Giorgio Chiellini's contract runs out at the end of the season and Juventus are unlikely to offer him a new deal. The Italian is set to end his 16-year association with the club next month and has also confirmed that he will not be retiring this year. Chiellini is one of Juventus' greatest players of the 21st century and has stuck with the club through thick and thin, having joined the club in 2005.
He has made over 500 appearances for the club in all competitions and won 14 major honors, including nine straight Serie A titles on the bounce. The central defender has also played as a left-back when called upon and also opted to stay at the club when Juventus were relegated to Serie B after the Calciopoli scandal.
The Bianconeri have been blessed with some world-class defenders over the years, but Chiellini is as good as they come and will be remembered for a long time for his exploits at the club. Replacing him will be no small feat, with Juventus reportedly analyzing the transfer market for potential reinforcements.
On that note, here are five players who could succeed him at the Allianz Stadium.
#5 Merih Demiral | Juventus
Merih Demiral has been with Juventus for two years now and knows exactly what it takes to represent a club of such stature. The Turkish defender is one of the most exciting young players in the world in his position and could well be the one to replace Chiellini, allowing Juventus to use the transfer market to address other areas of concern.
At the age of 23, he is not the finished product but has time on his side to hone his trade. Having played with Chiellini for nearly two seasons, he'd have learned a thing or two from the Italian and could be better equipped to fill his shoes than a potential incoming.
Demiral has been linked with big-money moves to the Premier League, but Juventus are unlikely to let go of him this summer.
#4 Matthijs de Ligt | Juventus
Another in-house option on the list, Matthijs de Ligt's big-money arrival two years ago indicated that Juventus were already preparing for Chiellini's eventual departure. The Dutchman was a top target for Barcelona, but Juventus blew them out of the water with a higher bid and snapped him up from under the noses of the Catalan giants.
De Ligt has been a superb signing for the club and has shown exactly why he was a wanted man two years ago. He likes to play on the front foot and is also incredible with the ball at his feet, while his stature allows him to dominate opponents aerially.
At the age of 21, De Ligt has the world at his feet and could well be the heir to Chiellini's throne in Turin.
#3 Roger Ibanez | Roma
Roger Ibanez has enjoyed a fantastic spell with Roma and turned heads across Europe with his performances at the heart of the defense. Having started his career as a central midfielder, Ibanez is comfortable with the ball at his feet and could emerge as an intriguing option for Juventus.
The 22-year-old is currently on loan from Atalanta, but the deal is set to become permanent at the end of the season for a fee believed to be in the region of £8 million if certain targets are achieved.
Juventus have signed a lot of players from Serie A over the years, so if they decide to analyze the domestic market first, the Brazilian might become a realistic option for them this summer.
#2 Alessio Romagnoli | AC Milan
AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli has always been rated as a top-class defender, but his development has stalled in the 2020-21 campaign. The Italian has been underwhelming this season and has continued to be linked with a move away from the club, with his current deal set to expire next summer.
If he fails to sign a contract extension, AC Milan could look to offload him this summer as opposed to losing him for free in 2022. Juventus could take advantage of the situation and sign him for a cut-price fee at the end of the season, with the defender reportedly keen to remain in Italy.
Romagnoli is vastly experienced for a 26-year-old and knows the Serie A inside out, so he ticks a lot of boxes for Juventus.
#1 Sergio Ramos | Real Madrid
At the age of 35, Sergio Ramos isn't really a long-term replacement for Chiellini. However, the Real Madrid captain is still at the top of his game and could get the job done for a year or two. Additionally, the Bianconeri love free transfers and as things stand, Ramos will be allowed to leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.
He is yet to agree a deal with Los Blancos, so there is a realistic chance of him leaving the club in the coming months. Speaking about his future, Ramos refused to give too much away, as he continues to be linked with a move to other top European clubs.
“I’ve already been clear about my future. There is no news about my contract… I’m focused on playing well and giving my best version. With Real Madrid we play almost the entire season in a week. I’m looking forward to it”
If Ramos were to join Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo would be a happy man, having forged a friendship with the Spaniard during his spell with Real Madrid.