The search for a number 9.

When news broke that Higuain was no longer in Juventus plans it wasn't exactly breaking news, fans after all have been here before, and recently too. In 2018 Cristiano Ronaldo was signed and as one door opened another seemingly closed for Higuain, who was quickly loaned out to Milan and again midway through the season to Chelsea. Fast forward to the present however and its an all too similar story. Once again Higuain is heading for the exit door but this time its permanent, as new manager Andrea Pirlo revealed "The cycle has come to an end, and as professionals we looked each other in the eye and decided to make this decision." So with the impending departure of Higuain who will be replacing the number 9 affectionately called 'Pipita'? Lets take a look at the rumours and discuss the pro's and con's of each potential arrival.


Luis Suarez (33 Years old)


With Barcelona's shocking 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich a clear out was always on the cards for this squad, and seemingly top of that list of names is Luis Suarez. Despite being a well known name in the world of football, for both good and bad reasons, Suarez has somewhat been a mixed bag over the past few seasons for Barcelona. Suarez has scored 7 goals over 27 appearances since 2017 in Europe's elite cup competition the Champions League, considering how much Juventus want to win this competition Suarez doesn't seem to fit the bill of a difference maker on a big European night. Suarez La Liga record last season of 16 goals over 28 appearances also doesn't make for impressive reading, not helped by persistent knee problems that resulted in the Uruguayan needing knee surgery as recently as January of this year. When you put all these things together it no longer comes as a surprise as to why Barcelona are looking to end Suarez time with the club.


PROS:

- Can play several positions

- Big name in football

CONS:

- High wages

- Age, will turn 34 in January

- Poor goal scoring record in Champions League, 7 goals over 27 app from 2017 - present

- Persistent knee injury, missing 21 games for Barcelona recovering from surgery this year


Edin Džeko (34 Years old)


A physically strong target man could be just what Juventus need in attack, as one could argue that it was an attribute that Juventus sorely missed last season with Mario Mandzukic leaving the club. Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo formed a successful partnership during their short time playing together, as the Croatian forward would bully his way through defences which would create space for Ronaldo to attack. Could Džeko form a similar partnership with Ronaldo? Signing Džeko would once again give Juventus a physical presence in attack, which could really come in handy from set piece situations such as corner kicks which was a position Juventus struggled to capitalise on last season. Džeko could also hold the ball up effectively to allow team mates to join the attack and get in dangerous positions, something that Dybala for example lacks when it comes to the physical side of the game. Džeko also knows how to hit the back of the net, scoring 16 goals in Serie A last season and 106 overall during his 5 season's with Roma. Also when it comes to finances Roma have reportedly put a €15M price tag on Džeko , meaning that transfer funds would not take a big hit and could be used elsewhere to further strengthen the squad. However, when taking into account that Džeko will turn 35 next March and roughly earn the same amount that was being paid to Higuain is it a price worth paying for a short term option?


PROS:

- Experience playing in Serie A

- Known goal scorer

- Physical presence

- Could be perfect partner for Ronaldo like Mandzukic was

CONS:

- Age, will turn 35 next year

- Lack of pace

- Can only play one position

- Not much of an upgrade on Higuain, despite both roughly earning the same amount in wages


Arkadiusz Milik (26 Years old)


So far Milik time in Italian football can be described in two words, injury prone. Arriving from Ajax in 2016 as a promising talent to replace Higuain, unfortunately for Milik he largely failed to do this. During Milik debut season for Napoli he suffered from a cruciate ligament Injury that saw him miss most of the 2016/2017 season, followed by a knee injury that would also see him miss out on more playing time during the 2017/2018 season. For perspective, Milik has missed 61 games for Napoli due to injury, that's almost two full Serie A seasons! However, prior to signing for Napoli Milik did have an impressive final season with Ajax, scoring 24 goals over 42 games. If Milik was able to stay fit and avoid injury could he replicate those numbers again? Possibly at Juventus?


PROS:

- Experience playing in Serie A

- Not over 30 years old

CON:

- Injury prone, spent most of his 4 seasons at Napoli injured

- Inconsistent, 14 goals and zero assists in 35 games last season

- Napoli would not sell cheap to Juventus


Moise Kean (20 Years old)


The youngest player on this list and the one player that has previous with Juventus. During Kean's final season with the Old Lady he scored 7 goals over 17 appearances, including a run of 4 goals in 4 consecutive games, 3 of which came as a substitute. This last part is important as whomever Juventus do sign will most likely be brought in as a back up to Dybala, Unless Andrea Pirlo changes the current 4-3-3 formation that Juventus has been using. Bringing in Moise Kean could potentially be the perfect move for both club and player, as the youngster has somewhat struggled with life at Everton compared to his promising performances for Juventus that sparked his €27.5m move to England. The move would benefit Juventus as not only would the return of Kean add depth to the striker position, but also count towards home based players when it comes to squad registration for the Champions League.


PROS:

- Young striker with potential

- Has experience with Juventus & Serie A

- Meets home grown & home based player criteria

- Would be willing to spend more time as a substitute than a starter

- Would cost significantly less in wages than other players mentioned

CONS:

- Had a dreadful season with Everton

- Could not be relied upon as a first team regular

- Everton unlikely to sell Kean cheap


By Graeme1897

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