Daniele Rugani’s long-term future seemed to be at Juventus after the defender signed a long-term contract only four months ago. However, a change in management coupled with the increased competition means that the 24-year-old could be forced to look elsewhere for first-team opportunities.
Maurizio Sarri came in as the replacement for Massimiliano Allegri and he has been backed with several new signings. However, Rugani came out worse after all these changes, as most of the new signings – Merih Demiral and Matthijs de Ligt – happen to be his direct competitors.
Even though Rugani has plenty of experience in the Italian Serie A, the 24-year-old has to be prepared for a substantial struggle to get into the first team. Last season, the defender only featured in 19 games for the club. The presence of five defenders competing for two positions makes it unviable for Rugani to expect a significant improvement in terms of game time.
Rugani, though, is not short of admirers as it is believed that AC Milan and Roma could make a move for the defender in the final 10 days of the transfer window. Juventus managing director Beppe Marotta will be in a very strong position to negotiate a good transfer fee for the player.
The biggest problem for Rugani is that Sarri does not rotate his squad often. The Italian ended up using just 24 players for Chelsea in the 2018-19 campaign. The number could be much worse if not for a late flurry of debuts to players like Callum Hudson-Odoi towards the end of the campaign. There were teams with the far fewer budgets that had more players on the pitch.
Sarri’s final season at Napoli saw the club use only 23 players – the second-fewest total in the division back then.
Remarkably, Rugani was linked with a move to Chelsea last season but he ended up staying at Juventus. In fact, there has been speculation regarding Rugani ever since he broke through into the first-team in 2013. The defender may have spent the initial few years at Empoli on a loan deal, but he was expected to be the future of Juve’s defence. During those days at Empoli, Rugani played under Sarri.
The player’s agent was highly sceptical about his client remaining at Turin. According to Goal.com, he said:
“I don’t know what Juve have in mind, but they will certainly make their evaluations with many players, all of them at a high level.
“There are many talented players in his role now, we’ll see what happens. It’s only natural that there are other clubs interested in Rugani.”
Rugani was on the bench in the recent friendly against Inter Milan and he came on to replace Leonardo Bonucci. It was not a huge surprise that summer signing de Ligt started the game alongside the experienced campaigner.
A move away from Juventus may also enhance Daniele Rugani’s international career. Since making the debut for Italy in 2016, the defender has not featured for the national team since 2018. Even though he did not feature in any of the last four Euro 2020 qualifiers, Rugani can expect a recall with regular first-team football.
Clubs who are interested in signing the 24-year-old may have to come up with €30 million, according to the Gazzetta Dello sport. This should not be a huge problem considering that the player has immense talent.