Juventus midfielder Emre Can has revealed his anger after being left out of Maurizio Sarri’s 25-man squad for their Champions League group stage fixtures, while reports claim his club were also unsuccessful with a late approach for City’s versatile midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Juventus submitted their squad list for the upcoming group stages, with Sarri excluding both Can and Mario Mandzukic. The pair have undeniable ability but speculation suggested the pair would be leaving for pastures new: Can linked with a swap deal for Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, while Mandzukic courted interest from Manchester United and Paris-Saint Germain.
Since joining the Serie A champions on a free transfer last summer, Can has endured a challenging time of things to date. Being sidelined with injury – a lengthy illness, ankle and muscular problems – didn’t help as he aimed to prove himself as a bonafide starter in Massimiliano Allegri’s midfield three.
Juventus signed both Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) and Adrien Rabiot (PSG) on lucrative free transfer deals this summer, while 32-year-old Sami Khedira features in Sarri’s 25-man list – despite being low in the pecking order for midfield places. Rodrigo Bentancur (22), Miralem Pjanic (29) and Blaise Matuidi (32) are the other midfielders in a team stacked with fierce competition for places.
relations strained, tensions high as Can furious after UCL snub
Revealing he was only made aware of the news while on international duty with Germany, Emre accused his club of ruthlessly breaking promises.
As quoted by the Guardian, the 25-year-old said: “The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week. There were talks with other clubs [before the transfer window closed] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad.
On Tuesday they phoned and told me, in a conversation that didn’t even last a minute, that I was not on the list and didn’t give me an explanation. That makes me angry and furious because I think that I played well last season, above all in the Champions League. I really can’t understand this and will now see what I decide to do from here, I will seek talks with the club next week.”
Can made 37 appearances across all competitions last term and if not for injury, would have featured in all of Juventus’ Champions League games. He made a second-half cameo during their 2-0 away defeat by Atletico Madrid in the last-16, before starting and completing the comeback win at centre-back.
As for their eventual exit against Ajax during the following round, an ankle injury saw him sidelined for the first leg. Once fit, he played the full 90 minutes alongside Matuidi-Pjanic during the return fixture.
This season, he remained an unused substitute during their 1-0 win over Parma before featuring for half-an-hour during their 4-3 win over Napoli last weekend.
Elsewhere at Juve…
According to recent reports, the Bianconeri failed with a late approach for Manchester City’s versatile midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko before the European deadline earlier this week.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes in each of the Premier League champions’ four league fixtures to date, Juve were hoping they could broker a deal with Pep Guardiola for the 22-year-old.
However having penned a new long-term contract in June with recent departures and Benjamin Mendy’s injury issues still a concern, Zinchenko has developed into a dependable performer under the Spaniard: even in a previous unfamiliar role at left-back.