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How Juventus are the kings of free transfers as Ramsey joins from Arsenal

  /  autty

Juventus have been able to enjoy a dominance of Italian football over the past few years seldom seen in the country's rich footballing history.

And with the £100million purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, they clearly have designs on conquering Europe by ending their 23-year wait for Champions League glory.

But while unafraid to invest ever-greater sums in the world's best, one of the club's secrets to success lies in acquiring top quality players for absolutely nothing.

The news that Juventus are to sign Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer, with the Wales international due for a medical in Turin on Saturday, surely represents another piece of shrewd business by the Italians.

It goes without saying that with Juventus nine points clear at the top of Serie A and the chance to play alongside Ronaldo, there was more than enough allure for Ramsey to make the move.

He will join Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Dani Alves, Fabio Cannavaro and many others on the list of players Juventus have signed for absolutely nothing.

Naturally it's Pogba that stands out on the list, with Juve pulling off a masterstroke by luring the French midfielder away from Manchester United in 2012.

Pogba, then a prodigiously talented 19-year-old, had grown frustrated at what he perceived to be a lack of opportunities in Sir Alex Ferguson's team.

Juventus were able to offer such opportunities and though they would pay United £800,000 in compensation it was effectively a free transfer and one that turned into a buisness masterstroke.

After four years of excellence in Turin, a time in which Pogba matured into a world class footballer, they sold him back to United for a world record £89m.

Pogba helped Juventus to four consecutive league titles between 2013 and 2016, two Italian Cup triumphs and helped them to the Champions League final in 2015.

He also scooped a succession of individual accolades and honed his creative talents to the points where he topped the Serie A assist chart in his final season.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon trolled Ferguson and United for letting Pogba slip through their fingers: 'After just a few training sessions we saw how good he was.

'It cannot have been the same player they saw in Manchester - we thought they maybe needed glasses.'

The man who allowed Pogba to express himself to such a greater extend in Italy was Pirlo, who would casually sit at the base of midfield and ping quite brilliant passes to the forward line.

Juve managed to grab themselves another bargain when the maestro ran down his AC Milan contract in the summer of 2011 after the bosses at the San Siro decided he no longer suited their style.

Their loss was Juve's gain as Pirlo helped them win a succession of titles while also being named the Serie A player of the year in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Once again, Buffon put it best when he said: 'When Andrea told me that he was joining us, the first thing I thought was: 'God exists.'

'A player of his level and ability, not to mention that he was free, I think was the signing of the century!'

Indeed he was, with Pirlo and Pogba two principal reasons why the balance of power in Italian football shifted from Milan to Turin during those years.

Another world class player given a fresh lease of life by moving to Juventus was Brazilian right-back Dani Alves.

Barcelona felt the 33-year-old didn't have much left to offer when they allowed him prematurely out of his contract to join the Italian champions on a free in 2016.

Little did they know. Alves played an important role as Juventus not only retained their domestic titles, but reached another Champions League final, losing it to Real Madrid.

His consistently excellent performances earned a spot in the FIFPro XI that season before he moved on to Paris Saint-Germain.

Cannavaro returned to Juventus from Real Madrid for nothing in 2009 but injuries meant his second spell in Turin wasn't as successful as their first.

His first season back saw the club finish a lowly seventh in Serie A and crash out of the Europa League to Fulham having led the first leg 3-1.

As a result, Cannavaro moved to United Arab Emirates side Al-Ahli to conclude his career.

Sami Khedira was another free signing made from Real Madrid in the summer of 2015 and the German midfielder has made more of an impression. Indeed, he recently extended his Juventus contract.

He has scored far more frequently in Italy than he did in Spain and has won the league in each of his three seasons - and is well on course for a fourth.

Though now in his thirties, it's clear that Khedira will be in the side for a couple of years yet and represents another piece of excellent business.

Similarly with Pogba, the 2014 signing of Kingsley Coman from PSG proved a shrewd cherry-picking of an outstanding up-and-coming talent.

The French winger was handed a five-year contract by Juventus after his contract expired in France and he was immediately afforded greater first-team opportunities.

When it became apparent that Coman wouldn't be a permanent fixture in the side, Juventus loaned him to Bayern Munich and he did enough there to earn a €21m move there. Again, pure profit for Juve.

The Spanish striker Fernando Llorente, who scored 27 goals in 92 matches for the club between 2013 and 2015, and the German midfielder Emre Can, signed for nothing when his Liverpool deal expired, are other examples.

Now Juventus will be optimistic that Ramsey can develop into a top class player as he prepares to join the Juventus juggernaut.