This is officially the longest-running gimmick I have been doing since I started writing for BWRAO way back when Juventus used to actually be good — and now it’s back.
And what better time to bring them to you than during everyone’s favorite International break. It’s power ranking season, baby!
In case you don’t remember the dynamic here, it goes like this: We are going to rank the Juventus squad into tiers, from least to most important when it comes to the success of the club during the 2023-24 season. This is to say, it’s not a straight up ranking of who’s the best player, but who’s the most important to the team.
So, for example, if I were to rank Danilo ahead of, say, Manuel Locatelli, it does not mean that I believe the Brazilian defender is an overall better player than the Italian midfielder is in a vacuum; it just means that whether he performs up to snuff or not is more pivotal to the fate of the season than whether Locatelli does.
So, with that out of the way, let’s not waste any more time. Here are your Juventus squad power rankings for the new season.
Tribute to the Fallen
Denis Zakaria – MF
Arthur Melo – MF
Angel Di Maria – LW
Juan Cuadrado – RW
Leonardo Bonucci – CB
Nicolo Rovella – MF
Luca Pellegrini – LB
Woof, that’s a long ass list, huh? And that’s not even counting the armada of loanees that Juventus send all over the league — or, Frosinone really — as they trimmed every single ounce of fat they could from what was a very bloated squad.
Not many people are going to be missing the likes of Arthur, Zakaria or Pellegrini — who were not even in the squad last year, either — but it’s worth giving a few words to the other guys on this list.
Di Maria and Cuadrado were by far the players who made the biggest impact last season that left after their contracts expired. Di Maria showed that he had more in the tank left than Cuadrado, but it was probably wise for all parties involved to finish the relationship.
The departure that hurts the most tactically and for the future is Rovella leaving for Lazio, and the one that hurts the most emotionally is Bonucci, who was washed but was the last stalwart of those great Juventus teams of last decade and his exit was acrimonious to say the least.
(This was written before he was suing the club, which, goddamn, right?)
Tier 8: Goat of Goats
Carlo Pinsoglio – GK
Just another year of having the greatest job on this planet for Carlo Pinsoglio, no notes…
OK, one note: We cannot forget his incredible showing in the most prestigious competition in world football during the summer. Yes, I am of course talking of the International Champions Cup.
MVP! MVP! MVP!
On the unlikely case that Juventus needs his services in meaningful games this season, I’m happy to know that we are covered.
Tier 7: J Medical Residents
Mattia De Sciglio – LB/RB
Paul Pogba – MF
Injuries suck. Nobody wants to see them, and I’m sure that both of the guys on this list would rather not be remarkably injury prone but for the purposes of this exercise they both have to be ranked super low.
De Sciglio is still recovering from the ACL injury he sustained last season and is expected to return somewhere around the new year. Still, there’s very little chance he actually gets meaningful minutes until 2024 at best and if he does he’s as sure of a thing to land himself back in the injury report quickly.
As for Pogba … I mean the doping thing doesn’t help, huh? He had looked fine and healthy in the first few games of the season, but he had already reported a minor knock and with his provisional suspension announced just a couple of days ago, the odds of him making any impact in this season are as low as they have ever been.
I’m sure if you go back into the annals of Juventus history there are more disappointing transfers than Pogba’s but … it’s in the top five? top three? It’s in play. Just a bummer all around, so let’s move on.
Tier 6: Capable Backups
Mattia Perin – GK
Daniele Rugani – CB
Look at Daniele Rugani! Scaling the depths of the bottom of these power rankings year after year to settle himself as middle of the road. And that’s what Rugani is at this juncture — just a prototypical great fourth choice defender, great locker room presence, and whenever he needs to step up he does an adequate job. No wonder Juventus are looking to extend his contract because sometimes you need guys like that.
Perin is a similar case, though I do think he’s slightly overqualified to be a backup keeper. Still, there are very few backups that you feel more comfortable being out there than Perin either in Coppa Italia or if starter Wojciech Szczesny gets a knock and misses time.
Tier 5: Upgrades Wanted
Alex Sandro – LB
Weston McKennie – MF
Arek Milik – ST
This group is going to get minutes and play a role in this team, and man I sure would wish we had better players here.
This is kind of unfair for McKennie, who’s a serviceable to good midfielder but is constantly being used out of position and really stretching the definition of Swiss army knife player for Juventus. This year, he seems like he’s destined to roam the right wing and do a bit of everything which if that’s the way they use him I’d rather have someone else doing that work.
In the two-striker lineup Juve seem to be favoring lately, Milik is arguably the fourth striker, and while he’s fine at that, I’d rather give his minutes to a younger player or someone with a different profile.
The headliner here, though, is Alex Sandro, who despite being roughly as washed as anybody is still getting a heavy dose of minutes as a quasi-left center back in a three-man backline. There’s nobody on this roster that is going to get a heavier workload that so desperately needs an upgrade.
Tier 4: Smooth Operator
Wojciech Szczesny – GK
Danilo – CB/LB/RB
Manuel Locatelli – MF
Adrien Rabiot – MF
Filip Kostic – LW
As per usual with this tier, what you see is what you get from this group — always steady, always ready in their performances and every club needs guys like this.
Woj, Danilo and Locatelli are old regulars of this tier, so I don’t have a ton more to add about them outside of what I already mentioned above. Kostic is here because the definition of a reliable standard after accumulating a massive number of appearances last season and being one of the more constant players even if he rarely lit the world of fire.
Rabiot is one of the new incorporations into this group after being up and down for a lot of his stint with Juventus he finally managed to find the consistency and became a stalwart for the midfield of the team. Good to have ya, Adrien.
Timothy Weah – RW
Andrea Cambiaso – LW
Moise Kean – ST
A fascinating mix of players for the Wild Card tier this season.
Let’s start with the guy that has been wearing Juventus stripes for more than three games in Kean. It feels like we’ve been waiting for his breakout season for years now, and this might be his final chance to put it together as rumors circled about his future all summer.
With the pressing, wingback-heavy system that Juve have deployed lately Kean might have his best shot at establishing himself as the clear-cut third choice striker and be a difference maker moving forward.
Speaking of a wingback-heavy system! Last year, the 3-5-2 formation never quite panned out because, well, we didn’t have more than one single wingback on the roster, so the ceiling for the formation was quite low overall. If this year is any different is because newcomers Weah and Cambiaso have the exact skills to make this formation sing.
Both of them have had good showings so far but their performances can be a huge difference maker if they continue to improve.
Tier 3: On the Edge
Nicolo Fagioli – MF
Fabio Miretti – MF
Federico Gatti – CB
This tier reserved for guys that are already good and figure to play major roles in this team but are just oh-so-close to becoming really top tier level players.
The trio of young Italians have had several moments of truly great play but they are still looking for the day in and day out consistency to become legit difference makers in this squad.
Fagioli is far and away the closest one to getting there. After winning Serie A’s best young player award last season he’s on his way to becoming the dynamic midfielder this team so desperately needs. His injury late last season has stopped his ascent somewhat, but as soon as he shakes off the rust he figures to move up in the tiers shortly.
Miretti is still working to get that final product to catch up with everything he already does well. My guess is that it will come with time and it speaks highly of him that Allegri opted to keep him in the team rather than loan him out to a lesser team to get more experience.
Gatti, similarly, has to clean some stuff up to get to the level of his teammates in the three man backline, but when he does he has everything in his tool set to become just as good as the next man we will talk about next.
Tier 2: Building Blocks
Dusan Vlahovic – ST
Bremer – CB
These are two guys that when performing at their best can make the claim to be one the best at their positions in Italy.
Bremer flourished as soon as the team transitioned to the three-man backline that he was more familiar with and he was a big part of why Juventus had a good defense last season. He figures to have a good one this year as well. He’s a blue-chipper in all senses.
Vlahovic is decidedly a guy who has struggled to find his footing. Call it system, call it form. Perhaps a bit of both. But the Serbia international hasn’t been the all-world striker we thought we were getting so far when he was signed a year and a half ago. That doesn’t mean he can’t ever get there, far from it.
The early returns have seen a more focused and involved Vlahovic in a system that suits him a lot more than what we were seeing last year. He has to deliver this year and if he does this team has a legit chance to make some noise.
Tier 1: Best in the League Potential
Federico Chiesa – LW/ST
People forget that before his injury Chiesa was tabbed to be next up in the conversation of best players in Europe after authoring an impressive first season for Juventus and a swashbuckling victory at the Euros in the summer of 2021.
It took a while to get his knee rehabbed and it took even more for him to start looking like his old self, but in the first few games of the 2023-24 season it looks like old Freddy Church is back on track.
The goal for this team is still murky — somewhere between a top four finish and maybe making a run for some silverware. If Chiesa is back to his old self, I guarantee that it’s going to be much closer to the latter rather than the former.