The Curious Case of Kulusevski.

A player bought back in January for around 35 million euros from Atalanta, Swedish attacker Dejan Kulusevski finally joins Juventus full time as an extremely fascinating, left footed, wonder prospect. The attacker comes to Juventus in tremendous form. He is known for his pace, power, ongoing engine and terrific technique. Juventini should get excited as he’s been compared to former Bianconieri Great, Pavel Nedved by Kulusevski’s former manager at Parma, Roberto D’Aversa. While comparisons are always being made of younger players and former legends, this one seems to fit the bill. His actual fit on the pitch with his new club seems to be the biggest question mark upon his arrival. There are many ways Juventus can line up this upcoming season under new manager Andrea Pirlo. Coach Pirlo himself even stated they can play with 3 at the back or 4 at the back. In this article we will analyze where Kulusevski could fit best.


So let’s take a look at how Juventus could line up in a prototypical – false 9 - 4-3-3:


Ronaldo Dybala Kulusevski

Rabiot Arthur Bentancur

Alex Sandro Chiellini De Ligt Cuadrado (?)

Szczesny


In this set up, Kulusevski lines up as the Right Winger. While at Parma, we saw his electrifying dribbling and pace on counter attacks and in even in final third situations. His decision making in the final third is at an elite level at his age and in general as he ranked in the top 7 in shot creation according to Football Reference. This stat measures each two actions; a goal scoring opportunity or a pass that leads to a goal scoring opportunity. If we compare his production to Juve’s current right wingers (Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa), it is quite conceivable that Kulusevski becomes the best right winger they have. In Serie A this past season Kulusevski scored 10 goals and provided 8 assists. Compare this to Bernardeschi and Costa who only had a combined 2 goals and 5 assists! Let’s take a deep dive into this. On a significantly worse Parma team who has Andreas Cornelius as their main striker, Dejan Kulusevski managed to be much more productive. Kulusevski outscored his xG (Expected Goals) by 3 and his xA (Expected Assists) by 1. Again comparing the expected stats against Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi, does not favour the two. It is expected Kulusevski can only get better and with Pirlo’s guidance, we can only imagine him being successful in a 4-3-3.


Now let’s move on to another role that we can see Kulusevski play. The Advanced midfield role helps link the midfield to attack. Kulusevski fits the bill because of his ongoing engine and great passing ability. Let’s see how Juventus could lineup with Kulusevski in an advanced midfield role in a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2.


4-3-3 (Prototypical):


Ronaldo Dybala (Suarez, Dzeko or Milik?) Bernardeschi

Bentancur Arthur Kulusevski

Alex Sandro Chiellini De Ligt Cuadrado (?)

Szczesny


3-5-2 (Something Pirlo hinted at):


Ronaldo Dybala

Sandro Arthur Kulusevski Bentancur Cuadrado

Chiellini Bonucci De Ligt

Szczesny


In these two figures we can see Kulusevski take on a free roaming, advanced midfield role. This freedom allows Kulusevski to pick up the ball and drive the team forward. Juventus sorely lacked that in the past few seasons. In any case, freeing up Kulusevski could help Juventus unlock stingy Serie A defenses and allow someone like Paulo Dybala play further forward to help Ronaldo out. Counter to the attack side of the game, Kulusevski has shown his capability of his freakish fitness, running on average 13 KM per match in Serie A. This quality enables Juventus to have an attacking and defensive pivot in midfield.

In any case, Dejan Kulusevski signing for Juventus should be a refreshing change wherever they play him. The beauty of a player of his quality is his ability to play in multiple positions. Should he fulfill his potential we are looking at an absolute machine of a player. Excitement beckons for us Juventini regardless of where he plays. Where do you think he should play?


By Giannotti151

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