Italian giants Juventus have targeted Manchester City fullback Pablo Zabaleta as a replacement for Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner who seems set to leave Turin shortly. Juventus have already signed Dani Alves from Barcelona in the summer and with a defender like Zabaleta being available for free when his contract will be over at the end of the season, it seems to be an obvious choice for the club to target Zabaleta who can push Alves for the first team spot. Zabaleta being two years younger than the Brazilian will also be an excellent addition to the squad.
It has to be said that at 31, Zabaleta has a lot to offer and has a good two years of game time remaining in him in the Premier League. In the other leagues such as the La Liga or the Serie A, he will be comfortable for much longer. The fullback has been one of the pillars of Manchester City’s backline for 8 years now since his arrival from Espanyol in 2008.
Currently in his 9th season at the Etihad, Zabaleta has made 306 appearances for the Citizens in all competitions scoring 9 times in total. Having been the preferred first choice for all those years, finally, the Argentine has lost his starting place due to some injury problems which has also resulted in him losing his impressive form throughout the years.
During his time at Midlands, the defender has won 2 Premier League titles, 2 League Cups, 1 F.A Cup, and a Community Shield. His consistent performances saw him included in the PFA Premier League team of the year in 2012/13, a season where he also finished as Manchester City’s player of the year.
With his national team, Zabaleta had to suffer many disappointments as he finished second with the team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Copa America 2015 and Copa America Centenario 2016.
Despite making his debut for the national side in 2005, the fullback till now has 56 caps which is a bit less than normal for he had to sit out in the 2010 World Cup when the lunatic team selection of Diego Maradona made him watch his team suffer at the hands of Germany miserably in the defense from the couch of his home.
It is a bit surprising that City are not willing to keep the player at the club for a bit longer considering his legendary status and age but there is absolutely no doubt that Zabaleta still has some solid years of good football left in him and there will be a lot of clubs who would be interested in taking the player once he becomes available at the end of the season.