Allegri shrugs off Pjanic return talk as Juventus boss plots new role for Ramsey

By Sports Desk August 01, 2021

Massimiliano Allegri shrugged off talk of a possible Juventus return for Miralem Pjanic, saying Aaron Ramsey could instead be used in a deeper role this season.

Pjanic left for Barcelona last year in a swap deal with Arthur, but his time in Spain has been unhappy, the midfielder starting just six LaLiga games under Ronald Koeman in 2020-21.

There is speculation the 31-year-old wants to move back to Turin, where he could reunite with Allegri, the coach under whom he won six trophies in Italy.

Allegri, though, appears more interested in transforming Ramsey into a defensive midfielder ahead of the start of 2021-22.

The Wales international started at the base of a midfield three in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Monza, regaining possession four times and completing 100 per cent of his passes in his 45-minute outing.

Ramsey has been linked with a possible return to the Premier League but it appears Allegri has important plans for the 30-year-old if he is prepared to embrace the change in position.

"The club handles the transfer market. We speak every day," Allegri said to Mediaset when asked about the Pjanic rumours.

"The squad... it's a good squad. Ramsey played very well in front of the defence today and I think Aaron, in front of the defence, can become a really important player.

"[Pjanic] gave me some great victories. He's a Barcelona player, though.

"We have talented players and I think, if Ramsey is convinced to play in front of the defence, he can become important. He runs less there and can rest more on the ball."

Juve play Barca in the pre-season Joan Gamper Trophy match on August 8.

Related items

  • Inter coach Inzaghi tests positive for COVID-19 Inter coach Inzaghi tests positive for COVID-19

    Inter coach Simone Inzaghi has tested positive for coronavirus.

    The Serie A champions confirmed the 45-year-old returned a positive test on Monday following routine testing.

    In a brief statement, Inter informed supporters that Inzaghi "will now follow the protocols set out in the healthcare guidelines".

    Nevertheless, the news is not expected to result in major disruption for the club given they are not to be in action again until February 5, when they host neighbours Milan in the Derby della Madonnina.

    Under Italian Football Federation (FIGC) guidelines, players and staff only need to isolate for three days if they are showing no symptoms.

    Similarly, any players deemed to be a close contact of Inzaghi's will still be able to train as long as they have not tested positive for the virus.

    Measures were introduced at the start of the month that meant players, staff and fans had to have received at least two doses of a coronavirus vaccine to be allowed into stadiums.

    However, even before that rule was brought in, Serie A was reported to have had as many as 98 per cent of players already double vaccinated.

  • AFCON matchday preview: Cape Verde plotting Senegal derby upset, Morocco face Malawi AFCON matchday preview: Cape Verde plotting Senegal derby upset, Morocco face Malawi

    Cape Verde are plotting an Africa Cup of Nations upset when they do battle with Senegal in a round-of-16 derby and Morocco are strong favourites to beat Malawi on Tuesday.

    Senegal won Group B despite scoring only one goal in three games, while Cape Verde qualified after finishing third in Group A.

    Morocco topped Group C and will be expected to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of a Malawi side that were third in Group B and will be playing their first AFCON knockout match.


    Senegal v Cape Verde (16:00 GMT)

    This will be the first Africa Cup of Nations clash between the two nations and Cape Verde will be playing only their second ever knockout match in the tournament.

    The Blue Sharks were beaten 2-0 by Ghana at the quarter-final stage in 2013 and they will have to defy the odds at Kouekong Stadium to reach last eight once again.

    Cape Verde coach Pedro Brito believes his players can spring a big surprise in Bafoussam.

    He said: "We have worked hard in our training and facing a team like Senegal is an added motivation, because the match is like a derby.

    "They have to respect us as a team the same way we respect them.

    "The competition has seen a lot of surprises, and we hope to be the other team that will cause an upset as our mission is to win the game and move to the next round."

    The Lions of Teranga have not been firing on all cylinders, but they are the only side in the tournament not to have conceded a goal.

    The three sides to have faced Senegal have only been able to muster three shots on target between them, so Cape Verde must grasp any chances they are able to create.
     

    One to watch: Idrissa Gueye (Senegal)

    Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye is a key man for Senegal, getting through so much work in the middle of the park.

    Gueye has played a big part in his side being so solid and the industrious former Everton man can boss the midfield battle.

     


    Morocco v Malawi (19:00 GMT)

    Malawi and Morocco will also lock horns for the first time in the AFCON at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

    Underdogs Malawi will be playing only their 10th game in this competition and they have only won two Africa Cup of Nations matches.

    They are unbeaten in two games, though, having remained in the tournament courtesy of a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe and a battling goalless draw against Senegal.

    Morocco beat Ghana and Comoros en route to last 16 before a 2-2 draw with Gabon. 

    Vahid Halilhodzic's side will under pressure to progress in Yaounde by dispatching a Malawi side that had an average of just 31.5 per cent of possession in the group stage, the lowest of any team.


    One to watch: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)

    Boufal is Morocco's leading scorer in the tournament with two and he also created 10 chances 

    Only Algeria’s Youcef Belaïli created more opportunities in the group stage with 12 and Morocco will expect the winger to step up again.

     

  • BREAKING NEWS: Ranieri sacked by Watford following Norwich loss BREAKING NEWS: Ranieri sacked by Watford following Norwich loss

    Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Watford after their loss to relegation rivals Norwich City left them in the Premier League's drop zone. 

    Watford went down 3-0 at home to Norwich on Friday, extending their winless run in all competitions to nine games – their worst such stretch since December 2013. 

    It proved to be the final straw, with Ranieri having only claimed seven points from a possible 39 since taking over from Xisco Munoz in October. 

    He became Watford's 15th manager since Giampaolo Pozzo bought the club in June 2012 and leaves without having much of an impact.

    The club released a statement confirming the news on Monday.

    Watford praised the "integrity" of the 70-year-old, but explained they felt a change was required to give Ranieri's replacement enough time in their fight against relegation.

    "Watford Football Club confirms the departure of head coach Claudio Ranieri," it read.

    "The Hornets' board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.

    "However the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.

    "No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course."

    Watford will hope to end a run of 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet when they travel to Burnley on February 5. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.