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How Juventus are shaping up after signing Higuaín

With Juventus spending €90m to make Gonzalo Higuaín their fifth signing of the summer, Paolo Menicucci puts the Italian champions' transfer strategy under the microscope.

Juventus have added Gonzalo Higuaín to their ranks
Juventus have added Gonzalo Higuaín to their ranks ©Getty Images

Juventus have laid down another serious marker by adding Gonzalo Higuaín to a squad already brimming with talent.

More players will doubtless come and go, but the Italian champions have signalled their ambition by making the Argentina striker their fifth acquisition of the transfer window after agreeing a €90m fee with Napoli. Higuaín, 28, has penned a five-year deal.

The Bianconeri opted to trigger the Partenopei forward's release clause after he ended last season breaking Gunnar Nordahl's 66-year record of 35 goals in a Serie A campaign, scoring 36 in 35 games. With Higuaín leading the line, Massimiliano Allegri's side will hope to land a record sixth straight Scudetto in 2016/17 and make a significant splash in Europe.

UEFA.com's Paolo Menicucci examines Juve's manoeuvrings since turning their attentions to the summer player market.

Dani Alves boasts plenty of European experience
Dani Alves boasts plenty of European experience©Getty Images

UEFA Champions League experience
Chasing a first European Cup since 1995/96, Juventus made their intentions plain with their very first deal in late June. "The club's dream is to win the Champions League and I hope to help them achieve this," explained Dani Alves during his unveiling, the Barcelona full-back having penned a two-year contract with the option of a third season.

"We need to believe we can win the Champions League if we're going to do it. Juve have a great dream and I want to make it a reality." A three-time European champion with the Catalans, the 33-year-old will give Juve crucial know-how in the competition, not to mention expertise down the right flank.

Medhi Benatia gives Juve options at the back
Medhi Benatia gives Juve options at the back©Getty Images

Defensive depth
Juventus already boasted one of world football's most miserly rearguards: the 'BBC' back line of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. However, Barzagli is 35 and Chiellini has struggled with injuries in recent years, missing the 2015 UEFA Champions League final and last term's round of 16 loss to Bayern.

In this context, the Turin club snapped up Medhi Benatia from Bayern earlier this month, to enable Allegri to rotate more frequently and reduce the risk of fatigue and injury. The 29-year-old centre-back has strong Serie A pedigree, having spent three campaigns with Udinese before being named in the league's team of 2013/14 during his short stay at Roma.

Miralem Pjanić is a free-kick expert
Miralem Pjanić is a free-kick expert©AFP/Getty Images

Vision and set-piece skills
After bidding farewell to Andrea Pirlo in 2015, Allegri used Claudio Marchisio as a deep-lying playmaker last season. The Italian international performed well until he sustained a cruciate ligament problem in April, forcing him to start the new campaign on the sidelines. Injury-prone Sami Khedira, meanwhile, contested only 20 leagues matches last term.

Crucially, new recruit Miralem Pjanić can cover various midfield duties. The 26-year-old Bosnian international arrives after his best season for Roma – including ten Serie A goals – and his through passes and dead balls should prove vital assets. As former team-mate and fellow free-kick maestro Juninho Pernambucano explained: "He's the best free-kick taker in the world today."

Marko Pjaca could take fans by surprise
Marko Pjaca could take fans by surprise©AFP/Getty Images

Pace and versatility
Allegri often utilised Juan Cuadrado's pace to unlock defences in 2015/16, yet with the winger back at Chelsea, Marko Pjaca could well fill the gap. The 21-year-old Croatia prospect has talent and speed in abundance, as displayed at UEFA EURO 2016, and he can shine in assorted roles. That ought to allow Allegri to switch between 4-3-3 and 4-3-1-2, and while Pjaca may not be the biggest name Juve have snared this summer, he has the potential to take Bianconeri fans by surprise.

Paulo Dybala impressed last season
Paulo Dybala impressed last season©Getty Images

Goals, goals, goals
After netting 35 goals in his first two seasons in Italy, Higuaín stepped up another gear in 2015/16, surpassing that total in a single campaign. The 28-year-old is now expected to partner compatriot Paulo Dybala in Juve's attack – a mouth-watering proposition, with Dybala having weighed in with 19 Serie A strikes last term.

"We're good friends as we know each other from the national team," said Dybala, speaking before Higuaín's signing was completed. "We talk often. It would be a dream to play with him." For Serie A's defences, it could be a nightmare.

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