Juventus eye top-class De Ligt replacement as Allegri says Pogba is 'a cut above'

By Sports Desk July 15, 2022

Juventus would move for a top-class replacement if Matthijs de Ligt departs for Bayern Munich, head coach Massimiliano Allegri has promised.

Torino's Gleison Bremer is among the centre-backs to be linked with Juventus recently, and the Brazilian could fit the bill for the Bianconeri.

Talks between Juventus and Bayern have taken place this week, and it appears increasingly likely De Ligt will join the Bundesliga champions before the new season begins.

Juventus have brought in Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria as statement signings already during the close season, and they are determined another would follow should De Ligt's three-year stint in Italy draw to a close.

The 22-year-old was acquired from Ajax, and last season the Dutchman played more minutes (2,675) than any other Juve outfield player in Serie A as Allegri's side stumbled to a fourth-placed finish.

"As you all know, [on Wednesday] there was a meeting with Bayern Munich, but for the moment De Ligt is still a Juventus player," Allegri said in a news conference.

"He is training well. I manage those I have here and De Ligt is here. Then the transfer window is open until August 31, therefore anything can happen.

"That said, I am very happy about what the club are doing and have done bringing in two important players. Should De Ligt eventually leave us, our club would replace him in the best way."

Juventus have friendlies lined up against C.D. Guadalajara, Barcelona and Real Madrid on the upcoming Soccer Champions Tour in the United States, playing games in Las Vegas, Dallas and Los Angeles.

It will be a first chance to see France midfielder Pogba back in action for Juventus, six years after he left for Manchester United, while Argentine playmaker Di Maria has joined from Paris Saint-Germain after seven productive seasons in Ligue 1.

"The signings of Pogba and Di Maria are important technically, they hugely raise our technical level and take the responsibility off some other players," said Allegri. "But mostly, they make our squad's skills much better. That is why I am very happy they are with us now.

"Paul has arrived in the right way, with will and determination to come back playing to his standard level since he hadn't in his last season at United.

"At Juventus he has basically come back home, and I think he can help us a lot since from a physical and technical point of view he is a cut above the others."

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    The 29-year-old has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, with just one start and five appearances in the Premier League this season.

    A major U-turn occurred at international level, however, with Ziyech back in the fold for Morocco following Vahid Halilhodzic's exit and the arrival of Walid Regragui.

    Ziyech has played a key part in the side's stellar performances at the World Cup, with the Atlas Lions reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their history and becoming the first African side to reach the last eight since Ghana in 2010.

    El Haddaoui is now calling for a similar turnaround at club level, as he wants to see a move across the Premier League to reunite with Erik ten Hag, who Ziyech played under at Ajax.

    "He has to change of air because over there, [Chelsea] don't trust him. Now he is coming back very strong," he said.

    "His problem with Vahid, who didn't want to call him, disturbed him. In the national team, when there is a FIFA date, everyone joins their selections. He stays there [in London] and it went around in his head.

    "He sees that among the others who are with him at Chelsea, who go to the national team, he is of the same level, even superior, and he has lost a little bit of confidence.

    "The coach who was there or the one who arrived afterwards didn't have much confidence in him.

    "Afterwards, when you don't play, you lack playing time, you lack motivation, and you lack timing in the match. Now we see his potential, we see what he is capable of, but he has many offers.

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    Morocco's performances at the World Cup have inspired hope across the African continent, though El Haddaoui was always optimistic about the Atlas Lions.

    "It's not just a pleasure, it's an exceptional joy, given what this team has shown, this Moroccan team," he added.

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    Portugal stand in the way in Morocco's bid to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, with a meeting set for Saturday at Al Thumama Stadium.

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