Arsenal & Man United CB target will ask to leave Italian giants in January


Daniele Rugani

According to a Calcio Mercato exclusive, Arsenal and Manchester United target Daniele Rugani will ask to leave Juventus in January. 

The 21-year-old is one of the most highly-rated prospects in Serie A, having featured in every minute of Empoli’s 2014/15 survival campaign to help them secure a 15th place finish in the Italian top flight. He rose through the youth ranks at Stadio Carlo Castellani and spent the last two seasons there as part of a co-ownership agreement, but returned to Turin during the summer.

The Italy U21 is seen as the long-term successor to ageing trio Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of Juve’s defence, but has failed to prize a first team role from any of them this season. Indeed, despite Rugani’s obvious promise, he’s seen just two minutes’ worth of senior action for the Old Lady – a brief substitute stint against Sevilla in the Champions League.

Arsenal and Manchester United are both known admirers of the 6 foot 2 defender and were linked once again earlier this week. The Red Devils’ need for added depth at centre-half is no great secret after starting the season with 5 foot 11 midfielder-come-defender Daley Blind starting alongside Chris Smalling, whilst Arsenal are believed to have seen a £13million bid rejected during the summer. Likewise, Napoli are reportedly preparing an €18million bid for the January window in a move that would see Rugani reunited with former Empoli boss Maurizio Sarri.

According to Calcio Mercato, the Lucca-born centre-back has become so frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities at Juventus that he will request to leave the club when the transfer window reopens – potentially in a loan deal structured similarly to Kingsley Coman’s. The winger signed from PSG on a free contract in summer 2014 but joined Bayern Munich on a two-year loan just twelve months later, with a €28million option to buy.

However, Coman’s impressive form for the Bundesliga champions, finding two goals and two assists in seven league appearances alongside three set-ups in the Champions League, has convinced Juve they have little gain from allowing to Rugani leave under similar circumstances. They will reject his request – but it begs the question of how long they can hold onto the former Serie B Player of the Year winner without greater assurances of first team football.

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