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How Will Paulo Dybala Fit In At Juventus?

Having secured a big money move to Juventus, we take a look at Paulo Dybala’s performances from the 2014/15 Serie A season.

At €28m [plus a further €8m in performance-related add-ons], Dybala is the most expensive purchase of the Agnelli-Marotta administration after the €20m paid for Morata a year ago. And just like then, there is a degree of scepticism about their latest investment. For instance, is Dybala really the genuine article? Marotta and Paratici will point the naysayers in the direction of Morata. Just as they were proved right with Allegri, the young Spaniard has vindicated them by overtaking Llorente in the pecking order and putting in decisive performances in the Champions League.

Questions about Dybala revolve around a number of issues, like how one-sided he is, his streakiness and ability to adapt. He’ll likely get less game time at Juventus and less space to play in than at Palermo. Teams sit deep against the champions. They tighten everything up. Opponents are not as open and emboldened as they are when they play a team like Palermo.

“And things didn’t go well for Dybala a year ago when Palermo were the Juventus of Serie B,” noted Mario Sconcerti.

He went more than a year without a goal even when Palermo dropped down a tier. This season, 11 of his 13 goals came between October and February. He hasn’t scored from open play in 13 games.

An explanation for that might be defenders getting wise to Dybala and the speculation about his future turning his head. Misfortune is a factor too. He has hit the woodwork five times this season – the second most in Serie A.

There’s also a debate about whether he is the same when not partnered with Franco Vazquez. Their chemistry goes a long way to explaining the season they’ve enjoyed. Vazquez has assisted Dybala four times and his teammate has returned the favour three times. Given Allegri’s penchant for No.10s – Juventus looked at Wesley Sneijder in January, were sounded out about interest in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and by his own admission this week even thought about Antonio Cassano – it’s a surprise they haven’t [yet] been bought as a pair.

But perhaps Dybala will find himself in those areas anyway. He isn’t a Mauro Icardi, an out-and-out goalscorer, a penalty box predator. His game is more well-rounded and – from their point of view it’s bad luck Inter missed out on him because as a duo they would probably have dovetailed really nicely. Dybala’s 10 assists are a league high. Sharing the record with him are No.10s like Marek Hamsik and Miralem Pjanic. This reinforces the perception of him as a creator and a finisher. He is the only player in double figures in both goals and assists.

Even if his 2015 has been quieter than his end to the last calendar year it’s still worth recalling that the likes of Del Piero, Baggio [both 6] and Totti [5] hadn’t scored as many at his age in a single season. Pippo Inzaghi [13] had done of course but the comparison there is more applicable with Icardi. In Dybala, Juventus have bought great potential. Invited to attend the Champions League final and watch his new team, treble or not, the future is bright for a rejuvenating Old Lady.