Merih Demiral: New Juventus acquisition is a pillar of the club's future

06 July at 23:30
Juventus often dominate the headlines with their hyperbolic and flashy offensive and midfield signings. Last summer, the Bianconeri signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for around €110m and, before this summer market began, it looked likely that the club were going to focus on the likes of Paul Pogba or Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to bolster their midfield.

However, with the official start of the window, the club confirmed the free signings of Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey from PSG and Arsenal respectively. These two signings have bolstered the Bianconeri midfield at zero-cost and this has opened the door for the club to spend money on other aspects of their side; most notably their defence.

Ajax starlet Matthijs De Ligt, who was a target of Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United as well, is edging ever closer to a move to Juventus, in what will probably be one of the biggest transfers of the summer; in terms of both value and stature. However, the Dutchman is not the only defensive addition made by the club this summer; with Genoa defender Cristian Romero looking set to join the club, as well as Mehrih Demiral, who joined the club on an €18m deal officially yesterday.

Juventus are, with these three deals, finally replacing the BBC (Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini) combination that has served them so well over the past near-decade. Although not an instant replacement, the Bianconeri are laying the groundwork; the DDR (Demiral, DeLigt and Romero) serving as pillars for the future of the club.
 

From the statistics above, and those compared further in the same thread, we can see a greater insight into what Demiral can offer Juventus. Despite being just 21-years-old, the Turkish centre-back has shown great levels of maturity already and, after just six months in Serie A, has made a name for himself as one of the strongest defenders in the division.

At 6ft3, Demiral is dominant in the air and wins around 67% of the aerial duels he attempts. Not only this but the fact that he wins an average of nearly 4 per game, shows that he often fights for the ball in the air and is not afraid to go for it if he deems it necessary.

Demiral, for all intents and purposes, mirror the attributes of Juventus defender Daniele Rugani; who has a fascinating case to discuss. These three new defensive signings suggest that Rugani may not have long left to impress at Juventus; as he is also three years older than Demiral and Romero, and 5 years older than De Ligt. Rugani recently signed a new contract with the Bianconeri but this can be explained quite easily. The Italian centre-back can be an excellent pawn for Juventus to use to either raise capital gains next summer or use as a counterpart in a player plus cash deal. As a homegrown player, Rugani is a valuable addition to any side that need to raise the amount of Italian nationals in the team, making him a smart piece for Juventus to keep hold of until they need to part ways with him.

Demiral still has a lot of areas that need refining. He gives away a high average of fouls per game, especially in comparison with the likes of Chiellini and Bonucci (as you can see in the Twitter thread), but this is something that the Turk can learn under the more experienced teammates he will have at Juventus. Similarly, playing for a bigger club like Juventus will, with luck, help to boost the Turkish defender's confidence, allowing him to be a greater help in contributing to transitional phases into the midfield and attack.

All in all, despite still being a raw talent, Demiral is a fantastic acquisition. He is just 21 and has spent just six months in Serie A and has already done enough to earn a move to Juventus. In this current climate, when clubs are spending huge money on central defenders, Juventus have a fantastic coup. Demiral has signed for Juventus for around 1/5 of the price that Harry Maguire is being linked to Manchester United for and has cost the Bianconeri under half what Arsenal played for inconsistent German defender Shkodran Mustafi; this puts it into perspective how smart a piece of business this is for Juve.

 

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