The current campaign has seen Juventus enjoy immense success, reaching the last four in the Champions League after clinching the Serie A title with four games to spare.
The Bianconeri also earned a place in the Coppa Italia final, with 90 minutes against Lazio standing between them and a well-earned double.
Massimiliano Allegri and his players have also enjoyed their fair share of luck too, from the collapse of AS Roma to drawing AS Monaco?rather than a more difficult opponent?in order to reach that European semi-final.
Things have not all gone their way, however, with injuries ruling out some important figures for large parts of the season. Brazilian full-back Romulo managed just 97 minutes of action before being ruled out with a groin issue, while Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Andrea Barzagli have also missed significant portions of the campaign.
The latter of those was a major blow, robbing Allegri of arguably the club?s best defender, but perhaps the other most significant absence has been that of Kwadwo Asamoah. The former Udinese man suffered a knee injury back in November, ruling him out of the Africa Cup of Nations, and has yet to return to competitive action.
He had featured in six Serie A matches?plus a further three in the Champions League?until that point, adding a crucial assist to Carlos Tevez in the group-stage win over Malmo. The 26-year-old made his return to training late last month, per Benedict Owusu of Goal.com, and there are a number of reasons to believe he can be a major figure for the club next season.
Asamoah had made the left wing-back spot his own over the previous two campaigns, bringing intelligent positioning and impressive forward-running to the role. He complemented Stephan Lichtsteiner?the key figure on the opposite flank?very well and has proved to be a shrewd acquisition since arriving in July 2012.
Yet despite weighing in with six goals and 12 assists in 92 appearances for the club in all competitions, it remained clear that?if Juventus were to move away from the 3-5-2 formation?a different type of player would be needed. The three-man defence had ultimately showed its limitations in Europe, and the success of both the club and Patrice Evra this term proves that an orthodox full-back was essential.
he France international provides an innate ability to know and understand a role that Asamoah will simply never possess, one that comes from years of experience and hours upon hours of practice. One need only watch the former Manchester United star in a single game in Allegri?s restructured side to see the benefit of fielding such a specialist defender.
Evra?s overlapping runs, positional sense and even body position are all lacking in a converted midfielder like Asamoah, but the Ghanaian could still be a major positive in the future. As well as being a viable option should the coach continue to revert to the 3-5-2 as he has this term, Asamoah could also excel in his former role.
It is telling that in that game against Malmo he actually did play in midfield from the start, turning in an impressive display as the Bianconeri ran out 2-0 winners. As the graphic below?courtesy of the FourFourTwo StatsZone app?shows, he completed 53 of his 59 pass attempts (90 percent), made one tackle, one dribble and recovered the ball on no fewer than eight occasions.
With Allegri regularly playing four midfielders, Asamoah?s attributes would complement the likes Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in the centre of the pitch. Combining excellent tackling, smart passing and powerful on-ball running, as a midfielder he is a superb all-round player capable of matching the very best in the game.
Putting him into combinations with the aforementioned trio?as well as Roberto Pereyra and, of course, Paul Pogba?Asamoah could add even greater depth to an already strong squad. That would allow Allegri to continue to rotate his side, particularly as Pirlo ages and Marchisio is deployed in his role with greater frequency.
Mentioning him specifically at a recent press conference, Allegri told reporters that ?those who haven?t played as much this season will be very important in the closing stages.? That is most certainly true, and Kwadwo Asamoah could be even more influential in 2015-16.