A more modern approach?
Dybala is a luxury player and entertainer; a playmaker cut from a noughties cloth. For all his magic with the ball, his minor defensive contribution is inhibiting during a time where pressing is the key facilitator of top teams establishing total control over matches.
Fortunately, Max Allegri’s tendency to cede control – his default ploy doesn’t change if Dybala is out of the XI – means La Joya’s flaws out of possession haven’t shown themself to be detrimental this term. But, for Juventus to progress, evolve and once again reemerge as a genuine Champions League contender, they must modernise their approach.
Now, much of this lies with the manager. But, say Allegri was sacked in the summer and, for example, Erik ten Hag came in, Dybala would struggle to survive (in a hypothetical world where he extended his contract). Injuries have taken their toll, and I doubt whether he’ll be able to cope with the demands that the archetypal modern-day coach places on his players out of possession.
That’s why I’m so interested to see where he’s playing his football at the start of next season. I’d be shocked if he ends up at one of Europe’s very best. His profile is incredibly unique and has almost ceased to exist in 2022.
Thus, Dybala’s exit has presented Allegri and Juventus with an opportunity to modernise their approach. A multitude of factors have to be considered in their search for a replacement. They need a durable creator who’s willing to contribute – akin to Chiesa – out of possession.
From the start of next season, I’d love to see Juve adopt a 4-3-3 with Vlahovic leading the line and Chiesa on one of the flanks. In Vlahovic, you have a multi-faceted focal point with elite ball-striking, while Chiesa is a dogged runner adept off both wings and is almost unstoppable when attacking space.
To balance this front three out, Juve require a playmaker from out wide; ideally one capable off both feet and comfortable with drifting inside to occupy spaces between the lines. Ousmane Dembele, Antony and Raphinha are three names that excite me, while Domenico Berardi, while he’s slightly older at 27, fits the bill, too.
A fresher, more willing contributor may convince Allegri to finally alter his approach that’s more conducive to success against elite-level opposition. The manager will hope that further midfield reinforcements will mitigate against the loss of Dybala’s creativity, also.