Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Luca Cetta On January - 13 - 2012

Juventus In-Focus: Caceres Key To Left-Back Issue

Juventus will be at home for the first time in 2012 on Sunday when they welcome Cagliari to the Juventus Stadium.

Starting the New Year off with more of a whimper than a bang, Juve did manage to take home the three points from Lecce even if it was a struggle. As Antonio Conte stated afterwards, they will look to build from that match and improve their performance. Match-winner Alessandro Matri is expected to start after the injury suffered by Fabio Quagliarella. His broken cheekbone will keep him out of action for the next two weeks. Also on the sideline is Giorgio Chiellini. The Italian international has reached the yellow card limit and is suspended from Sunday’s encounter.

Replacing Chiellini will be Paolo De Ceglie, set to start just his fourth match this season. Beginning the campaign as first choice left-back, his red card against Parma and error versus Bologna placed the Aosta native behind Chiellini in the pecking order. This despite the fact Chiellini has not been a regular in the role since 2007. For now Chiello remains a better left-back option than Fabio Grosso, but his deployment is a short-term answer.

While Andrea Barzagli has been impeccable at the heart of the Bianconeri defence and Leonardo Bonucci an able partner, the use of Chiellini on the left has robbed the team of a strong central defensive option. While De Ceglie’s standing has seemingly dropped, Chiellini’s errors or average performances have not resulted in the same treatment as the Juve youth product. De Ceglie still does have a role to play in the squad though he should not be regarded as the long term answer.

But, maybe Martin Caceres is the answer. Heavily linked to a move back to Juve from current club Sevilla in the January transfer window, the deal appears close to completion. The Uruguayan has the versatility to act as a vice Stephan Lichtsteiner if need be at right-back where he played during his loan stint in 2009/10, but is equally adept in the centre or on the left where he has often played for Uruguay. Caceres has spoken of his desire to re-join the Old Lady and his agent, ex-Juve striker Daniel Fonseca, is pushing for the move. He looks set to join on a loan deal with an option to buy; however there has been some wrangling between the two clubs regarding the fee structure. Should Caceres return to Italy it willd enable a return to the centre for Chiellini while De Ceglie will have to content himself with again playing second-fiddle.

Hopefully the deal will be confirmed as Caceres will be a great addition to Juve and one that will solve at least one problem. His last spell was littered with injuries and prohibited the Uruguayan from showing his best consistently. However, the experience will go some way in helping him settle into a side that under Conte now seems to have real direction. The Spanish outfit have been asking for €11 million, however, Beppe Marotta, Juve’s transfer guru, has been pressing for a fee somewhat less.

On the pitch the arrival of Caceres will see the Old Lady gain an all-round full-back, one not too dissimilar to Lichtsteiner who has enjoyed a great campaign to date. In addition, the 24-year-old boasts an abundance of energy, a high level of technical ability with the ball and tactical know-how without it, which is key for a player to succeed in the tactically rigorous Serie A.

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