CAN DACOURT CUT IT AT JUVE?
By Matt Pomroy
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
It is no secret that David O'Leary has been asked to recoup some of the £90 million that he has spent since taking over at the club and himself has admitted that he will 'rip the Leeds side apart' at the end of the season. Dacourt could well be one of the players who leave Elland Road, but is he good enough for Juventus?
Currently, the favoured central pairing for the Italian side is Dutchman Edgar Davids and Alessio Tachinardi. The player that Dacourt would have to oust if he were to be a regular at Juve is Tachinardi and the Italian has been a regular for his club and is on the fringes of becoming an Italian national team regular. But what do the stats show?
Dacourt has gone in for 68 tackles this season, winning 76% of them which is not overly stunning but is better than the Italian's success rate of 69%. For the record Davids has attempted more tackles than either of them and won a stunning 81% of those challenges.
In the tight, highly tactical games of Serie A, possession is of paramount importance and Tachinardi has completed 83% of his passes compared to Dacourt's 76%, the Italian setting up two goals this season while the Frenchman is yet to contribute with an assist. Given that Juventus have the highest pass completion rate in Italy, it is clear that they like to move the ball around and no team has attempted more passes in the middle third of the pitch than them. It seems that Davids and Tachinardi are currently doing very well together.
It should be noted though that Dacourt has been suffering from an injury for much of this season and it is worth looking at last season's contribution. During 2000/01 the Leeds midfielder got stuck into 173 tackles - significantly more than any other player in the Premiership - winning 71% of them. Sadly, that willingness to fight for the ball also saw him pick up the unwanted title of the top flight player with the worst disciplinary record.
Juventus also have Antonio Conte and Enzo Maresca who can play in the centre of the park so the level of competition and quality is high. Dacourt once claimed to be able to play in every position - apart from goalkeeper - and has played just behind the strikers in his career in the past, so there would always be that option for Juventus manager Marcello Lippi. That is, of course, assuming that he is interested in the Leeds player, although they have expressed an interest in him in the past. Leeds paid £7m to acquire Dacourt from French side Lens and it would take nearer double that to get O'Leary to sell him, even if it was to a foreign side.
If Dacourt is to move to Juventus then the money would be welcomed by Leeds as O'Leary shuffles his pack during the summer, although his ability will be missed. However, Juve are one of the top sides in Europe and getting into their midfield won't be easy. Dacourt does have something to offer them but whether they pick up on his plea is one matter and getting into the staring line-up will be even tougher. But as Dacourt has shown during his time in England, there are few players tougher and more determined than him.