3. Manuel Akanji
Juventus and Manchester United have been linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji. According to Tuttosport, the Swiss international is in the sights of the Bianconeri with the player’s contract at Dortmund expiring in 2023.
Akanji already has an admirer in Turin in the form of Chiellini, whom he could replace at the club, with the Italian virtuoso saying that the 26-year-old was a defender that “has always intrigued” him.
The Dortmund defender is pretty good, but I’m not sure whether he’s the long-term answer. However, as Chiellini said, Akanji is yet to reach his peak and there’s scope for him to improve, which he has done considerably over the past 18 months.
Although, much of this improvement coincided with Lucien Favre’s switch to a back three. This saw him blossom as a ball-playing centre-half, and under Marco Rose this season, Akanji’s established himself as a leader in the BVB backline. He initially struggled to settle in Germany after joining from Basel, with defensive lapses and unforced errors worryingly frequent.
Overall, Akanji has proved himself to be much better in a back three, which isn’t ideal for Juventus, but he’s relatively young, and an imposing defender who excels in possession. The Bianconeri will also be able to pick him up for an attainable price this summer given his contract situation.
But, for me, Akanji is a distant third in this ranking.