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Friday December 21 2012
How do you replace Chiellini?

With Giorgio Chiellini potentially out for three months because of injury, Alex Mott asks if Juventus should invest in a replacement come January.

It has probably been one of the longest and most protracted transfer sagas in the entire history of Italian football. After their unbeaten Scudetto triumph last season, the only piece missing in the Juventus championship winning puzzle was a goalscorer – a true, fox in the box, 25-goal a season man.

Antonio Conte’s side searched high and wide for the right man over the summer. First it was Robin Van Persie, then it was Fernando Llorente. Robert Lewandowski’s been touted as the one. David Villa’s name has been mentioned. Even Didier Drogba has been linked with the Turin club.

None of those names came through the doors of Vinovo however, and Juve had to make do with a move for lumbering Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner, who has started all of two League games so far and not scored a single goal.

Administrators, management and fans of the club may bemoan a lack of cutting edge up front, but with the news on Wednesday that Giorgio Chiellini will miss three months out due to a calf injury, it’s at the back where Juventus may have to look for reinforcement come January.

The 28-year-old’s lay-off comes at just the wrong time for the Old Lady as they go into the Christmas break looking to reaffirm their dominance at the top of Serie A. An away game against Cagliari on Friday evening looks simple enough, but with the Italy international out until late February, a quick look at the fixture list shows matches against Parma, Fiorentina, Roma and Napoli during that period – all of whom have the ability to cause Conte’s men defensive problems.

The Livorno youth product has been a rock for the Bianconeri this term and has been one of the main reasons why they have the second best defensive record in Europe’s top five Leagues, with only Bayern Munich conceding less goals.

His aerial prowess, calmness on the ball and infallible concentration have made him one of best centre-backs on the continent  if not the best. With a regular trio of Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli setting a template, Juventus have arguably the pre-eminent backline in world football – a cornerstone for all their success.

But with this calf tear that could be about to be undone. Number one back-up Lucio has just been released after failing to force his way into the starting XI and the team only now have Martin Caceres and Luca Marrone to cover – neither of whom are naturalised centre-backs.

It is a genuine concern for Juventus as they go into this critical part of the season. Not only are they within touching distance of Inter in second place, but having just been drawn with Celtic in the last 16 of the Champions League, they can start to fear for their European lives.

We’ve seen earlier in the competition what the Scottish side can do with an electric home crowd and some inspired defending. Barcelona weren’t immune to the famous Celtic Park roar, so the same can certainly be said for Italy’s number one team.

Early reports this week have seen Juve linked with Neto of Siena and Atalanta’s Federico Peluso. Both are promising players at provincial Serie A sides, but have yet to prove themselves on the biggest stage.

It may not be the most popular decision, but is it wiser to invest some of their budget on a high-quality central defender rather than a striker?

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Have your say...
I believe caceres and morone will compensate Chiellini.
on the 30th December, 2012 at 4:56pm
have you ever seen that kannoying kid in class that hits someone when the teacher isn't looking and then complains about getting hit when the teacher turns around...."ow he hit me" says the boy.....his name is Inter and the boy he hit is called.....well you can guess....the kid then goes out for recess and throws a snowball and complains that he got hit with one.."it had ice and it really hurt" he says...the teacher than claims to know what he's up to and all he can say is its all Juve's fault..
on the 30th December, 2012 at 12:35pm
It will be impossible to replace chiello on this team as he is a Juve leader in the back for us ..never say die attitude comes from him, he plays for the love of his team and the fans, this is a killer injury for us, I hope Caceres stands tall for us, Bocchetti has some personality and should be heavily considered unfortunately he won't come cheap and thats where Seria A teams have budgeted for cheaper alternatives for help ...Forza Juve viva Conte bring us glory!!
on the 30th December, 2012 at 1:37am
Peluso, a left wingback seems to be the replacement for Chiellini, a solid defender from Atalanta.
on the 25th December, 2012 at 9:30pm
The realistic option as temporary replacement is Bochetti. Beside, he is good option in a back line. Leo, Barza, Chie and Boche can make rotation rule run smooth since the quality gap would be minimalized...
on the 23rd December, 2012 at 11:40pm
There is no replacing Chiellini. It's not just his individual skill, but his knowledge of what Bonucci and Barzagli are going to do at any given moment.

Hopefully we'll hold on defensively until he gets back.
on the 23rd December, 2012 at 11:11am
@ Juventino

Excellent points made my Bianconeri brother. What Inter fans can't accept is that without Calcopoli Inter would still be without a Scudetto since 1989, they would not have signed Ibra or Mourinho, they would not have won multiple fake titles or the Champions League. All of those titles and Juventus showed more class when they were banished to Serie B, even though Inter were the true guilty ones. We are back on top, stronger and more dominant and they can't stand it. FORZA JUVE!!!
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 11:23pm
You don't. You cover for him until he's back.
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 6:14pm
@ Jack - very well said. It's amazing how myopic Interisti are regarding the administration of sporting justice. Can I also remind them of the lost court case against their beloved Bobo Vieri? Climb off the pedestal please...

@Interisti - did you watch the same game as the rest of us last night? Only one team played and quality finally came through. Inter - good luck keeping pace.
And I suppose we're buying refs in Europe too.

Painful truth is that we're back where we belong. Forza Juve!
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 12:28pm
Just like how Pogba fills in for Pirlo, Vidal or Marchisio, Caceres & Marrone can fill in for Chiellini. I like the loan idea, sign somebody as backup for either Caceres & Marrone.

Now the defence is covered, who do Juve sign up front ???

I have to say NO to the over rated Spanish duo Llorente & Villa. Drogba is old & Selfish which leaves us with Higuain whom I hope Juve do sign or Dzeko...

(insert face palm) Nicklas Bendtner scored no goals & is out for the next 3 months LoL, send him back.
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 12:00pm
@ Interisti

You Inter snakes are unable to accept facts. The new Calcopoli evidence states that Inter were guilty of sporting fraud in 2006, whilst Juventus were guilty of nothing more than complaining about officials, something that happens worldwide. The fact that this evidence was buried, by an Inter man, till the statue of limitations made it inadmissible, was an act of real criminal behaviour. You and your anti-Italian mob were classless fake champions, now you are just pathetic losers.
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 7:12am
I have to admit, not being a Juve fan here, but GC is the best CB in the world right now IMO. Get well soon Giorgio!
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 12:44am
Bocchetti would be a shrewd signing, but I would love Juve to sign Roncaglia (although that would be wishful thinking considering relations between Juve & Fiorentina).
on the 22nd December, 2012 at 12:34am
Juve need both. They have a chance to have a truly special season so time for Agnelli to open up the check book. Get Jeep to write a couple of checks!
on the 21st December, 2012 at 10:54pm
Use Lichtsteiner as a central defender. He played there in the summer and tonight against Cagliari when Padoin came on.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 10:26pm
How do you replace chiellini? You dont have too. Chiellini is the 14th man so teams will be playing against 14 and they will be in 10 if their lucky. Again Juve magically won again v 10 men with a little help from their "friends". Scudetto pagato, and then they wondr why the rest of italy is disgusted with them!
on the 21st December, 2012 at 10:20pm
Don't buy. Caceres is alright. Better get a super striker next summer. Cavani for 35 mill. or David Villa for 18 mill. though 31 years old.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 9:42pm
I like caceres and marrone as players, but not as high quality long term replacements at cb.. This was the perfect scenario for a seasoned veteran like lucio; in what world was he living in thinking he was gonna start? I would look at lugano or a similar veteran , although Sorensen is also very intriguing. We do have promising primavera players like mangusson , give him a chance vs. the minnows
on the 21st December, 2012 at 9:21pm
At this point, I don't think any Juve fan expects a striker this January, especially a 'top' striker. I think we're exhausted with that whole topic. Seeing that Lucio left, it would be obvious that Juve's primary move this January will be for a CB.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 6:16pm
we are signing doria from botofogo, 18 years old for 8m according to sky italia.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 5:05pm
I agree with Lex, Caceres can backfill for Chiellini, what is needed is another defender on loan just in case.

The other option is to go to the 4-3-3, only problem is it would put De Celie on the field and take out Asomoah
on the 21st December, 2012 at 4:02pm
I doubt that we need to panic right now, there is the Christmas break & January transfer window is coming up we can certainly find a decent cover for Chiellini. Nobody is going to be as good as he is but we needed more cover at the back so a CB was always a must. Especially since Lucio decided to leave, he wasn't forced out but he chose to leave so i don't regret him leaving as much.

Two facts: No Striker will arrive in January and Caceres will do a great job covering for Chiellini.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 2:43pm
Another solution could be switching to a back 4. With a 433, Giovinco could play wide left, like SES, does for Milan. Or, Juve could play a narrow 442, with Pirlo playing behind Vidal, Marchisio, & Pogba. This will make the midfield even more solid. The width would still be provided by the full-backs. Should Conte persist with the 352, then Caceres-like many have said on here-is the natural solution. Another cb will need to be signed though, as what would happen if Bar, Bon, or Cac got injured?
on the 21st December, 2012 at 1:50pm
Simple, get sorensen back. He's still one of the best serie A defenders this season.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:59pm
We are, despite of our desire for one, not desperately in need of a striker i january. We have scored 36 goals in serie A, only surpassed by Roma.

The focus shoul be a defender, and if he's young and talented, so be it
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:51pm
Chielini is important but you don't need to buy a new player everytime a player gets injured. Cacares is a suitable replacement and cost 8 million euros so use him! The timing of Lucio's departure is unfortunate and he would be ideal experience.
As for strikers. Quagliarella was in top form before his disciplnary problem. Giovinco is irreplaceable.Vucinic has his moments. Drogba would be good but Llorente should be No.1 target - a £30m player could be Juve's for 1/3 of that.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:36pm
Caceres is a world-class international and will cover well until Chiellini returns. We'll miss him but remember that Juve's defensive strength is that they defend as a team. Plus, if you get past the defence, there's still Buffon to beat - he's worth three defenders alone.
I'm sure Conte will have a solution, and Lucio was not it. I always felt uncomfortable when he played.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:34pm
You cannot replace him. He is the best center back in the world IMO. His anticipation is so good, I swear at times that there are two Chiellini's on the pitch. He is a classic old school defender! The only thing I don't like about him, is his theatrics.

Is Masi out on loan? If not, I would throw him in at the deep end. He really impressed me in pre-season. With Georgio's injury, & Lucio's departure; Juve need to sign at least one more cb.
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:03pm
I don't think it's as simple as going and buying a top defender. Any player brought in would have to be familiar playing 3 at the back and there's not too many of them about! I'd stick with caceres as he knows the system and always gives 100%. If it came to it Vidal could slot in in defence and let Pogba take on more in midfield. Buying a top class centre back would cause too many problems when Chiellini is fit again....who do you drop from europes best defence??
on the 21st December, 2012 at 12:02pm
I have every bit of faith in Caceres being able to fill in Giorgio's, he is a class defender. Therefore there is no point splashing out cash for Gio's replacement, however bringing in another defender as a sub might be a good idea (on loan perhaps?).
on the 21st December, 2012 at 11:59am

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