The new coach has implied that he will keep the duo firmly in his plans for 2019-20, though the future of the Argentine remains up in the air
New Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has indicated that he will be keeping Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa among his key players for next season – but he refused to confirm whether Gonzalo Higuain would figure in his plans.
The former Chelsea manager was confirmed as the new Bianconeri coach last Sunday after signing a three-year deal to succeed Massimiliano Allegri at the Serie A champions.
In his first major press conference at Allianz Stadium, where he was unveiled to the media, the 60-year-old addressed a range of topics as he prepares to inherit one of the most dominant sides in both Italian and world football this season.
With a changing of the guard in the top job, speculation has swirled over whether any key players in Turin will be shown the door by their new coach and who will play a part as they look to defend their domestic crown once again.
Speaking on key members of his squad, Sarri revealed that both Dybala and Costa currently feature in his plans, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, despite rumours that both could be set to leave for pastures new, with Manchester United having been linked strongly with a move for one or both players in recent weeks.
Their new manager, however, has suggested that they may be among a core group of players with whom he will discuss ideas for the upcoming season and potentially build the rest of his team around.
“When you have a player with the qualities of Paulo or Cristiano, they can play in any role,” Sarri stated. “What can change is only the interpretation of the role.
“I’ll probably talk to two or three players before the start of the season to share ideas, compare and understand the way they think and their characteristics.
“You have to start with the talented players who can make the difference like Cristiano, Paulo and Douglas, and build around them.”
Sarri is also familiar with Higuain, having brought him on loan from Juve to Chelsea halfway through the 2018-19 campaign, reuniting the pair after the latter played under the former at Napoli.
However, the coach made no assurances over the future of the Argentine, stating that any prospective plans may rest with the player himself.
“I am very fond of Higuain, you all know,” he added. “But it depends on him, I think.
“I will listen a lot to the club who knows the players better than me, because it would be a lack of respect to impose my opinion.
“He is a Juve member, [and] when he returns we will talk to each other. Gonzalo is a striker who, for technical qualities, can play with anyone.”
Sarri spent all of his coaching career in Italy up until last year and it was a desire to return to his native country that saw him cut short his stay at Chelsea after only one season.
Despite varied criticism of his methods and style, known as Sarriball, at Stamford Bridge, he still led them to a top-four finish in the Premier League and two major finals, winning the Europa League to pick up the first major trophy of his managerial career.
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