From Pirlo to Pogba: Ranking Juventus Free Agent Signings

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After months of negotiations, Juventus are on the cusp of landing two of the most sought-after names on the free agent market. The imminent arrivals of Angel Di Maria and the returning Paul Pogba are only an extension to the club’s famous tradition of snapping up some of the most interesting names in the Mercato for free.

Nevertheless, this strategy has backfired at times, as for every brilliant signing, another one turned out to be an utter failure. So let’s rank these deals from the worst all the way to be best.

NB: The timespan is based on Andrea Agnelli’s era at Juventus which began in May 2010. As for the entrees, only free agents are eligible to the list, while cut-price deals (like Andrea Barzagli’s) aren’t included.

14- Nicolas Anelka (2013)
In the long and storied career of Nicolas Anelka, the Frenchman travelled all around the globe, playing for some of the biggest clubs in football. But one would struggle to remember his short stint in Turin.

That’s because his time at Juventus was a total disappointment. Following his arrival in January 2013, the former Arsenal and Chelsea man made only three cameos (for a total of 55 mins) while failing to produce anything noteworthy.

13- Lucio (2012)
Prior to Anelka’s arrival, Lucio was packing his bags after struggling to make the switch from Inter to Juventus.

The treble winner couldn’t integrate well in the squad and failed to find a place in Antonio Conte’s three-man backline.

The Brazilian only made four appearances while serving as a mere backup for the famous BBC defense.

12- Aaron Ramsey (2019)
While some believe that Aaron Ramsey is biggest flop at Juventus in the current era, Anelka and Lucio spared him from landing at rock bottom. At least the Welshman survived for a longer period and managed to produce some pleasant memories (including a goal against Inter).

That being said, Juventus never truly found the Arsenal version of Ramsey; the energetic midfielder who dazzled the Emirates Stadium with his skills and bombarded the opposition with ferocious strikes.

Instead, the midfielder has mostly been a tuned-down version of his old self, and it didn’t help that his time in Turin has been ravaged by injuries.

11- Luca Toni (2011)
Just like Anelka two years afterwards, Luca Toni arrived in the middle of the campaign in the attempt to bolster the Old Lady’s frontline.

The experienced hitman didn’t take the world by storm, but at least he contributed to the cause with two goals and as many assists.

10- Emre Can (2018)
Following his impressive time at Liverpool, Juventus believed to have struck gold when signing the versatile midfielder. Young, strong and technical, the German had all the makings of midfield powerhouse.

During his first season at the Allianz Stadium, the Bayern Munich youth product was slowly developing under the tutelage of Max Allegri.

But the arrival for Maurizio Sarri spelled trouble for the midfielder who failed to connect with the new manager and found himself on the outs in favor of the aging Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi before making a January switch to Borussia Dortmund.

9- Neto (2015)
Neto’s time at Juventus wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t spectacular either. Perhaps the Brazilian was hoping to usurp the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, but the Italian was left untroubled by his younger understudy.

The former Fiorentina man ended up making 21 appearances during his two-year spell in Turin, collecting 13 clean sheets in the process, before embarking on a journey in La Liga with Valencia and Barcelona.

8- Adrien Rabiot (2019)
Perhaps some expected him to be lower in the list, but Adrien Rabiot lands in the middle of the pack despite his underwhelming performances.

After all, the much-maligned midfielder has been acting as regular starter, and his qualities seem to be well-appreciated by his successive managers in Turin.

It remains to be seen whether his adventure at Juventus will be prolonged or cut short this summer.

7- Fernando Llorente (2013)
Despite winning two Scudetto titles in a row at the time, Conte still lacked quality strikers. So when Fernando Llorente arrived alongside Carlos Tevez, the Bianconeri became truly unstoppable on the domestic level.

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“The Lion King” formed a solid partnership with the Argentine star and scored 27 goals during his two years in Turin.

His role at the club eventually diminished following the arrival of his compatriot Alvaro Morata, prompting an exit in 2015.

6- Gianluigi Buffon (2019)
Even though eyebrows were raised when Gianluigi Buffon made his return to Juventus at the age of 41 (one year following his emotional departure), the comeback didn’t pan out badly.

The 2006 World Cup winner still had it, yet, he was willing to serve as an understudy while offering support and wise counsel for his teammates – a role that he was only willing to interpret at his beloved Juventus.

5- Dani Alves (2016)
After winning every possible honor at Barcelona, Dani Alves still had the hunger for silverware. He made the switch to Turin while eager to prove that he remained the best right-back in the world at the time.

The Brazilian’s bombarding runs from the right flank added an extra weapon to Allegri’s arsenal, as Juventus arguably produced their best football during that campaign.

Unfortunately, his time at the club ended on a sour note following the disappointing defeat against Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

4- Sami Khedira (2015)
Although his degenerated physical condition rendered him a liability during the later stages, Sami Khedira’s transfer to Juventus was a brilliant piece of business in a nutshell.

The 2014 World Cup winner made up for Arturo Vidal’s departure in 2015, and proved to be a reliable presence in the middle of the park.

He even boasts an impressive scoring record, with 21 goals in his 145 appearances for Juventus, including a memorable hattrick against Udinese.

3- Kingsley Coman (2014)
In 2014, Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici managed to poach the services of 18-year-old Kingsley Coman from Paris Saint Germain. The move caused a stir in the relationship between the two clubs, but that was a consequence that the Bianconeri were willing to accept.

Despite scoring only one goal before leaving towards Bayern Munich in the following year, the transfer in itself remains top notch.

But for the Old Lady, it’s a shame that the French winger ended up becoming a stalwart at Bayern Munich rather than flashing skills in Turin.

2- Paul Pogba (2012)
This summer, Paul Pogba left Manchester United as a free agent and is now heading to sign a contract with Juventus.

Just in case you’re wondering why this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a déjà vu from ten years ago.

Back then, the Frenchman was a mere teenager, but he quickly cemented himself as one of the most exciting midfielders in the world before eventually making a return to Old Trafford in 2016 for a world record fee at the time, and allowing Juventus to register an enormous capital gain.

1- Andrea Pirlo (2011)
From a financial standpoint, it’s almost impossible to beat Pogba’s deal. However, the impact of Andrea Pirlo’s arrival remains unquestioned. It was the major gamechanger that tipped the scale in Juve’s favor.

The Maestro left Milan from the backdoor and was deemed surplus to requirements by the Rossoneri. Little did Adriano Galliani and company know at the time that the Regista will once again flourish at the Allianz Stadium.

Pirlo turned out to be the architect that guided Conte’s Juventus towards their first Scudetto triumph in the post-Calciopoli era, which subsequently launched the biggest winning dynasty in the history of Italian football.

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