Dusan Vlahović’s arrival at Juventus is imminent. God, that feels good to write.
After weeks of seeing Arsenal try their utmost to tempt the 21-year-old Serbian striker into the ‘Mikel Arteta Project’, the Bianconeri swooped from thin air to land a decisive blow. Vlahović’s desire to join Juventus was well-documented before the club made their €75m offer that was accepted by Fiorentina on Tuesday.
The formalities are expected to be finalised on Thursday with Vlahović completing a medical at the weekend ahead of his proposed move.
It’s an incredibly exciting addition for Juventus, who had sauntered through the first three weeks of the January transfer window and weren’t expected to conduct any big business in the final week. The signing of a long-term #9 is arguably the crown jewel in the club’s rebuild with their current striker situation unconducive for any sustained success.
In Vlahović, though, they’ve brought in a target that many declared as fanciful. The Serb’s prestige has continued to grow this season with his 17 goals in Serie A currently co-leading the goalscoring charts. The 21-year-old is the physical profile Massimiliano Allegri adores in his #9 and I’m sure the Juve boss is salivating at the prospect of working with the striker daily.
3 ways Massimiliano Allegri could deploy Dusan Vlahović
While Juventus currently have distinct creativity issues, Vlahović will certainly make a difference and play a crucial role in the club’s pursuit for a top-four spot in the second half of the season. However, the role he’ll play is up for debate. Tinkerman Allegri has several options at his disposal and here are three ways he could use Vlahović once he signs.
1. Lone striker in 4-3-3/4-2-3-1
For some, the usage of a 4-3-3 screams “modern” and “progressive” as it’s the supposed system of choice for several of Europe’s current elite, including Manchester City and Liverpool. However, as Juventini have discovered this term, the formation is pretty trivial when the manager’s principles are fundamentally pragmatic.
Also, the abstract nature of ‘positions’ in the modern-day means that team configurations alter by the attacking sequence. Manchester City, for example, will not build attacks using a 4-3-3. Instead, their structure will resemble a 2-3-5 or 3-2-5 due to the perpetual rotations that take place as part of the system.
So far this season, Allegri has sparingly used the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 with the difference between the two formations minimal. Either way, Vlahović could line up as the lone striker in each of these setups. He’s the focal point that Allegri wants Morata to be.
With Vlahović leading the line, Juventus will eventually have Federico Chiesa wreaking havoc down one flank. However, with the Italian out for seven months, Allegri will likely use Federico Bernardeschi on the left wing with Paulo Dybala drifting in off the right (in a 4-3-3). Juan Cuadrado is another option, as is Dejan Kulusevski should he remain in Turin.
In a 4-2-3-1, Dybala will play as the #10 off Vlahović with Bernardeschi, Weston McKennie or, dare I say it, Adrien Rabiot possibilities off the left. When Allegri’s used the 4-2-3-1 this term, the left midfielder drifts in to occupy the half-space to invite the left-back to overlap. The width is held by the right midfielder, most likely Cuadrado, down the right. Kulusevski isn’t suited to performing a touchline function.