The head coach believes the Argentine has the quality to play in his system, but a numbers crunch will force the club into difficult decisions
Maurizio Sarri offered no assurances on the future of star attacker Paulo Dybala, saying he believes he can play in his system but also conceding he has to trim his squad ahead of the Champions League.
Dybala returned to Juventus’ team for their International Champions Cup match against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, where the Bianconeri were defeated 2-1.
Having been given an extended time off following his participation in the Copa America with Argentina, Dybala checked in for 30 minutes of action in the second half.
Dybala returned to Juve with his name frequently mentioned in transfer talk, having been linked to Tottenham and Manchester United prior to the close of the transfer deadline in England, and has been still mentioned as a possibility for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentine nearly moved to Spurs but that deal collapsed due to problems over the striker’s image rights.
Sarri did move to downplay talk Dybala does not have a place in his team, praising the attacker’s technical ability and urging caution in seeing how he will fit into the squad once he has been match fit.
“He’s done two training sessions and today he played half an hour,” Sarri told reporters of Dybala. “It’s clear he can’t be in top physical condition and the fact he’s not fit means he can’t play the false nine role.
“But I think he has the ability, and has scored the goals previously, to play there and a technically good soccer professional can play in a number of roles. When he’s fit we’ll see if he can play that role in the penalty box.”
The Juventus head coach admitted he will need to leave out as many as six first-team players from his squad for Europe’s premier club competition, suggesting they could well be sold as a result.
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And that may not bode well for Dybala, with the former Chelsea boss revealing that what he says to the forward specifically “counts for zero” and that the market “goes in a certain direction”, suggesting he may well have to move the Argentine on.
“I can talk with him but the market goes in a certain direction and what I say counts for zero,” Sarri added. “Six players must be cut [and could also be sold] depending on the market.
“I would like to keep all of them but our problem has been that we do not have players who have grown up within the club – we have only one. So our squad for the Champions League must be 22 players with three goalkeepers and this puts us in difficulty because the market dictates we may have to make choices that we don’t like.”