2. Antonio Rudiger
At 29, Antonio Rudiger is a touch older than what Juve would like but there’s no disputing his brilliance and the club are serious about signing him as a free agent this summer.
The German has blossomed into one of Europe’s finest defenders since Thomas Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in January 2021. His prestige took a tumble during Lampard’s reign but to little of his own doing. Rudiger was often forced to defend huge spaces in transition as the midfield offered him zero protection.
But in a secure system, Rudiger has shown just how good he is. He’s uber aggressive and superb in possession, emerging as one of Chelsea’s primary ball-progressors. And while Tuchel’s system has maximised his talent while minimising his flaws, I don’t agree with the notion that he can’t defend in a back four. While he isn’t as effective from a ball-playing perspective in a four, his performances under Maurizio Sarri in 2018/19 and for the German national team depict his competence in this regard.
The German would be a brilliant signing and a huge upgrade, but there’s an obvious reason why he doesn’t top this ranking.
The Chelsea star is reportedly demanding a huge €10m salary which would make him the highest-paid player at Juventus. And as he nears 30, this would be a significant financial risk. But perhaps it’s one the Bianonceri have to take.