After a busy close season in the transfer market, Juventus kick off their bid for a record sixth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday by entertaining Fiorentina.
The visit of Paulo Sousa’s squad, fifth last season, will provide a tricky first examination for a Juve side that has seen change aplenty in the close season.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri let talismanic midfielder Paul Pogba depart for Manchester United in a record 105m euros ($118m) to fund a broader strengthening of a squad seeking to conquer Europe after five years of domestic domination.
New faces include striker Gonzalo Higuain, prised away from Napoli after his 36-goal 2015-16 campaign, former Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic, Brazilian wing-back Dani Alves and Mehdi Benatia, the Morocco defender who has joined on loan from Bayern Munich.
Of the new arrivals, only Pjanic and Alves look certain to start on Saturday with Allegri expected to give Higuain more time to get in shape after he returned from his summer break looking distinctly overweight.
Benatia knows he will have a tough time breaking into a Juve back three comprised of three of the world’s most admired defenders, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.
But he insists that is partly what drew him to the club.
“There are great expectations. Apparently people are discounting the outcome (of the title race) but it is never that easy,” he said.
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