“Besides Gonzalo Higuaín, this man right here has been perhaps the best player in Italian football this season,” the beIN sport commentator remarked during Sunday’s Juventus vs. Roma match.
However, he wasn’t speaking about Juve superstar Paul Pogba.
Instead he was referring to Paulo Dybala, the 22-year-old Argentinian who has been a revelation for the Bianconeri this season after being bought from Palermo for €32 million.
Last season Dybala had a breakthrough campaign and finished the year with 13 goals and 10 assists. He was the talk of many transfer rumors to larger clubs such as Arsenal, PSG and others, but he only wanted one: the Old Lady.
Dybala signed quite early in the transfer window as it became a summer of upheaval for Juventus, who finished as Italian champions and runners up in the Champions League. Their talisman and leading scorer from the season before, Carlos Tévez, announced that he would be leaving to play for Boca Juniors while Andrea Pirlo decided to take a victory lap playing for New York City FC in MLS.
While Juventus were able to keep ahold of Pogba for another season after reportedly turning down a giant bid from Chelsea, they did part ways with midfield engine, Arturo Vidal.
The Chilean had been the force behind the Bianconeri’s four-straight Scudetto’s and was perhaps the best box-to-box midfielder on the planet. In a deal that materialized in just days Bayern Münich bought the Chilean for a fee of €37 million.
When Dybala was bought many fans thought that he would be joining this prolific squad and playing alongside Vidal and Tevez. Instead he was now expected to have a larger role and help Juventus continue their reign in Serie A.
While Juve started off the season slow, they have clicked over the last couple months and much of that has to do with Dybala’s emergence as a genuine superstar.
Paulo has started the last 11 games in Serie A for Juventus and has delivered big-time. He has scored 7 goals and delivered another 5 assists. He will often drift far back and start the attack deep in the midfield. He dribbles and moves effortlessly around the pitch and is also dangerous from set pieces.
The Argentine had perhaps his best game of the season against Udinese on January 17. In just half an hour Dybala single handedly won the game for Juventus as he put them ahead 2-0 with a perfect curling free kick and a calmly taken penalty.
Against Roma the week after he scored the only goal in the game off a no look pass from Pogba in the 77th minute. In a second Dybala has the awareness to receive the pass from Pogba while staying onside to immediately fire a perfectly placed shot at a tough angle with a defender alongside him.
This season has just shown the immense talent that Dybala possesses. If Juventus manage to win their fifth consecutive title the Argentinian will be one of the main reasons why. This 22-year-old has taken the leap from talented youngster to budding superstar and can make a case to be truly one of the elite players in the world very soon.