TURIN – The unusual void that appeared in midfield against Sampdoria, Massimiliano Allegri and Juventus have already filled more than well against Roma, but there is still a space to fill in the Juventus team’s puzzle. Nearly. Leandro Paredes will soon take care of it, called to connect the defense with the midfield and the attack, the central area with the lateral flanks. With technique, intelligence and speed of passing: qualities with which the twenty-eight-year-old Argentine playmaker that the Juventus club is about to sign from Paris Saint-Germain will have to make the transfer of the ball from the defenders to the other midfielders or forwards more precise and faster, passing from the center or from the outside lanes.
Paredes has always done this in his career, unlike the other Juventus midfielders (with the exception of Nicolò Rovella, who is however destined for loan) however well Manuel Locatelli and Fabio Miretti can adapt to that function. However, occasionally they will act in a central position, because it is clear that Paredes will not be able to play all the games: on the other hand, the former Sassuolo did it well on Saturday against Roma, paired with Rabiot in the offensive phase, when Miretti he advanced in the position of attacking midfielder, as a pure centre-back in the defensive phase, with the Frenchman and his young teammate at his sides, who was lowering again. However, the arrival of Paredes will allow Locatelli and Miretti to play in a more advanced position, as a midfielder, allowing them to exploit their insertion and shooting skills. Without taking away their taste for organizing the game. In fact, it is probable that the Argentine often lowers towards the central defenders, or even among them, to start the action and that one of the midfielders concentrates in his place to receive from Paredes or one of the central defenders: an action that was often seen in the pre-season and also against Sassuolo, less so later also due to various injuries. However, it is probable that with the Argentine in the middle of the pitch it will once again be a frequent solution: whether Allegri sets him up from the bottom in a 4-3-3 formation or another midfielder alongside him (Locatelli, Rabiot or Zakaria) to leave an offensive midfielder more free, Miretti today, Pogba when he returns.
What will not change will be Paredes’ task: dictating the timing of the maneuver and making the ball circulate with speed and precision. The splendid vertical pass with which he triggered Messi’s overhead kick against Clermont on 6 August is a test of technique and game vision, but not a manifesto of what the Argentine will give to Juventus. He may need assists, but they are not his specialty: the maximum eight in one season, in 2017-18 at Zenit, none in the past season and in 2019-20, four in 2018-19 and in 2020-21, the others two years in PSG. One in Empoli in 2015-16 and two in Roma in 2016-17, his last Italian seasons.
More than delivering balls to be sent directly into the attacking net, Paredes’ main talent consists in making sure that the ball passes from one trocar to another. Last season’s Wyscout data, reported in the rankings on this page which compare the midfielders of last Ligue 1 with at least 10 appearances, are eloquent in this regard (we chose last season because in this Argentinian he played just 53 minutes and the data would be significant). Paredes is among the top 10 for average passes every 90 minutes played, for average forward passes, for average passes in the opposing frontline and for average progressive passes (i.e. that involve moving the ball forward at least 30 meters in one’s own half). field, by at least 15 passing from one’s own half to the opponent’s half, by at least 10 in the opponent’s half). Plays that the Argentine performs with extraordinary effectiveness: he has the highest percentage of precise passes in three of the four rankings, second only to Gueye in the one relating to passes in the trocar. The Argentine does not appear at the top of the rankings relating to defensive actions (PSG’s dominance in this sense penalizes its players), but he nonetheless asserts himself with 6.5 defensive duels every 90 minutes played, 62.5% of which won (Wyscout data also relating to last championship), 4.6 balls intercepted and 9.3 balls recovered. «Because when others have the ball, you have to defendAllegri would say.