Carlo Tévez's departure to CA Boca Juniors has left big shoes to fill at Juventus but, says Paolo Menicucci, Massimiliano Allegri has plenty of options.
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Carlo Tévez has secured the return to CA Boca Juniors he so desired, the Buenos Aires club having announced the signing of the 31-year-old Juventus forward overnight. So what does that mean for the UEFA Champions League runners-up? What are Massimiliano Allegri's attacking options? Paolo Menicucci attempts to answer the pressing questions.
What have Juventus lost?
'The Apache' scored 39 league goals after joining from Manchester City FC in 2013, helping the Bianconeri win the Scudetto in both his seasons in Turin. Last term he also lifted the Coppa Italia – only the third domestic double in Juve's history – and his seven goals in 13 UEFA Champions League games underpinned their run to the Berlin final. It was more than that, though: Tévez's leadership and fighting spirit were priceless.
Who will lead the attack next season?
Juve were prepared for life after Tévez. They swooped for Paulo Dybala two days before the UEFA Champions League final and Mario Mandžukić followed earlier this week. Neither are direct replacements, and Allegri acknowledges it will take a bit of time to work out the best system.
Dybala joined Juve from US Città di Palermo for a fee that could rise to €40m and is the long-term option. Quick, technically gifted and with a lethal left foot, Dybala scored 13 goals for Palermo last season. "He has the potential to become a great player," Allegri said. "We signed him because he can help us start a new and long winning cycle."
The 21-year-old obviously lacks the experience of his departing compatriot, and probably the same garra (fighting spirit) – not many can compete with Tévez in that department. Mandžukić is closer in that sense; as new club-mates Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci can attest. Their battles have been a feature of recent meetings against FC Bayern München and then Club Atlético de Madrid.
The Croatian, 29, is master of pressing opponents hard and opening up space for team-mates with his physical strength. He also contributes more directly in front of goal. "He has scored in every league he has played," Allegri said. "He has character and is a world-class striker who will do really well in Italy."
Could the system change?
The personnel adjustments have not yet ended. Italy striker Simone Zaza could return from loan at US Sassuolo Calcio and Andrea Pirlo is heavily rumoured to be set to end his spell at the club. So could Allegri alter his playing system? After successfully switching from 3-5-2 to 4-3-1-2 last term, a 4-3-3 – with Dybala and Álvaro Morata playing either side or just behind Mandžukić – could be the answer.
Why has Tévez gone?
Tévez, 31, joined the Boca academy in 1997 at 13 and played with the Buenos Aires outfit until 2004. He had already made it clear that he wanted to go back to his beloved club last year when he refused to extend his contract with Juventus. Indeed, he could wait no longer and a €5m fee and the loan of 18-year-old Guido Vadalà could smooth his passage.