Ronaldo influence and impending Sarri arrival could spell the end for Dybala in Turin

One of the games biggest talents that's lost his way

When you think of the best attackers in European football, and in particular Serie A, one player comes quickly to mind. Paulo Dybala.

The diminutive Argentine has terrorised defences in Italy for 7 years now with Palermo and Juventus, where he's scored 78 goals in the last 4 seasons.

The 25 year-old has taken his game to lofty new heights since making the move to Turin and he's proven that he's much more than just a goalscorer. His technical ability and pace mean he's capable of playing anywhere across the forward line, with his preferred position coming in the hole behind the front man.

His most prolific campaign at the Allianz Stadium came when playing behind compatriot Gonzalo Higuain in 2017/18, where he netted an impressive 26 times in 46 appearances.

But since the departure of Higuain to AC Milan then Chelsea on loan and the arrival of club record signing Cristiano Ronaldo, he hasn't had things all his own way.

In order to accommodate the £105m man, then head coach Massimiliano Allegri changed the system to a 4-3-3, which meant their new no.7 was the focal point of their attack. It's resulted in a lot of goals for the Portugal skipper, but as a consequence it's meant that Dybala has been shifted out onto the right flank - a position it's fair to say he doesn't prefer.

A return of just 5 league goals, 17 fewer than the previous campaign tells it's own story and despite Allegri departing, it doesn't look his role in the team is going to change.

Juve are expected to move for Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri to replace the Italian, who is stubborn in his approach to the game as Blues fans know all too well. He's a firm believer in 4-3-3 so it looks like Dybala will once again miss out on his preferred role, which won't go down well.

The Argentina international is immensely gifted but he can't afford to endure another campaign like he has, so should he stay or should he go?

Needs to be the main man once again

Eyebrows were raised slightly when Juventus shelled out over €35m on Paulo Dybala back in 2015 after the forward scored 13 league goals for mid-table Palermo, but what a signing it's turned out to be.

In his first three seasons he scored a total of 68 goals (23, 19, 26), which makes his drop off last term all the more concerning. A player of his quality should be netting considerably more than 10 goals a season which is the total he produced last year, which is obviously down to his role in the team.

He flourishes when playing in the hole behind a conventional no.9, something which he's done in Turin with Alvaro Morata, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain, but of course the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo has changed things.

Paulo Dybala
Goals and minutes in his preferred role have dried up for Paulo Dybala since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo

Massimilano Allegri had the task of trying to fit the pair in the same starting XI along with a number of other world class players and whilst it's resulted in another Serie A title, underwhelming campaigns in the Champions League, Coppa Italia and of course for Dybala at a personal suggest that things need to change.

Maurizio Sarri looks likely to be that change and the Italian won't be offering a change in tactical approach. At Napoli and now Chelsea, he's been hellbent on persisting with his 4-3-3 system which when it works can be very difficult to stop and a great watch. But for Dybala this isn't good news.

He's enjoyed tremendous success since moving to northern Italy but with him now at the age of 25 and approaching the peak years of his career, a transfer may prove very beneficial.

With the club paying Ronaldo astronomical wages his influence isn't going to diminish anytime soon and with Sarri set to come in, the current system will almost certainly be remaining in place.

Future in Turin looking uncertain?

Juventus are making lots of headlines over in Italy at the moment, their search for a new manager has been a hot topic for a while but the whispers around Dybala's future are also up there.

We've heard different things from his camp, in May his brother Gustavo claimed that Paulo wanted to depart Juventus because he's "no longer at ease and happy, as many other Juventus players are no longer well".

Speaking to Radio Impacto show Futbolemico, he claimed that his brothers relationship with Ronaldo wasn't the issue, it's his role on the pitch that is. "No, off the field there is no problem with Cristiano," he added. "The problems are on the field. Paulo is young, he has to play."

Paulo Dybala Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus
Dybala enjoys a great relationship with Ronaldo, but his new role within the team has had a negative impact both on his performance level and happiness

Interesting comments, but then just a week later they were quashed by the man himself: "I want to stay at Juventus again next year, I want to continue playing here. I'm happy, I wear the Juve jersey with pride."

The contrast in comments has confused Juve fans who despite watching their no.10 go through a testing season, is still a firm favourite.

It's a real hot topic this and Italian football expert Adam Digby, the author of Juventus: A history of black and white believes that he "can fully see him moving on this summer in search of somewhere he can play his more natural role", when speaking to Sky Sports.

"I think the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo forced Juventus to play a front three for the most of last season and the only position available to Dybala in that system is wide on the right - that doesn't suit him.

"He is much more comfortable down the middle behind a conventional No 9. And he has really struggled to adapt to that this season." Digby added.

If he is to go, where next?

When a player of Paulo Dybala's quality becomes available, clubs queue up. The Argentina international may have endured his worst season in terms of goal involvements since joining Juve but European footballs elite will still be desperate to secure his signature.

Juventus would demand a mega sum for his services which would ensure a tidy profit on the €35m they paid Palermo back in 2015.

Bayern Munich (7/2), Manchester United (4/1) and Atletico Madrid (11/2) are currently the frontrunners when it comes to betting on his next move, all of which are in the market for new forwards so he'd slot in nicely.

Bayern are expected to be one of the biggest spenders this summer with them looking to add a couple of wingers to their squad, along with recruiting a replacement for the outgoing James Rodriguez who's returned to Real Madrid following the completion of his two year loan.

In Bavaria, Dybala would be able to play in his preferred position behind the striker, which would be the prolific Robert Lewandowski. We all saw how he flourished behind Higuain in 17/18 and the Poland international is very similar, a clinical poacher. So all-in-all, this looks like a very good move.

Allianz Arena Bayern Munich
A transfer to Bayern Munich would make so much sense for both parties

Manchester United on the other hand are in a state of emergency at the moment after a dismal campaign which saw them finish in sixth. They're also in the market for a number of players and capturing Dybala would be some coup. They may be in their worst state they've been in for years, but they're still a very attractive proposition and there he would get plenty of minutes under his belt.

The Red Devils have the funds to give both him and Juventus whatever they want and the two clubs do have a decent working relationship dating back to the Paul Pogba deal in 2016. But there he'd be arriving at a club without Champions League football and with no guarantees that they're going to return there anytime soon, it would represent something of a gamble.

Then finally, Atletico Madrid are looking at bringing a new striker to the Wanda Metropolitano with star man Antoine Griezmann set to depart this summer. The France international will leave a huge void in their attack but the signing of Dybala would certainly ease that transition.

Diego Simeone
Diego Simeone is in the market to replace Antoine Griezmann and Dybala would certainly fit the bill

Los Rojiblancos tend to line up in a 4-4-1-1 which means he'd play in his preferred position and he'd also be working with compatriot Diego Simeone, who is one of the finest young managers in the game. Another move that would be tough to turn down and the minutes on the pitch in his favourite role will only strengthen his claim for a spot in the national team.

The calibre of club linked with moves for Dybala prove just how highly rated he is. He's often been linked with moves away from Juve but this summer looks like it could finally happen. It's going to be very interesting to see how this one plays out...


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