Aaron Ramsey is making his first career venture outside of Britain and is preparing for his next chapter in Italy with Juventus.
Ramsey watched his new team-mates in action on Sunday evening to see the Serie A champions play their final home game of the season ahead of his free transfer, which will be confirmed on July 1.
A brand new coach
Ramsey’s Juve arrival comes at a time of transition. Despite Allegri winning five successive Serie A titles, the desire from the Turin side to be at the top of the European elite, by lifting the Champions League trophy for the first time since 1996 is clear.
One month on from Juve’s Champions League exit to Ajax at the round of 16 stage, president Andrea Agnelli made “the toughest decision he has ever had to make” by confirming the departure of Massimiliano Allegri before the end of the 18/19 domestic season.
How much Allegri had a say in Ramsey’s transfer is unknown, but with Maurizio Sarri and Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi both being targeted as replacements, according to Sky in Italy, the way the team sets up and how the Wales international fits into the starting lineup could up for discussion.
A different playing role
Juventus’ most favoured formation last season has been a 4-3-3 with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala leading the attack and Rodrigo Bentancur, Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi in midfield.
- How will Ramsey fit in at Juve
While Juve already appear to have plenty of options, Ramsey might add a different factor when he joins at the end of the season.
He prefers to operate as a central attacking midfielder and is renowned for his late runs into the box, his creativity and scoring goals, which is something Juventus have lacked from midfield.
Ramsey scored four goals and contributed six assists in the Premier League last season.
But interestingly Juve’s sporting director Fabio Paratici does not believe Arsenal have ever found Ramsey’s best position in their lineup.
He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Ramsey’s a player who, in my opinion, still hasn’t found his position because he’s never played in a three, which is his role as it lets him make runs in behind.
“Failing that, he can play as a dynamic attacking midfielder. We don’t have another player like him in our squad. He has more technique than our midfielders but less versatile.
“He’s also less stubborn and less tactical, even though he runs a lot. He’s a man for the final pass and he has an eye for goal.”
The latest Brit in the black and white
One other Welshman has played for Juventus before Ramsey and that is John Charles. Il Gigante Buono – “the gentle giant” – moved to Italy to build on an already-illustrious career forged at Leeds.
He made the £65,000 move in August 1957 to Juventus and won the Scudetto three times in five years. In 1997, he was voted the greatest ever foreign player.
Ian Rush in 2005 described moving to Juventus as “one of the best things I’ve done in my life”, but struggled more for goals than at Liverpool as he scored just eight times in 29 appearances while in Italy.
David Platt played a bit-part role at Juve after a successful 1991/92 season at Bari, featuring just 16 times and scored three goals as he struggled to break into a star-studded squad.
And right now there is an Englishman in Juventus’ squad. 20-year-old Stephy Mavididi moved from Arsenal to Juve last summer.
After making 32 appearances for their U23 side last season he has also appeared once for the senior team off the bench in Juve’s 2-1 loss to SPAL in April.
A warm welcome
Former Arsenal team-mate Wojciech Szczesny: “He came here for treatment, but here we have the best physiotherapists in the world,” he told Gazzetta.
“I took him out for dinner one evening, he’ll be a great player for us. He’s a midfielder with a lot of quality, he’s very good positionally, he scores lots of goals and provides lots of assists.
“When he’s fit, he’s one of the best and he’ll give us a big hand in achieving our objectives.
“Whether he plays as a midfielder or No 10 depends on the new coach. For me he can also play at right-back, since he defends very well.
“Ramsey asked me what happened with Allegri, although in any case he would’ve started working with a new coach.”
Stephy Mavididi: “For him it will be different to me,” he told Sky Sports News. “He’s coming over with his family and his wife so for me as a young person I’m here by myself.
“It’s a very welcoming city. When I first came I couldn’t speak the language but people such as taxi drivers and people who work in hotels were helping me get around. It’s a really good city.”