Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not Enough5 strikers that would make Juventus one of the major European forces once again - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough 5 strikers that would make Juventus one of the major European forces once again - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

5 strikers that would make Juventus one of the major European forces once again

At the time of writing, Serie A giants Juventus have been destroying all teams that lay before them and it’s no surprise they currently sitting atop of the table with 44 points from 19 games. Possessing the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco, it came as no shock to anyone to see them run away with the league title last season.

However, the Old Lady suffered somewhat of a blip in their pursuit to land the Scudetto once again after succumbing to a shock 2-1 defeat to the hands of 10-man Sampdoria during the first round of fixtures following the winter break.

Antonio Conte’s side dominated proceedings throughout the encounter and after going 1-0 up, many had expected the Bianconeri to secure a routine three points. Nevertheless, a second half brace courtesy of Mauro Icardi ensured Juventus would enter 2013 on the back of a defeat.

Much of the problem came from a failure to hit the back of the net on the day. Granted, Sampdoria number one Sergio Romero was in inspired form during the encounter at the Juventus Stadium, but with Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri failing to hit the target, not to mention Giovinco unable to add to his penalty strike midway through the first half, it’s evident that Juventus need to invest in a new front-man, be it in January or the summer.

The Old Lady have been linked with a number of big money moves for a number of Europe’s top marksmen in their pursuit to bolster their firepower, but there are five that would prove to be astute acquisitions for the Serie A giants, be it now or at the end of the season.

Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)

Juventus have already confirmed to opening negotiations with the La Liga outfit over a possible move for Fernando Llorente. The powerful Spaniard is out of contract at the end of the season after refusing to extend his stay at the San Mames, much to the displeasure of the club.

The man dubbed the ‘Lion King’, such is his appearance and piercing blue eyes, has devoted his entire career to Athletic, joining the youth team ranks back in 1996 before working his way into the first team via a season with Club Deportivo Baskonia.

Llorente has been impressive for Los Leones during his time with the senior squad, which is currently verging on its eighth year, however, a spectacular falling out with head coach Marcelo Bielsa late in 2012 ensured that his time with the Basque was going to be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

His performances with Athletic have attracted attention right across the continent, with a number of Europe’s heavyweights believed to be keen on securing the signature of the 27-year-old. Yet, it now appears Juventus have beaten the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal and Anzhi Makhachkala in the race for the burly Spain international.

While Athletic are keen to hold onto their star man, his insistence on seeing out his deal at the club before leaving on a free ensures he will be departing the club over the summer, at the very latest. Reports suggest the Bianconeri are willing to pay a fee of around £5m to take him to the Juventus Stadium before the close of transfer window, but if they wait until the end of the season, there is one striker they can secure on the short-term to bolster the striking ranks.

Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua)

Didier Drogba left Chelsea over the summer after seeing out his contract with the west London giants having helped them to Champions League glory with a late equaliser during the final against Bayern Munich.

The Ivorian secured a long protracted switch to Shanghai Shenhua as a result, with the view of improving the awareness of the game in China. It’s been a successful first few months for Drogba, having ended the campaign with eight goals in 11 games.

However, with the season now over, speculation has been rife that a possible short-term move away from the Chinese Super League is on the cards. Chelsea were mooted as a possible destination for the 34-year-old, only for FIFA to block any form of loan move.

Nevertheless, reports suggest Juventus are keen on Drogba, if only until the end of the season, with Director General and Sports Department CEO Guiseppe Marotta confirming the Serie A side are looking to the possibility of taking him to the Juventus Stadium for the remainder of the European footballing calendar.

While the player himself will be representing Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations later this month, he would provide the perfect stop gap until Llorente potentially arrives over the summer, thus avoiding having to pay Athletic compensation.

Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

Alongside Atletico Madrid hitman Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani has emerged as one of, if not the, hottest striking talent across Europe. The Uruguay international has netted an astonishing 91 goals in 118 appearances for Napoli.

The 25-year-old may have fallen out of the limelight temporarily in recent weeks, such were the exploits of his Columbian counterpart, but emerged back into the forefront of fans thoughts over the weekend, netting a hat-trick during the Partenopei’s 4-1 win over AS Roma.

Cavani has been heavily courted by teams across Europe, with Chelsea and Manchester City both showing a strong interest in the front-man over the last 18 months, but failing to firm up their interest, regardless of Napoli’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last year.

The Serie A side may’ve been able to hold onto their prized asset over the summer, instead opting to sell Ezequiel Lavezzi to Paris St. Germain. However, the recent deduction of points, if only two, may well play a part in the final position of the club come May.

Juventus were supposedly courting Cavani over the summer, but ultimately failed to land the Uruguayan, instead loaning Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal. Yet, should he become available over the next three weeks, it would come as no surprise to see the Bianconeri revive their interest, even if Napoli would be reluctant to sell to a direct Serie A rival.

Leandro Damiao (Internacional)

Another striker reportedly on Juventus’ radar, but again any move failed to materialise, it’s no surprise that the Serie A champions were courting Leandro Damiao. Much like Cavani, his goal-scoring record – 74 goals in 129 appearances – is impressive to say the least.

The Internacional striker enjoyed a prolific summer with the Brazil national team, finishing top scorer as the Selecao secured silver during the Olympic Games. As such, interested understandably rose and for good reason.

Leandro is effectively a more mobile equivalent of Klaas Jan-Huntelaar, while his physical attributes ensure he would suitable for playing the lone-striker role for any team in any league around the world.

One aspect that would stand in the way of any potential deal appears to be the commercial relationship between Inter and Tottenham Hotspur. The Premier League outfit have first refusal on any deal regarding the Brazilian, which could prove a stumbling block should Juventus firm up their interest in the youngster.

Nevertheless, his goal getting capability would further enhance the attacking options of the Old Lady, while bringing out the best in Giovinco, who would undoubtedly thrive playing in behind Leandro, especially with the hold up play and ability to bring others into the game from the latter.

Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund)

The Poland international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but it would hardly stop Juventus from enquiring for Robert Lewandowski, should the opportunity present itself. The Borussia Dortmund grabbed the attention of football fans across the world following an impressive Euro 2012 with the co-hosts.

His impressive form for the Poland national team has been replicated in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, with Lewandowski continuing to win the plaudits for his striking capabilities across the continent.

The 24-year-old is the ideal striker for any team across Europe, possessing the strength and physicality to trouble the opposition backline, but is also quick off the mark and extremely mobile – a rarity in a striker of his size and stature.

Most importantly, he knows where the net is, having scored 15 goals in 25 appearances for Die Schwarzgelben, not to mention the 30 strikes in all competitions from last season. Juventus may’ve netted 40 times in Serie A this season alone, three less than AS Roma, but the defeat to Sampdoria indicates that it remains a problematic area for the Bianconeri.

Lewandowski would significantly strengthen the attacking options currently available to Conte, who looks to really stamp his authority on the Champions League, not to mention pick up back-to-back Scudetto winners’ medals.