Juventus' Dream Starting XI for the 2020/21 Campaign

Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo was appointed as the new Juventus manager on Saturday following the sacking of Maurizio Sarri | Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images

So that happened...

Just 14 hours after crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of a pretty poor Lyon side, Maurizio Sarri was given his marching orders from Turin despite overseeing Juventus' ninth Scudetto on the bounce just two weeks prior.

Nevertheless, there was a sense of inevitability regarding the chain-smoking ex-banker's departure, with Sarri struggling mightily to impose his 'Sarriball' ideals onto a Bianconeri squad in desperate need of a wee bit of reshaping.

But now the onus falls on Italian great Andrea Pirlo to spearhead Juve's transitional phase and guide them into a fresh era as the Juve hierarchy attempts to sustainably drift away from the grinta-heavy, pragmatic approach that brought them so much success under Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri.

It's anyone's guess as to how first-time coach Pirlo goes about his debut job in management, but this is what his ideal starting XI might look like for next season.

Wojciech Szczęsny (GK)

Szczęsny will retain his place in goal next season
Szczęsny will retain his place in goal next season | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

No need for change here. Wojciech Szczęsny had to bide his time a little to become the Juve number one goalkeeper, but nobody's asking for Gianluigi Buffon to snatch the gloves now.

There are no question marks over the pedigree of the Polish shot-stopper, who has established himself as, pound for pound, one of the best goalkeepers the continent has to offer. Although the Bianconeri will be looking to bolster elsewhere in the backline this summer, there's simply no chance Szczęsny will be usurped as Juve's number one.

Nelson Semedo (RB)

Nelson Semedo, Lorenzo Insigne
Barcelona are willing to see Nelson Semedo depart this summer | David Ramos/Getty Images

The right-back role has been a cause for concern for Juve supporters in recent seasons, having struggled to find an adequate replacement for Dani Alves since he left the club in 2017.

Although Juan Cuadrado was pretty good at filling a gaping void this season, this is certainly an area the Juve hierarchy will be seeking to bolster this summer.

Barcelona's Semedo seems like a smart, gettable option. While questions can certainly be raised over the 26-year-old's capacity to pick out and execute the final pass, it's pretty tough to find flaws elsewhere in his game - although he can also get caught out positionally due to his aggressive role under Quique Setien.

Nevertheless the athletic, technically impressive and stout one-vs-one defender Semedo has the scope to evolve into one of Europe's finest at his position if he was granted a more conservative role.

Matthijs de Ligt (CB)

Matthijs de Ligt
The Dutchman starred in his debut campaign in Turin | Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

The transitional phase was certainly tricky, but the Dutch viking has swiftly emerged as one of Serie A's standout defenders, constantly displaying the sort of 'play every game like it's your last' form he showed when he almost skippered Ajax to unthinkable European glory in 2018/19.

He's the future of the Bianconeri defence, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the supremely gifted 20-year-old in line for captain duties in the not-too distant future.

Merih Demiral (CB)

Merih Demiral
Merih Demiral should beat out Leonardo Bonucci to partner de Ligt next season | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

This has to be the plan for Juventus: partnering two, dare we say it, generationally gifted centre-halves alongside each other for next season. Gone are the days of the Bonuccis and Chiellinis, this is a new era and they should have a pair of Europe's most promising defenders working in tandem from this moment on.

Demiral's 2019/20 campaign was cut horribly short by a nasty ACL rupture sustained in January, but the Turkey international returned to training last month and is set to continue his meteoric rise when the season resumes in September.

Alex Sandro (LB)

Alex Sandro
Alex Sandro's in need of a rejuvenation | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

In an ideal world; Juve probably move on from the increasingly conservative Alex Sandro, but it appears unlikely that the Italian giants will draft in a fresh left-back this summer, especially with Luca Pellegrini - who impressed on loan at Cagliari last term - set to return as well.

He might not be close to his 2016 pomp, but Sandro's still a fine left-back competent at both ends of the pitch. The Brazilian somewhat struggled in a more inverted role under Sarri and you can expect Pirlo to grant the left-back a little more freedom down the flank, reverting him back to a more traditional and familiar role.

Rodrigo Bentancur (DM)

Rodrigo Bentancur
The Uruguayan showed plenty of promise at the base of midfield under Maurizio Sarri | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Despite a slight demise after the restart, there's no doubting who Juve's standout midfield performer was last term: Rodrigo Bentancur.

Typically part of midfield trios that offered such little innovation and penetration, the Uruguayan showed tons of promise in the single-pivot when Sarri reverted back to a 4-3-3. He provided more thrust, dynamism and athleticism than departing regista Miralem Pjanic, while supplying similar levels of ball progression.

Pirlo would be wise to stick with Bentancur at the base if he continues with the 4-3-3.

Arthur (CM)

Arthur Melo hasn't been part of Quique Setien's plans since his move to Juve was confirmed
Arthur Melo hasn't been part of Quique Setien's plans since his move to Juve was confirmed | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The Brazilian is set to join up with Juve following the conclusion of Barcelona's Champions League campaign, and will be a key spoke in the Bianconeri's revamped midfield wheel.

Arthur's ability to manipulate the ball in tight spaces and ride opposition pressure makes him one of the most press-resistant midfielders around. Combine this with his impressive ball retention skills and masterful movement off-the-ball, and you have an incredibly effective number eight in the first and second phases.

He may be flawed, and probably won't provide a significant improvement in regards to penetration from midfield, but it was a brilliant bit of business on Juve's behalf to draft the 23-year-old in at Pjanic's expense.

You can certainly envisage the departing Barcelona man morphing into an absolute star under the tutelage of Il Maestro.

Houssem Aouar (CM)

Matthijs De Ligt, Houssem Aouar
The dynamic Frenchman impressed in both legs of Lyon's Champions League round of 16 tie with the Bianconeri | Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Although it may well not happen, this is a move that makes too much sense. Lyon's Houssem Aouar is exactly what Juve are missing.

The Frenchman taught Adrien Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi and Pjanic a lesson in midfield play when the French outfit met Juve for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie in February; dazzling with his majestic balance, variation and sheer elegance in possession.

Aouar's a superstar in the making and the Bianconeri should break smash open the piggy bank to find the money to sign him this summer.

Dejan Kulusevski (RW)

The talented 20-year-old may be a key part of Andrea Pirlo's plans from the get-go
The talented 20-year-old may be a key part of Andrea Pirlo's plans from the get-go | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

With Douglas Costa proving as injury prone and inconsistent as ever and Federico Bernadeschi continuing his streak of not having a good game since 2017, summer arrival Dejan Kulusevski may be thrust into the limelight from the get-go.

The young Swede enjoyed another superb season out on loan at Parma as he secured Serie A's Young Player of the Year award thanks to his 19 goal contributions in 36 appearances.

The early signs suggest the £30m they paid Atalanta for the dynamic and versatile Kulusevski will be an absolute bargain. Watch this space.

Paulo Dybala (CF)

Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala enjoyed a bounce-back season last term | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

We're running out of superlatives to describe the genius of the Argentine.

After coming ever so close to departing Turin last summer following an underwhelming campaign in Massimiliano Allegri's final season at the helm, Dybala swiftly emerged as the most important member of Sarri's attack.

Whether utilised as a trequartista or false nine, La Joya proved himself to be the heartbeat of the side and, in all honesty, he was the only player who made Sarri's Juve watchable. Through instinctive space and ball manipulation, tremendous poise and awe-inspiring technique, Dybala was able to enjoy a stellar season at the Allianz Stadium - making 22 goal contributions in 33 Serie A outings.

Expect the Argentine to continue as the protagonist in a false nine role under Pirlo, despite Juve's transfer links with more of an out-and-out number nine.

Cristiano Ronaldo (LW)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo almost spared Juve's blushes with a brace in the second leg against Lyon | Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

He may have been a detriment to Sarri's attempts to project his ideals onto the Old Lady, but it was his production in front of goal which kept the former Chelsea boss in the job up until the end of the campaign.

Sure, there's no doubting that he liked the odd spot-kick or two (or 14), but 37 total goals in a pretty shoddy side is nothing short of sensational.

He may have shown signs of demise in numerous facets of his game, but he certainly looked more comfortable when deployed as an out-and-out winger instead of being shoehorned into Sarri's side as part of a strike pairing in the Italian's ill-fated 4-3-1-2.