Not so long ago, the future could not have been brighter for Juventus defender Merih Demiral.
The Turkish centre back was considered the heir to Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci’s throne in Turin, and it was only a matter of time before they passed the torch down to the defensive prodigy.
Unfortunately for Demiral, while time waits for no man, it’s certainly being put to the test by Juve’s evergreen duo. At 36 and 34 years old, Chiellini and Bonucci have just conquered Europe and are showing no signs of their combined 70 years.
The former is waiting on a new contract that is expected to arrive and his experience could be vital to the progression of boy wonder Matthijs de Ligt. But where does all this leave the previous chosen one, Demiral?
Well, he’s ready to call it quits in Turin and head for pastures new. In fairness, after watching Italy shut out the rest of Europe at Euro 2020, who can blame him for throwing in the towel? The 23-year-old is conscious that he needs a move to fulfil his potential and he has no shortage of interested buyers.
But where should he go? 90min has analysed the defender’s possible destinations and ranked them in order of the least to most suitable for the Turk.
Demiral knows how important his next career move is and he’ll be looking for something that will bring him success in the long-term. It’s probably not a great idea to choose a club that have selected short-term expert and human hand grenade Jose Mourinho as their new boss, then.
AS Roma have taken a bold approach this summer and their appointment of the former Special One tells us they’re aiming high. But it won’t be long until it all comes crashing down and the rebuild starts again.
Dodge this one Merih, you just never know what you’re going to get with the Giallorossi.
Good fit rating: 2/10
Everton have had a good record in bringing in big names in recent transfer windows, although they’ve encountered more problems in getting them to play up to their reputation.
Despite the big-money signings in attack, the heart of their defence has remained a liability. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina are their starters, but Rafa Benitez may seek out other alternatives.
There’s no guarantee of any European football at the end of this particular rainbow however, and even if the Premier League is Demiral’s dream, this might not be the right switch.
Good fit rating: 4/10
Tottenham Hotspur are in a similar position to Everton in that they’re desperate to convince superstars of their plans to return to the big time, but no one quite believes they can achieve it.
Some of Spurs’ own stars want out. Harry Kane has very publicly stated his desire for unattainable trophies and Toby Alderweireld is also ready to find a new challenge.
The Belgian’s departure would open the door for another centre back, alongside the potential arrival of Takehiro Tomiyasu. Spurs’ director of football, Fabio Paratici, loves a bit of Serie A action, so raiding his old club is not out of the question. Still, it’s a risk for a player wanting to prove himself at the top.
Good fit rating: 5/10
Bayern have already splashed the cash on Dayot Upamecano this summer, but they are having to replace both David Alaba and Jerome Boateng for next season.
They’ll perhaps spy this opportunity to bolster their centre-back options by snatching Demiral from Juve, providing them with the strength in depth that they so badly crave.
The Turkish star is unlikely to be a starter though, so we’re not sure how much this achieves in the grand scheme of things for the want-away defender.
Good fit rating: 5.5/10
Milan are wrestling with the potential exit of their own centre back and captain Alessio Romagnoli, whose contract expires at the end of next season.
An agreement on a new deal is not in the pipeline, meaning they may consider selling him on this summer to at least receive a fee. Or how about a swap deal?
Juventus never turn their nose up at a bargain and if they could move on Demiral and receive a Serie A quality defender in the process then it’d be seen as good business all round.
Good fit quality: 6/10
If you want to know how to make a name for yourself as a frustrated Juve defender, just ask Cristian Romero. The Argentine left Turin in search of first-team action last season, landing himself a loan move to Atalanta.
There, he secured Champions League qualification, finished above the Old Lady and earned a place in Argentina’s Copa America squad, which they went on to win.
That’s how you do it. So Merih, follow that blueprint, and you can’t go wrong. Atalanta are believed to be interested, too…
Good fit rating: 8/10
If there’s one club that knows how to do business, it’s Leicester City. Despite narrowly missing out on a top-four finish for the second successive season, the Foxes are continuing to go from strength to strength.
In Caglar Soyuncu, they possess one excellent Turkish centre back. But they need to begin preparing for life without 33-year-old Jonny Evans, whose time at the top is surely limited.
Why not go and get another excellent Turkish centre back, then? Demiral would be walking into one of the best run clubs in Europe, pushing for Champions League qualification and hungry for success under a coach who knows how to improve players. It’s a no-brainer.
Good fit rating: 9/10