Making a case for Federico Chiesa’s Juventus exit

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Written By Maya Cantina

By Kaustubh Pandey

Chiesa’s goal against Francesco Calzona’s Napoli felt like a slap in the face of doubters, as it handed Juve a lifeline in the game. While it didn’t lead to Max Allegri’s side picking up a win as a late Giacomo Raspadori goal helped Napoli get their most important three points of the campaign, Chiesa’s goal sent a message to many. 

The former Fiorentina man has been doubted by many in recent weeks. It isn’t just his performances that have been questioned, as doubts have extended to his fitness as well. Some doubts are rather valid, as the 26-year-old has picked up over ten injuries since he recovered from an ACL injury towards the end of 2022.

Despite the occasional inconsistency, he has still scored seven times this season and has overperformed on his Expected Goals metric by a good margin despite his injury issues. Doing that in a defensive-first system under Allegri is vital, but sections of the club’s supporters still seem unhappy.

Chiesa’s contract runs out in the summer of 2025 and La Gazzetta dello Sport have previously reported that the Italian is inching towards an exit in the summer, with talks about a renewal not having progressed. 

And while the idea of an exit does seem disappointing considering that the Bianconeri paid a package of over €50m to Fiorentina for Chiesa, there are multiple reasons why the departure from Turin will make definite sense. We explore those reasons here.

Lack of suitability to Allegri’s system

Allegri has constantly shown the tendency to use a 3-5-2 shape since last season and while he has often used a back four, the Italian has regularly fallen back to using a 3-5-2. Within that, Chiesa has played in the front two but surprisingly enough, he has also been used as a wing-back multiple times.

Chiesa has the skill set of being someone who excels at ball-carrying and chance creation, as he has completed 2.56 dribbles per 90 minutes and has created 2.14 chances per 90. But using those qualities at wing-back would make sure that he operates deeper. 

Even though it might help the team because his raw skill set might suit the wing-back role, Allegri’s pragmatic system uses wing-backs deeper than a more attacking approach. In a more attacking setup, Chiesa would operate further forward and his skillset and output would be much more utilised in the final third and he will score and assist more than he has.

Juventus might have already replaced him

While Chiesa is still a fairly valuable resource because he still provides goals at a healthy rate despite his injuries, Kenan Yildiz’s emergence probably suggests that there might already be a replacement at the club.

In Chiesa’s absence, Yildiz has impressed and he represents a similar profile as well.

While he may not be as prolific as Chiesa in some aspects, it is easy to look at them and see how similar they are. Yildiz is raw and would only improve from where he is and would play more over time.

The young Turk also formed a very good partnership with Dušan Vlahović upfront and that is what many Juve fans would like in a Chiesa-Vlahović partnership. That hasn’t quite happened, but Yildiz has done that in the absence of his Italian teammate.

More than that, Juve have concretely been linked with more wingers for the summer transfer window. One is Felipe Anderson, whose contract at Lazio expires. Another is Genoa’s Albert Gudmundsson, who has scored nine times for the Rossoblu this season and he can also operate upfront in a 3-5-2 shape. 

So even if Chiesa leaves, Juve may not miss him. And Chiesa is replaceable for them.

Takers in England

During his time at Fiorentina, there was never any shortage of links with clubs in England and that is still the case. Considering how Manchester United, Tottenham and even Arsenal have looked to Italy in recent seasons to seek solutions, they would definitely be aware of Chiesa’s situation at the Bianconeri. Spurs and United have, in fact, dealt with Juve fairly recently and reports have already suggested that ex-Old Lady chief Fabio Paratici still holds a certain sway at the Lilywhites despite his suspension.

Chiesa earns a little over €200k a week at Juve and that money weighs a lot in the club coffers considering the realities of the Serie A and also keeping in mind Chiesa’s injury problems. Those wages may not be a massive issue for English clubs due to their obvious financial advantages in the European game. Italian clubs are unlikely to be able to afford the 26-year-old’s transfer fee and that is another area where English clubs would have an advantage.

On top of that, Chiesa knows fluent English and his jolly off-pitch profile would appeal to fans, as the Italian comes across as a marketable asset who also comes from a renowned footballing family. 

A fresh chance to prove himself?

The move to Juve was supposed to be the platform for Chiesa to prove himself and due to factors such as the club’s instability and his own injuries, things haven’t gone to plan. He is now at the ripe age of 26 and he now needs a club where he can be a leading light and it has to be somewhere he could resurrect himself.

Juve could yet change managers in the summer and move on from Max Allegri and that could prove to be another period of transition for not just Chiesa, but the club in general. But for the Genoa-born star, it could be a case of some more months being wasted away with there being limited guarantee of an outcome.

A move elsewhere would be a fresh start and with the Premier League having clubs that operate in systems that are progressively attacking, that would benefit Chiesa right away and he could easily join and start operating in a preferred role all over again. That could be exactly what he needs.

(Cover image from IMAGO)

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