The Juventus side that starts against Udinese on Sunday will be markedly different to recent seasons as the champions go in search of a fifth successive Serie A title.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men were unable to add European success to recent their domestic dominance when they were beaten by Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final in May and there have been wholesale changes at the Turin club since then.
Alongside established Serie A prospects such as Roberto Pereyra and Paulo Dybala, Allegri has brought in Mario Mandzukic and Sami Khedira while also fending off interest in Paul Pogba – for the time being at least.
Allegri has lost Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal, so the new faces will be under pressure to fill the void left by such a key trio.
Tevez – who completed an emotional return to Boca Juniors in the close-season – weighed in with more Serie A goals for Juve than any other player between 2011 and 2015, despite only arriving in 2013.
With 39 strikes, his occasional absences were felt by Allegri, whose side won only 60 per cent of games without him compared to 80.3 per cent when he was in the side.
While Vidal did not have the best of seasons last term prior to joining Bayern Munich, the Chile international chipped in with 20 assists over the last four seasons – trailing only Pirlo.
The veteran midfielder added 31 of his own in that time although, at 36, his exit is perhaps the most understandable of Juve’s summer exodus.
New York City supporters will now get to enjoy his sublime range of passing first hand as Allegri’s focus will turn to moulding new recruits into a unit that can carry on the work of previous years.
Mandzukic’s physical presence and eye for goal could have a big say in whether the Scudetto stays at the Juventus Stadium.
“Mandzukic has scored everywhere he has played,” Allegri said after the Croatia striker’s arrival and the Juve boss will hope that trend continues – having registered 114 league goals during spells with Wolfsburg, Bayern and Atletico Madrid.
The burly frontman is sure to ruffle some opposition feathers and it will be up to the likes of Dybala and Simone Zaza – as well as Alvaro Morata – to play off the 29-year-old.
Zaza scored 20 times in two seasons for Sassuolo – including twice against Juve – to earn his move, while Dybala has also caught the eye during recent seasons with 16 goals and 10 assists for Palermo.
Allegri knows what he will get from Pereyra, having impressed on loan from Udinese last term, while Khedira will be entrusted with taking on Pirlo’s mantle of dictating the tempo in midfield.
The Germany international is set to miss the opening stages of Juve’s season with a thigh injury but should offer a calming presence in midfield, allowing a platform for the likes of Pogba to roam forward.
Such an en-masse turnover in personnel would usually prove a headache, but the arrival of younger replacements boasting such quality would suggest that Juve are again the team to beat.
A repeat of Juve’s European adventure? That serves as the bigger challenge for Allegri’s new-look side.
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