selfless and versatile workhorse.

This season, Bernardeschi has lined up on both flanks, played between the lines, occupied the left half-space, functioned as a false nine against the European champions and was experimentally deployed as a box-to-box midfielder in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

So, to answer the above question: Yes. Yes, he does. His recent upsurge in productivity combined with his tactical versatility makes this decision a no-brainer for the Juventus hierarchy. And should they strike a deal with the Italian that lowers his salary, the club would’ve struck gold.