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Benvenuto Alla Juventus: KWADWO ASAMOAH – From Bianconero to Bianconero

The player had done his medical in Turin a few weeks ago. Earlier on Monday, the move was finally made official. In a statement published on their official website, Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announced the following agreement to have been finalized with Udinese Calcio S.p.A.:

• Definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Kwadwo Asamoah for a consideration of € 18 million to be paid in 3 years. At the same time, Juventus and Udinese signed a player sharing agreement (ex art. 102 bis N.O.I.F.) related to the same player for a consideration of € 9 million to be paid by Udinese in 3 years;

The purchase and co-ownership of Mauricio Isla was also made official.

 

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The capture of Kwadwo Asamoah – as well as fellow Udinese man Mauricio Isla – represents perhaps the first time in recent memory that Juventus have signed genuinely quality midfield players to round out the squad. Sure, numerous high profile arrivals have landed in Turin, ranging from Edgar Davids to Patrick Vieira, but with the M-V-P trio of Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo firmly established, adding players of this calibre to back them up is almost unprecedented.

Asamoah will not turn 24 until December, and was highly touted as a target for Manchester United before agreeing to join La Vecchia Signora. Having played for Udinese since 2008, he has already played 114 games in Serie A which should – along with 15 appearances in European competition and 39 Ghana caps – give him the perfect grounding to launch a long-lasting Juve career.

Far more imposing than his listed height of 1.73m (5’8) would initially appear, Asamoah possesses all the qualities vital to a modern midfielder. Incredibly strong both on and off the ball, he brings a tireless work ethic and great stamina which, alongside the likes of Isla, Marchisio, Vidal, Martin Cáceres and Stephan Lichtsteiner would allow Antonio Conte to demand the type of pressing few opponents would be able to handle.

Asamoah averaged 2.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions last season while making just 30 fouls in 31 games, yet one of the most important points to remember is that there is far more to his game than mere brawn. Excellent in possession, he is a genuine box-to-box midfielder with a deceptively quick burst of pace and was not only able to complete more dribbles (62) than any player at Udinese but reach a total also higher than any current Juve player.

While hardly the most creative of midfielders, he times his forward runs to cause opponents serious difficulty and is quite calm when presented with a scoring chance inside the box, but needs to work on his shooting accuracy from further out. These attributes make him somewhat unsuited to playing as part of a central pair but a perfect fit for the three regularly fielded by Conte, whichever formation he chooses for a particular game.

 

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As the decline of Milos Krasic proves, trying to fit a system which values possession above almost everything else might be a tough adjustment after years of living on the counter-attack. Yet here statistics once again prove Asamoah to be a good fit, as the player averaged 50.9 passes per game at an impressive 82.5% completion rate whilst also contributing 0.9 key passes per game. This proves he is more than capable of not giving the ball away cheaply, although he can struggle against teams who pressure the ball (which may prove a factor in Europe but rarely affect his play in Serie A).

One of the key factors behind his arrival has to be the fact the club realises it must find a way to play without Pirlo who, for all his class, can no longer play three games in eight days as Juve’s return to the Champions League will demand. While being a completely different style of player, the Ghanaian made 2.4 long balls per game last season with a completion rate of 69.4% which should see him more than capable of hitting those deep, raking passes which so characterised Juve’s play last term.

Like the others he joins in the Bianconeri midfield, Asamoah plays both sides of the ball and it is further evidence of the understanding which is constantly developing between Antonio Conte and Beppe Marotta, as the club’s recent arrivals are ideally suited to the Coach’s demands. Not only does his playing style fit Juve’s tactics, formation and style of play, he also has the one key ingredient which made last season so successful: hunger.

Kwadwo Asamoah joins Juventus with only a 2010 African Cup of Nations runners up medal to his name and keen to add many more to his collection. Much like the team he joins here in Turin he is yet to reach his peak as a player and, if he continues to develop as he has at the Stadio Friuli, Juve’s M-V-P trio will need to raise their games in order to keep their places. Just how it should be!

Benvenuto a Torino, Kwadwo!

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