Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo blocked the sale of trio Adrien Rabiot, Danilo and Merih Demiral in the summer transfer window, with the latter attracting bids from Premier League outfit Leicester City.
I Bianconeri underwent a major overhaul in the summer, with plenty of new faces arriving, and several experienced stars, such as Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic, all departing Turin in order to lower the wage bill.
And according to Fabrizio Romano, three other key players could have been heading for the exit door, if it weren’t for the intervention of newly-appointed coach Pirlo. The 41-year-old ruled out the possibility of selling defenders Danilo and Demiral, as well as midfielder Rabiot.
All three had endured difficult seasons last year, but have emerged as important figures in their boss’ plans for the new campaign.
Demiral had shown signs of promise in the initial months of the 2019/20 campaign, but he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in January, and was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the season.
The growth of Matthijs de Ligt into one of Serie A’s best centre-backs pushed the Turkish international further down the pecking order, and with his place in doubt, Premier League side Leicester pushed to try and snatch the talented defender in the summer.
Pirlo rebuffed their advances however, which has proven to be a wise decision. Injuries to Giorgio Chiellini and De Ligt have thrust Demiral back into the first team, and he has continued to impress in his six league appearances for Juve thus far.
Likewise, Rabiot had also received offers from the Premier League, but Pirlo had no interest in losing the talented but frustrating Frenchman. Instead, he has been a regular starter this season, scoring one goal in the league.
And ex-Manchester City defender Danilo had the opportunity to leave Turin, after a turbulent and inconsistent first year in Italy. But he has stepped in and learned a new position as a centre-back in Juve’s back-three formation, playing all but four minutes this campaign.