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Perhaps the most talked about transfer in Italy this summer has been that of Miralem Pjanić who ended his 5 year association with Roma in favour of joining rivals Juventus.
It has left fans of the capital club furious but it’s not hard to see why Pjanic came to the conclusion that his future was better served in Turin.
The impressive showings of the Italian national team in France have helped mask what has been a very difficult season for Italian football. Not one side from the country made the Quarter-Finals of either the Champions League or the Europa League, something which has hardly ever occurred previously.
Pjanic’s own team Roma sneaked through their group, but were well beaten by Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Indeed the only Italian team right now that is genuinely capable of competing with the elite clubs in Europe is Juventus, who demonstrated their superiority by clinching the Italian title for the fifth successive year despite a sloppy start to the campaign.
Gulf in class
Roma have been their closest challengers over the course of the last three years with Pjanic a key reason for their success, but in truth there has always remained an obvious gulf in class between the sides.
Roma finished in second place but 17 points behind Juve in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and although the gap was down to 11 this year, it was still a significant margin and the side from the capital had to settle for 3rd place behind Napoli.
That means a Champions League play-off which will be by no means easy but Roma’s failure to really do anything in Europe or get close to Juve in the league has most likely convinced Pjanic the time was right to jump ship.
He’s 26 now and blessed with enough quality that he deserves to spend the peak years of his career challenging for major honours.
He is yet to win any major silverware in his career and most likely will never do at international level playing for Bosnia-Herzegovina who failed to qualify for Euro 2016.
A switch to Turin to play for Juventus almost guarantees that he will be collecting winners medals in the not too distant future and as Serie A’s top assist provider in each of the last two seasons, he should be well capable of breaking into the team immediately and will certainly give Juve an extra dimension.
Pjanic was patient with Roma and gave them every chance to build a side capable of seriously challenging both at home and abroad, but they are still some way off that point and there was no sign that next season would be any better.
The time was right for him to move and in Italy right now Juventus is almost the only attractive destination for the game’s elite.
The Bosnian was a shrewd acquisition by Juventus, not least because it robbed one of their rivals of their most creative midfielder.
Pjanic is unlikely to receive a warm welcome when he returns to the Stadio Olimpico, but if he sees out his 5 year contract at the Juventus Stadium then he should have a trophy collection that will more than justify his decision to make the switch.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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