The arrival of Maurizio Sarri promises to be a huge boost for Pjanic with the Bosnian set to be unshackled at Turin like never before.
Once rumors started growing that Juventus will replace Massimiliano Allegri with Maurizio Sarri, Miralem Pjanic would have been the first person who you could have seen sitting on his couch, rubbing his hands in glee.
The Bosnian playmaker is one of the finest players to have donned the Bianconeri colors in recent years. However, it always seemed that the former Lyon man was unable to influence games the way his talent warrants. Under Massimiliano Allegri, Pjanic’s overall gameplay seemed to dictate that he was being stifled. The former AC Milan manager is a known pragmatist and his ideas revolved around securing three points first before adding artistry on the pitch.
While there is no doubting Allegri’s credentials and achievements, Sarri’s arrival could turn Juventus into the sort of team that will excite fans just like Napoli did for several years. While Cristiano Ronaldo will always remain that club’s biggest star, it is Miralem Pjanic who is going to be the most effective one.
Sarriball meets Pjanic
The much discussed Sarriball philosophy is going to hinge on the form of Pjanic and his ability to understand what his manager wants from him.
At Napoli and Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri was reliant on Jorginho to lead the three-man midfield and dictate the tempo of the play. The oriundi was Sarri’s go-to guy at Napoli and was behind everything good the team achieved. While he initially started out strongly in his early days at Chelsea, Jorginho’s form tailed off. But that’s not a criticism of Sarri’s philosophy. English football is not easy especially when you have a million eyes watching every move you make.
Pjanic on the other hand, has been playmaking with aplomb for almost four to five years at the top level. While he was just a good prospect at Lyon, he came to full bloom at Roma.
Playing just in front of the defense, Pjanic provides the sort of deep-lying playmaking attributes that are rare to find. A true centrocampista, the Bosnian has always thrived every time he’s been deployed just behind a more advanced central midfielder.
While there is always this feeling that he could be more effective in a more advanced role, stats show that not to be the case.
In the Champions League last season, Pjanic featured in all ten games for his team. He was deployed as a more advanced central midfielder twice and in both games, the Old Lady suffered defeat (against Manchester United and Ajax).
In Serie A, he was fielded as a central midfielder twice but wasn’t able to influence the game as much as he would have liked.
Clearly, Pjanic is going to be a really great deep-lying playmaker for Sarri. The Italian tactician would demand arguably his most creative player to spread pass all over the field. However, a lot of this will depend on the ability of those around him to understand their new manager’s requirements.
Sarri will be required to train his new team to play in a way that caters to Pjanic’s skills.
Like a Swiss watch, Pjanic’s movements are near flawless. It is going to be quite a prospect seeing him link play with the offensive part of the play while getting all the support from the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Bentancur.
“I would like to see Pjanic touch 150 balls per game but we must train the other players to always give him the ball,” said Sarri during his official presentation.
Quite clearly, Sarri is going to rely on the Bosnian playmaker in order to make his mark on the starting XI.
While he may not be as illustrious in stature like Cristiano Ronaldo or Matthijs de Ligt (if he signs for Juventus), Pjanic is going to be the key for the Old Lady as the club ushers itself towards a new era where high-octane football will trump pragmatism.