Juve eye transfer blitz after UCL exit

Gazzetta dello Sport says Juve are planning a major transfer-market foray in the wake of their Champions League elimination by Ajax.

Having been heavily tipped to win this year’s Champions League after their last-16 comeback against Atlético Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus were brought back down to earth with a bump in the quarter-finals. The Vecchia Signora had no answer to Ajax’s bold brand of football, tumbling out 3-2 on aggegrate to the Dutch underdogs, in what is a major black mark on the Italians’ season.

And in the wake of their premature European exit, Juve look set to make a number of changes over the summer. Indeed, Gazzetta dello Sport has revealed that the Serie A club have identified no fewer than six players that they want to buy, on top of the already-signed Aaron Ramsey.

Gazzetta’s list of mooted recruits is headlined by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who AS understands is considering departing Anfield after a bust-up with manager Jürgen Klopp. With Paulo Dybala under fire after a below par-season and Douglas Costa in the frame to leave, the Egyptian would be an ideal addition to a side looking to add further penetration and goalscoring prowess to its ranks.

Juventus are additionally said to be eyeing defender Samuel Umtiti, who could leave Barcelona this summer if the Blaugrana are successful in their pursuit of Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt. Gazzetta notes that Juve are actually also in the race for De Ligt, but with the LaLiga champions apparently in pole position to secure the 19-year-old’s signature, Umtiti is shaping up as an attractive consolation prize.

Another Juve target, says Gazzetta, is forward Joao Félix, 19. The Benfica starlet, who is also being eyed by Real Madrid, has scored 11 times for the Lisbon club, and last week produced a headline-grabbing, three-goal display against Eintracht Frankfurt that confirmed his status as one of Europe’s most exciting talents. However, the problem is the price, with Benfica unwilling to sell for anything below his 120-million-euro buy-out figure.

Also thought to be on Juve’s shopping list is Félix’s Benfica team-mates Ruben Días. The 21-year-old central defender, who rarely puts a foot wrong and possesses an on-field maturity that belies his young age, has also been linked with a move to Atlético Madrid as Los Rojiblancos prepare to replace centre-backs Diego Godín and Lucas Hernández.

Two domestic talents, Nicoló Zaniolo and Federico Chiesa, complete the sextet of potential purchases. Winger Chiesa, 21, has established himself as a key figure at fellow Serie A club Fiorentina, and particularly caught the eye recently with a turn-of-the-year spell of form that brought two goals and four assists in nine games. Able to operate on both flanks, he is valued by specialist website Transfermarkt.com at 50 million euros.

Meanwhile, Roma’s Zaniolo has been a revelation this season, demonstrating an ability to perform under pressure despite still only being 19: for instance, the attacking midfielder delivered a two-goal display against Porto in the Champions League last 16 in February. Zaniolo, whose estimated market worth is 40 million euros, is also attracting the interest of Madrid.