Why Paulo Dybala should snub suitors and stay with Juventus
Widespread reports over the last few months have hinted at a tug-of-war between Paulo Dybala’s current club Juventus and a long list of suitors, including UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid. A spate of reports in the last six months has the Serie A outfit turning down several high-value offers for the 23-year-old.
Dybala is an unquestionable talent and he has duly attracted the attention of football’s finest teams. However, with his form under the microscope, a move away might not be the best option for Dybala right now, especially considering the attacking riches already held by many of the interested clubs.
If he wants to play regular football and continue developing, he would be well advised to stay in Turin. A move to Madrid would see him attempt to compete with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo for an attacking berth, while a transfer to Barcelona, Chelsea or even Manchester United – clubs he has been linked with at various points – would see him faced with similar problems. All those outfits have settled attacks in place already.
There is little doubt that Dybala is an exceptional footballer and despite only scoring seven Serie A goals so far this season, recent weeks have seen a return to form for the former Palermo striker as he was voted the club’s Player of the Month for February thanks to a plunder of four goals and two assists.
With a crunch match against AC Milan this weekend, the dribbling sensation will be expected to produce more of the same to collect maximum points and remain at the summit.
Indeed, even Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri believes he ‘has the quality to win the Ballon d’Or one day.’
No doubt, fans of the La Liga and the Premier League would love to see the Argentine’s unique skill grace their stadiums on a weekly basis because he possesses the raw ability to become a power player on either stage, but that would all depend on him being given the necessary minutes to do so – and that wouldn’t be a guarantee.
At Juventus he has a regular starting role, racking up almost 1800 minutes in all competitions so far this term, has become acclimatised to his surroundings and is very much in sync with his team-mates, as his celebratory forward-tumble with Juan Cuadrado back in February clearly attests to.
Certain news publications might have picked up on the fact that Dybala cryptically ‘liked’ a recent Instagram post by four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo as evidence that the Argentine star is eyeing a move away from the Bianconeri, but the truth behind stalled contract talks is much easier to figure out when looking at the facts; his agent had to return to Argentina for the birth of his son and the striker even went on record to assure the fans by saying, “I remain optimistic, the renewal will come.”
Versatility shows he will only get better
Dybala has come a long way since his days at Palermo when Kyle Lafferty outscored him in the Serie B charts – the Northern Ireland international netted 11 times during the 2012/13 season while the current Juve man managed only five. That fact has been dredged up lately as a sort of tongue-in-cheek salute to Lafferty, but it also underlines the improvements Dybala has made to his game.
If he is not scoring a plethora of goals, he is creating chances for his team-mates to capitalise on (recording 32 already this season) or proving to be a reliable taker of penalty kicks.
With five assists to his name in the league, he has managed to keep his numbers ticking over in a number of departments, and it is easy to see why the delay in nailing down a fresh contract has upset his concentration somewhat.
He has by no means been poor in the 2016/17 campaign, but the sooner he and the club can agree terms and put pen to paper, the sooner he will return to the form he displayed last season. In short, he can lead the line as an orthodox and surprisingly physical No. 9, weaving his deceptively lithe frame in between defenders to get on the end of chances, but he is also a very competent wide man with pace, stamina and presence, capable of whipping in some great crosses and smart cutbacks.
Of course, he was set back with a thigh injury for a six-week spell between late October and early December, and that certainly dealt his form a real blow towards the beginning of the season and meant he couldn’t build momentum in some of the busier periods, missing out on the opportunities to impact the scoreboard and help his team.
However, a gladiatorial spirit has seen him gradually return to form.
Dybala can help build Juve legacy
His desire to fight to earn his place in the starting line-up from mid-winter on should also help ease fans’ worries that he is looking to make a swift getaway. When it would have been easier to sit back on the sidelines and push through a January transfer, he opted to work hard to return to full fitness.
If he stays with the Black and Whites, Dybala can continue to grow alongside the rising trajectory of a club who are constructing a memorable legacy. With the team aiming to complete a treble of the league, Coppa Italia and Champions League, Dybala can raise his status from likeable forward to club legend if he makes the brave decision to stay on instead of chasing the money abroad.
With the benefit of a home venue for the second-leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 clash against FC Porto, the Old Lady already have one foot in the last eight and are one step closer to European dominance.
The last time the club lifted ol’ big ears, as the trophy is often fondly called, was back in 1996 and although they have come close on a few occasions since, Dybala still has time to fire them to glory and stop Madrid, whom many are linking him with, from sealing historic consecutive UCL wins.
Wouldn’t that be poetic justice?