Talking transfers and another Turkish challenge

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty ImagesJuventus manager Antonio Conte isn't getting along with the Italian press, leading to speculation he could be looking to move out of the country.

Considering the state of Serie A and attempts to drag his name through the mud, it is feared Juventus manager Antonio Conte will have enough of all the drama in the peninsula and opt to move elsewhere.

Monaco has already been touted as a possible destination. Considering the formidable project they are in the midst of executing and the vast wealth made available to them by billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, they may be a suitable prospect.

Some have even dared to link the Italian to Manchester United -- a rumour that is practically impossible to believe. Nonetheless, it’s clear that should Conte want to leave, there will be an abundance of clubs ready to sign him even if he continues to state his happiness at the time spent with the wonderful team he’s managed.

As such, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici and general manager Beppe Marotta are working tirelessly to unearth the right talent to bring in to the club and allow Conte the tactical flexibility he so craves in an effort to satisfy the man guiding the club from strength to strength.

A winger is of the utmost importance and whilst there is talk of Manchester United's Nani and Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado, Paris Saint-Germain's Jeremy Menez is the most realistic of all the candidates, especially as his contract is due to expire. Based on reports that circulated Friday, it seems a deal is on the verge of being agreed to.

There is also the interest shown in Mario Mandzukic. While the forward is enjoying an exciting season with Bayern Munich, should Robert Lewandowski arrive, it’s possible the Croatian will leave to ensure playing time and a starring role in a team that yearn for his skill. The earliest Mandzukic would make the move is the summer. But, as we have come to expect from the Juve directors, future planning is of the utmost importance.

While transfers are discussed during these Wyscout days, there is Sunday's Serie A fixture against Atalanta to prepare for. Conte is not be giving a pre-match press conference because of disrespect he believes he has been shown by the press. However, based on the team’s training, the side is expected to take on their usual 3-5-2 form with all the usual suspects in place.

Based on the terrific performance against Sassuolo last Sunday, it seems the squad have overcome the disappointing loss to Galatasaray that knocked them out of the Champions League. On Monday, the Italian champions learned their Europa League fate. The first challenge in the round of the 32 pits them against yet another Turkish side, Trabzonspor, and the Turks are delighted to face the Italians (the ties are Feb. 20 at Juventus and Feb. 27 in Turkey). In fact, according to the Trabzonspor president, if they play “at the top of our game, we can beat Juventus home and away!”

For the moment, the sixth-place Turkish team should focus on achieving a few more domestic league wins, as their form has been somewhat inconsistent this season. However much they have suffered this year, last season proved even worse as the side that attempts to fight it out amongst the best in Turkey finished ninth last season.

Playing a fluid style of counter-attacking football, they started out this season reliant on a solid defence that absorbed pressure before exploiting holes and spaces to unleash the pace and strength within. However, in their last few matches, their defensive solidity has taken a beating and they have since conceded nine goals in five games.

Usually deployed in a 4-2-3-1, they too boast ex-Chelsea men who will look to inflict the same pain on the Bianconeri as their former teammate Didier Drogba managed in Istanbul. With Jose Bosingwa in defence and Florent Malouda available to drive the attack, they are a side that boast talent in certain areas of the pitch. Malouda has grown even more important to the side this month, scoring three goals in his last three domestic fixtures.

However, their most important player is perhaps Olcan Adin, the man who has scored five goals and managed one assist in six appearances in the Europa League alone. Played on the right, the attacker boasts technique, versatility and a powerful shot whilst he’s presently riding the wave of confidence.

Yet despite the potential danger the side possess, they are not the team they were in May 2011 and have lost that ability to intimidate the opponent, falling further down the standings each year. They may have proved effective against a Lazio side struggling to find the back of the net, but the Old Lady is an entirely different prospect. Even the Bianconeri reserves have demonstrated fluidity and intensity when called upon. Should Juve treat the competition with any sort of respect then a win can be expected.


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