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The Serie A leaders are reportedly closing in on the 25-year-old midfielder but they should carefully study his path at Porto before deciding to make a final move

COMMENT
By Luis Mira | Portuguese Football Editor

As we prepare to enter the final week of the January transfer window, clubs all over Europe have already identified which areas of their teams should be reinforced. And for Juventus, in addition to signing a new left-back, it means finding someone who can help veteran Andrea Pirlo in the middle of the park.

Over the last few weeks, several names have been linked with Juventus, including David Pizarro, Fredy Guarin and Rajda
Nainggolan. The Cagliari man appeared to be the Bianconeri's number one transfer target, but after stating that he prefers a move abroad over a new Serie A challenge,  the Italian league leaders' interest in Guarin has gained momentum. But is the Porto midfielder a safe bet, or are Juventus taking a huge gamble in the 25-year-old?

The Colombia international joined Porto from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2008 in a reported €3 million transfer, with Paulo Machado moving in the other direction on a season-long loan as part of the deal. Guarin arrived at the Estadio do Dragao with the billing of a utility midfielder who could either play in front of the defence or further up the pitch.

GUARIN'S PORTO STATS
Season


2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
Games (Starter)

26 (8)
34 (17)
44 (25)
10 (6)
Goals


3
7
10
1
With Lucho Gonzalez and Raul Meireles in front of him in the club's pecking order, Guarin's first-team chances in his first season were limited and he mostly featured as a defensive midfielder, without much success. As a result, he became an unpopular figure at Porto, and with Jesualdo Ferreira continuing at the club in 2009-10, a significant improvement in his situation did not seem to be on the cards for the Colombian.

Lucho Gonzalez may have left for pastures new in the summer of 2009, but in his place came fellow Argentine Fernando Belluschi. This meant a place on the bench for Guarin once again, but as the season reached its latter stages, the 25-year-old was finally able to shine, scoring six goals in the last nine matches of the campaign.

However, the most important change for Guarin came when Andre Villas-Boas took the reins of the team. The now Chelsea boss decided that the Colombian is not suited for the holding midfielder position as he is much more valuable as a box-to-box midfielder, who likes to play close to the strikers in the opposing area. He gained a regular place in Villas-Boas' squad, especially in the second half of the season, when his impressive long-rage strikes earned Porto crucial points in the league and passage into the Europa League quarter-finals.

The sky appeared to be the limit for Guarin at the end of the 2010-11 season. Interest from Roma and Inter did not take long to appear, but the 25-year-old decided against leaving as a token of appreciation for the support the fans had shown for him only months before.


"I will only leave Porto for Juventus. Another club is not an option"

- Fredy Guarin
But things quickly went downhill for the midfielder after the 2-0 Uefa Super Cup defeat to Barcelona, in which he inexplicably played a back-pass into his area for Lionel Messi to slot home his side's first goal. Guarin soon became out-of-favour under new coach Vitor Pereira and only rarely has he been included in match squads since then. The Colombian's agent has spoken of his client's distress at his situation and a January move appears to be the only option for him to find regular first-team action.

After three-and-a-half years at Porto, Guarin is no closer to an ideal situation than when he arrived in 2008. His story with the Portuguese champions has been one of love and hate, but the final chapter appears to be in the making now. Juventus' interest in Guarin is real, although they should think twice before putting their money on a player who is reaping the rewards of a good six months at the club. For €10m - Porto's asking price for the player - there are much safer options available for the Bianconeri.

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