Paulo Dybala could have very well played his final game for Juventus.
The 25-year-old forward, who is currently sidelined with a serious injury, was not long ago heralded as a future Bianconeri great after inheriting their fabled number 10 jersey.
A plethora of standout performances saw the diminutive playmaker favourably compared to compatriot and five-time Ballon d’Or recipient Lionel Messi.
Such lauding never overwhelmed the native of Córdoba, but this has been a campaign to forget. No longer guaranteed a starting berth under Massimiliano Allegri he’s made no fewer than 27 league appearances this season, registering five goals and creating a further six.
Consequently there’s expected to be a parting of the ways this summer. Below are four contenders to become Dybala’s next club; a dream option, a realistic choice, a wildcard move and a club that Squawka recommends that’s best suited for him.
Dream: Real Madrid
A move away from Juve is often seen as a step down because there are very few clubs seen as bigger; one such outfit is Real Madrid, who are expected to undergo a summer of rebuilding like no other.
Zinedine Zidane, who sensationally returned to the Santiago Bernabéu dugout in March following their Champions League round-of-16 exit at the hands of Ajax, is reported to be guaranteed a mega transfer pot with a number of high-profile footballers already linked.
Form is temporary, despite a tough 2018/19 season Dybala remains a class player so it’s understandable why Real – seeking more creativity among their ranks – would be attracted.
For him, there’s a chance to play under Zidane as well as remaining on the grandest stage, and the possibility of becoming their conductor.
Realistic: Paris Saint-Germain
Dybala will not be cheap. He’s already being valued at €100m (£85.5m). Not every club across Europe can spend that kind of money on a single player.
Paris Saint-Germain, desperate to win a Champions League, are more than capable. Following yet another disappointing European Cup campaign we can expect the powers that be to shuffle their pack this summer.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Obtaining a deep-lying forward of Dybala’s ilk, especially when readily available, could be too good to pass up. The environment is not quite as demanding as Real, where every step is monitored, but the pressure to succeed can be comparable.
A chance to play alongside the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, and create history, is appealing. Plus, as many expect, this might be – on Dybala’s behalf – used as a stepping stone.
Wildcard: Manchester United
One club that is desperate, we all assume, to strengthen in the summer is Manchester United, who have endured yet another abject campaign.
There will be no Champions League football at Old Trafford next season on the count they’ve again finished outside the Premier League top four.
For some United remain a big draw, whether it’s as appealing like it was a decade ago remains to be seen. But if the Red Devils are to return to challenging for major honours it’s clear as daylight they need far better players than what they currently have.
So, expect them to be desperate in the transfer market. Dybala isn’t going to leave Juve for the Europa League, with all due respect, but if there’s a clear blueprint presented to him then who knows? He will not be the first to initially move for money.
Squawka Suggests: Bayern Munich
Maybe the best for Dybala is taking a sidestep. As grand as Juve are they have a kindred spirit in Bayern Munich, who are set to be actively recruiting in the upcoming months.
The Bavarians are in pole position to win a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title with two matches remaining. However, being national champions isn’t enough for them like Juve (and PSG).
Elimination from the Champions League round of 16 by Liverpool still lingers and was a reminder where they currently stand in the European hierarchy. Bayern are certain to overhaul their (ageing) squad, which they’ve already begun to do, and signing Dybala – to cushion the blow of losing Arjen Robben – would be a smart move.
He also represents a better fit than James Rodriguez, whose own future is up in the air.