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Five things to know about Merih Demiral

The young Turkish centre-back is one of the new faces of Maurizio Sarri's Juventus

Five things to know about Merih Demiral The young Turkish centre-back is one of the new faces of Maurizio Sarri's Juventus

He's the fifth summer signings of the new Juventus by Maurizio Sarri after Aaron Ramsey, Luca Pellegrini, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon, but we can not call him an unexpected deal: Merih Demiral, Turkish centre-back born in 1998, had entered the Juventus orbit already last January before moving to Sassuolo, where he played the last six months before landing in Piedmont. As soon as he arrived in Emilia he immediately found a spot in the starting eleven, playing 15 games out of 19, all consecutive and all for 90 minutes, and also scoring a brace in the 4-0 against Chievo Verona. For him, the last player resulting from a market synergy between Bianconeri and Neroverdi, Juventus paid 18 million euros payable in four installments. Despite his young age, the Turkish has an interesting history, which is worth summarizing in five pills to be best prepared on his profile before he's officially presented:

Fabio Paratici's slip of paper

We go back in time to the last days of January, in full winter market session: the Juventus sports director forgets a sheet of notes in a Milanese restaurant, later published by the newspaper Il Tempo. An authentic 'shopping list' where the Juventus manager, a highly skilled talent scout, had pinned (we need the magnifying glass) the name of many youngsters like Chiesa, Zanily, Romero and Tonali, but also semi-unknown talents as Zennaro, Szoboszlai and just Demiral, then Alanyaspor footballer. To make everything even more absurd, the fact that the number matched to the Turkish defender, 7, was the price (in millions of euros) that Sassuolo spend for the players.


A giant against France

Titular alongside Ayhan during the home game against France, valid for the Euro 2020 qualifications, Demiral provided a monstrous performance that served to fix the score at 2-0, right in front of Paratici, who watched the match in Konya. What is surprising is not only the air assist for the first goal and the great test in marking on Giroud, but the fact that Turkey has not granted even a shot in the mirror to the French team, a rarity if we consider that it's a negative record that had not occurred for over ten years.


The self-made video

How many times have we had to emphasize the backwardness of the social profiles of Serie A teams compared to those of other countries? Just announced by Juventus, Demiral published on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts a video compilation entitled 'Nice to meet you' which, between winning tackles and imperious headers, announced its move to the current Serie A champions, produced by the Team Demiral. Certainly not unforgettable because of the quality of the contents, but nevertheless an initiative to be appreciated, especially if we think that very few top-class clubs are used to making similar stuff.


The first Turkish player in Juventus history

When we think of foreigners who have worn the Juventus jersey we immediately think of the French ones, more than twenty in the Italian club history, but also of South Americans and Balkans ones who have left important footprints, ending up with Uzbeks, Cypriots and Irish players: among the nationalities never represented there was Turkey, which now has its first ambassador.

How he used to play?

Among the names that have begun to circulate in recent months, there are mainly two football players who most remember the Demiral's way of defending: Raphael Varane and Nemanja Vidic. The Turkish, who played in both the three and four-scheme defense at Sassuolo and prefers the right side, proved to be very skilled in the preventive markings (it's very well explained in this article on L'Ultimo Uomo) that force him to push even well beyond the half court to prevent the rivals' attack. In these six months he has played against great strikers as Piatek, Quagliarella, Muriel and Duvan Zapata and has always made a great impression, showing off also because of some miraculous tackle recoveries, like this on Dries Martens launched on the goal: