Udinese’s scouting network has been widely documented over the past couple of season; their latest gem to shine is one that is benefiting Juventus and could continue to do. Stephen Ganavas has a look at Robert Pereyra and how he has been an important component in Massimiliano Allegri’s set-up.
Argentinian midfielder Roberto Pereyra arrived at Juventus in the summer from Udinese on a €1.5m loan, with an option to buy figure set at €14m. Juventus fans once again questioned the nous of CEO Giuseppe Marotta, but their questions appear to have been emphatically answered.
Marotta appears to have played his cards right in the transfer market again, continuing the recent successes that have seen the club pick up Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Kwadwo Asamoah, Alvaro Morata, Andrea Pirlo, Angelo Ogbonna, Leonardo Bonucci, and Martin Caceres, for relatively inexpensive sums since since the 57 year olds arrival from Sampdoria in 2010. Above all this, loan with the option to buy deals are quite low-risk – effectively a one-year trial before the club decides whether they want the player.
Aside from being a clever transfer deal though, the Argentinian playmaker has made a real on-field impact for the Bianconeri.
The 23 year-old arrived from Udinese via River Plate, scoring eight and assisting ten in his three seasons with the Zebrette. Pereyra played 104 matches during that time, demonstrating consistency as well as a talent that recently implored Udinese legend Antonio Di Natale to argue that Pereyra will make a similar impact at Juve to the impact Alexis Sanchez made at Barcelona. Kind words.
For Juve, Roberto Pereyra provides a proper one on one threat that most other Juventus players lack, with dribbling class quite expected from a South American player of his quality. It has created an added dimension to Juventus’ attack that previously had not existed. This means that Juventus have been able to adapt to multiple formations, with Pereyra moving into advanced positions out wide (or sometimes through the middle), that previously would have been filled by the less technically gifted Stephan Lichtsteiner or Kwadwo Asamoah.
Here, Pereyra can effectively link with Llorente and Tevez as he drifts into pockets of space in and around the penalty area always making a nuisance of himself, and although he does not score and assist a great deal, his contribution is evident. Pereyra is the player that makes the pass before the assist, or opens up the space with his intelligent moving and dribbling. He mostly escapes huge plaudits, yet always plays his role. He is fast becoming Allegri’s Mr. Fix-it; the go-to man to solve any tactical problems the Juve boss may be facing – he has already proved himself in Allegri’s new 4-3-2-1 formation.
The Argentinian international has contributed just two assists in over 800 minutes of competitive action, and yet still he is being praised by certain sectors of the Juventus fan base.
He is a likeable player, with a hard-working nature that has endeared itself to Bianconero all over the world – much like Danny Welbeck’s relationship with Arsenal, and previously Manchester United, fans. There is nothing better for a fan, other than their team winning, than seeing a player give everything for the shirt. And that is exactly what Roberto Pereyra does. He runs hard, works the channels, always looks up for a team-mate, and continues to play his role – whatever it is.
His performances have not gone unnoticed by Argentina manager Gerardo Martino, who called the midfielder up for his first international caps in October, before handing him another call up in November. It has been a fair reward for 23 year-old who continues to improve, no matter the position he plays. Right wing-back, central midfield, attacking midfield, right wing; in just four months at Juventus Pereyra has played them all – and excelled in each. He has also played in two different positions in just 130 minutes of playing time for his country. There is no doubt that the midfielders’ defensive game has been tested playing at right wing-back, but playing mostly against weak provincial sides, Pereyra has been able to hurt teams wide in the final third running from deep.
Versatility will ensure he continues to find a place in the team, and continues to improve on his game and show Allegri that he is worth the €14m Juventus can buy him for in the summer. At this stage, the verdict must be that he is worth it – he is a valuable squad member that any team would dream of having. Simone Pepe’s versatility, fight, and hardworking nature, paired with South American skill and flair would be ideal for the defending Serie A champions.
Roberto Pereyra is one of the surprises of the season, Udinese must be credited for the unearthing of this great talent – more proof that their scouting system is one of the best in the world. With versatility, skill, and tenacity to boot, the 23-year-old is playing his role at Juventus perfectly. Allegri and Marotta seem to have found another cut-price gem to add to their already burgeoning list of talented young stars.
Written by Stephen Ganavas
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- How Roberto Pereyra has played an important role at Juventus - December 9, 2014