Paulo Dybala’s future with Juventus is hanging in the balance after the latest declaration by a Bianconeri chief.
The Argentine forward is out of contract in 2022, meaning Juventus will need to sell him this summer if they are to receive a fee appropriate for a player of his quality – should a new deal not be agreed over the next few months.
In years gone by, Juventus and Dybala may already have struck a new contract due to the player’s great importance to the club.
But the situation is less clear-cut this season, with Dybala enduring a sub-par term and Juventus seemingly moving in another direction during a period of transition.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to speculation over his future and was on the verge of joining Tottenham in 2019 amid a lengthy transfer saga, while Manchester United also tabled a bid.
Dybala ultimately chose to stay with the Turin giants and was rewarded for his loyalty; he was named Serie A Most Valuable Player last season as Juventus won their ninth consecutive title.
But the club has suffered a marked decline this campaign under Andrea Pirlo, who was appointed to the Allianz Stadium hot seat last summer.
The Old Lady find themselves eight points behind leaders Inter, albeit with a game in hand, and the Scudetto seems destined to return to one of the Milan clubs.
Just as Juventus have struggled, Dybala – who contracted coronavirus during football’s lockdown period last year – has been plagued by injury and fitness complaints during a frustrating season.
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The most serious of these is a ligament issue which has seen him out of action since early January, though he is now believed to be close to full fitness.
Even when he has been available for selection, however, Dybala has seemed off the pace by his own lofty standards. The former Palermo man has managed just four goal involvements in the league, compared to 17 last campaign.
As mentioned, if Dybala was in sensational form it is likely talks over a new deal may already have been concluded by now – but Juventus director Fabio Paratici says negotiations are only just beginning.
“Paulo still has a few problems – it’s like he’s on a swing,” said Paratici after Dybala missed Juventus’ 3-0 win over Crotone on Monday due to his injury.
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“Some days he’s better and others he’s worse. He seemed okay [last week], then he felt some pain again.
“We have spoken [about this contract], we have been speaking and will continue to speak in the next few days and months.”
The fact renewal talks are still in their infancy may also indicate Juventus no longer see Dybala as their poster boy.
The financial circumstances Juventus find themselves in must also be taken into account. The Italian champions’ revenue was down £62million last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and more heavy losses are forecast.
As such, Juventus may not want to renew – let alone improve on – the £225,000-per-week contract Dybala signed with the club in 2017.
They will be keeping a close eye on how Dybala’s contract talks with Juventus unfold in the months to come.
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