March 27, 2023

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The perfect transfer that shouldn’t have been. How Filip Kostic is pulling Juventus up

Shirko’s double, Kechinov’s mocking blow, running walls. 25 years of the legendary victory of Spartak over Ajax

Shirko’s double, Kechinov’s mocking blow, running walls. 25 years of the legendary victory of Spartak over Ajax

Summer. Ibiza. Dallas.

It is far from a secret that at first Juventus used the name of Kostic solely to draw the attention of the press to another name in order to avoid pressure on the main goal of the summer – Angel Di Maria, who was vacationing in Ibiza with his family. With Paul Pogba’s free-agent approval already secured, Angel should have been the icing on the cake in preparation for next season. Allegri intended to build the formation by moving the ball through Pogba forward along the central axis, and Di Maria had to connect the center of the field and the attacking third with his ingenious passes.

Nobody warned Kostic about this, and he just saw a sincere interest from the grandee of European football. Of course, this inspired and seemed to be the finishing touch in a busy career with constant growth, technical and emotional – Kostic was always full of ambitions beyond measure. And so Angel agreed to the transition, but everyone forgot about Kostich. It was an ugly situation, as the fans were excited by the potential move of one of the strongest passers of recent years and betting on a near-retirement Argentine with only one year left could not be conceived.

Kostic was close to despair and tried with all his appearance to demonstrate a benevolent attitude towards Juventus, and at the same time his desire to choose Turin as his future place of residence. During the pre-season tour of Juventus in the USA, Kostic liked all the posted videos, viewed all the stories of the club and players on Instagram, commented and wished the guys good luck in friendly games. In short, in terms of involvement in the tour, Kostic even interrupted the Juventus players themselves, judging by the social networks and excitement after such a sad disregard by the management.

And now we got to the main point – Pogba got a meniscus injury in Dallas and was out, as it turned out, for a very long time. Juventus had already pulled off a deal with Bremer, having spent most of the money from the sale of De Ligt, and the transfer window threatened to end with an understaffed squad. Allegri lost the main artist in midfield and was forced to rethink tactics for the season. No one could repeat the functionality of Pogba among the midfielders of Juventus, so it was decided to transfer the development vector of attacks to the flanks. And here the leadership remembered Filip Kostic.

Given the injury of Federico Chiesa and the instability of Weston McKenny, coupled with the increased injury rate of Juan Cuadrado, Juventus actually remained naked on the flanks. How can one not remember that in Cherubini’s office, somewhere deep in the drawers, there was a dossier on one of the best laterals in Europe, who costs very little and burns with all his heart precisely for Juventus? It was already August 6th.

The Kostic family, meanwhile, was preparing to move to England – Eintracht could not wait long and ignore incoming offers from other clubs, but Filip kept postponing negotiations and waiting for Juve. West Ham were close to signing the Serbian, but Kostic’s agent dragged on to the last moment with the conclusion of the contract, and Juventus managed to actually make his offer at the last moment.

West Ham offered the club more, but Kostic was no longer going to listen to anything else, threatening, if necessary, to wait until the completion of the contract and leave for Juventus for free. So Cherubini, without suspecting it, had prepared an airbag for himself since May, which he managed to urgently use. For frank pennies by the standards of the modern market at 13 million, not including bonuses, Kostic ( estimated at 24 million ) joined Juventus.

And now it’s March, the season is entering the final third, has Kostic become the one the club was looking for?

Holy Grail for Massimiliano Allegri.

The autumn period for Juventus frankly did not work out. In September, the club was never able to win, the team conceded stupid goals, and Dusan Vlahovic, together with Arkadiusz Milik, actually did not create dangerous situations at the opponent’s goal, being content with set-piece goals and rare successful combinations. Allegri tried to the last not to abandon the 4-3-3 scheme played in the summer, but the terrible form of Angel Di Maria and the high abundance of injured led to the fact that Juventus constantly failed in the center of the field and could not organize anything worthwhile ahead.

The notorious 15 starting minutes, when the team played flawlessly, persistently and looked formidable, and then the next hour, the tired players sat down on their gates and fought back until the last seconds, became the hallmark of Juventus in the autumn. In the Champions League followed by 5 defeats in 6 matches, and midfielder Adrien Rabiot became the top scorer in this tournament. Given the investment in defense and the attraction a year ago of one of the most talented and expensive strikers of the Italian and European Championships in general, the management was perplexed – what was happening and why the result was so far below expectations?

Here Allegri threw away all the summer developments and went on a simple, but, as it turned out, the right path: he put up a simple and working 3-5-2 formation with active flanks, so that the laterals would advance the ball and work out in defense, and the three central defenders, together with the second defensive block in the face of the opornik simply closed the gate with a lock. The attackers were required to put their heads and legs under the endless canopies and lumbago from the flanks.