Tielemans, Locatelli or Tolisso: Which midfielder would suit Juventus best?

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 15 Jun 2021 12:37 BST
Tielemans on staying at Leicester and how Brendan Rodgers has improved him

Tielemans on staying at Leicester and how Brendan Rodgers has improved him

After sacking Andrea Pirlo after just one year in charge, Juventus have turned back to their former head coach Massimiliano Allegri to take the helm in Turin once more.

His first port of call back at the club will be to sign a new central midfielder, with the none of the current options in that position impressing last season.

READ MORE: Ronaldo comments on Juventus future amid transfer speculation

The midfield that Pirlo deployed varied between Weston McKennie, Adrien Rabiot, Arthur, Rodrigo Bentancur and Aaron Ramsey, and he never settled on a combination that clicked.

In fact, many put Juventus' poor Serie A campaign down to a lack of quality in midfield areas, and it's something they're trying to put right this summer.

While McKennie exceeded many expectations, Arthur, who was involved in the swap deal for Miralem Pjanic with Barcelona, played just over 1,000 league minutes and didn't particularly shine.

For that reason, Allegri has identified the middle of the park as the major issue in his squad, and has set about enquiring about potential recruits.

The three names that have come up most prevalently are Youri Tielemans of Leicester, Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli, and Corentin Tolisso of Bayern Munich, and it seems as though the Old Lady will heavily pursue one of these targets, but who?

Youri Tielemans

Having captained boyhood club Anderlecht while he was still a teenager, Tielemans has matured into a well-rounded, technical midfielder, mature beyond his years. Brendan Rodgers has previously described having Tielemans in his team is like having "a wonderful coach in the game", and the way he leads by example is excellent.

Unlike the Juventus of old, with Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio patrolling the midfield, this current crop of central midfielders lack leadership, and that's something Tielemans would bring in abundance.

Furthermore, he's grown into the complete player over the past 18 months. He scored six goals and assisted four in the Premier League for Leicester last season, while also making 3.6 tackles and interceptions per 90.

By comparison, no Juventus central midfielder contributed to more goals, and only Rabiot and Bentancur made more tackles and interceptions per 90; Tielemans truly does it all.

Manuel Locatelli

The Sassuolo midfielder appears to be Juventus' first choice after a stellar campaign in Serie A.

Now a fundamental part of Roberto Mancini's Italy squad, Locatelli is on the radar of every big club after stepping up a gear in 2020/21.

After being sold to Sassuolo for £12m by Milan in 2019, Locatelli has found his feet in new surroundings, but looks set to depart after the campaign he had.

A classy central midfielder, Locatelli scored four and assisted two in the league last term, but that's not really his game. He's an elite deep-lying playmaker and he showcased that for Sassuolo.

Last season he was making 4.2 tackles and interceptions per 90, whilst also completing 23.7 final third passes per 90. That tally ranked fifth in the entire Serie A (of players with over 1,000 minutes), and came whilst Locatelli was playing in a deeper role than three of those with more.

He's an elite progressive passer, and with the likes Rabiot only completing 13.8 final third passes per 90 last campaign, it's something they need to address; Locatelli could be the perfect solution.

Corentin Tolisso

Now, Tolisso would most likely be the cheapest of the three options. With his current Bayern Munich contract expiring next summer, the Bavarians are keen to sell him in this transfer window, and Juventus are one of the clubs in for him.

Allegri is reportedly a big fan, and the club were keen to sign him from Lyon before he moved to Germany. Now he's available, they are looking at bringing him in.

More similar to Tielemans than Locatelli in profile, Tolisso played just 777 Bundesliga minutes last campaign, as a result of four injuries and competition for places, with Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich the first choice double pivot.

That lack of game time is a concern, but he still has talent. Making 2.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 last term, he completes the least defensive actions, whilst also not adding much in attack.

Gone are the days of Tolisso excelling as a box-to-box No.8 for Lyon, and whilst he would be the cheapest option, he's very much the third-best player from this list.

Who should Juventus sign?

Tielemans has matured into a well-rounded, technical midfielder, mature beyond his years

The Old Lady have tended to shop within Serie A where possible in recent times, and the early suggestions are that this will continue.

Locatelli seems the logical answer with ball progression such an issue, but Tielemans' leadership, and the fact that Bentancur tends to play as the No.6, means they should prioritise the Belgian midfielder to play as their No.8, but fall back to Locatelli if a move for the Leicester man isn't possible.