Juventus have invested heavily in Fiorentina’s utility attacker, Federico Bernardeschi, but is he the right man for the right price for the Old Lady?
Federico Bernardeschi is the latest addition to Juventus, as the Bianconeri are transforming the squad for the upcoming season. The young Italian talent has joined from Fiorentina for €40million plus add-ons, a significant investment that means one thing: Juve have a lot of faith in him. But what does he really bring to the Bianconeri?
Bernardeschi has developed into a solid Serie A level player over the past two seasons, firstly becoming a regular first team choice at Fiorentina, then working on his stats and piling up 14 goals and five assists last season. Fairly good numbers, that he can definitely replicate at Juventus.
On top of that, Bernardeschi brings his tactical ability to cover various positions, from the wing-back to any of the players behind the centre forward, and even being able to play as a false nine if necessary. He will be the first alternative to any of the attacking players, and will find the space if he keeps his focus.
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But let’s not be mistaken by his stats and his peaks in form: the former Fiorentina star lacks consistency, a big deal when at a big club like Juventus. Within single games and throughout the season, Berna switches off too often to be a real added value. He can complete this Juve side, not really lift the fundamental level. But surely, if he is to take the final step and add consistency to his abilities, it can happen at such an organised club like Juve.
It is only if you watch him play over several games and for the entirety of them that you really grasp Bernardeschi. He can be lethal when given space to shoot, but he absolutely needs that space, and struggles to dribble past opponents when closely marked. He has pace in long distances, but can be slow in short ones. He depends too much on his left foot, and this is a limit he really needs to overcome.
To compare him to Roberto Baggio – who also went from Fiorentina to Juventus, back in 1990 – is brutal. Baggio can easily be described as the best Italian footballer ever, just a step behind the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona. Bernardeschi will never be anywhere near that level, although his work rate and discipline make him a more modern day footballer than what Baggio could be considered.
The feeling is Berna will never really be a world-class player, but in the right system he can prove to be a useful footballer in a big club. Despite costing a similar amount of many, don’t expect him to be anything like Paulo Dybala. But he can definitely help Juventus next season. It will be also down to coach Massimiliano Allegri to assimilate him gradually in the team and make the most of him.
In a club like Fiorentina, Berna was perfect to provide some moments of magic. At Juventus, consistency, hard work and discipline come before anything else. This really is the final step in Bernardeschi’s career if he is to become a top-class player. In that case, Juventus will have truly added something to an already great side.