Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Weston McKennie has rejected the likes of Southampton and Aston Villa because the chance to become Andrea Pirlo’s first signing at Juventus was too good to turn down, according to ESPN.

While it would be tempting to suggest that the dominant force of Italian football are as guilty as Real Madrid and Barcelona when it comes to relying so heavily on a core group of ageing, 30-something superstars, Juve have at least laid the platform for a new dynasty in Turin.

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The Serie A champions have already tied up deals for Barcelona play-maker Arthur and Manchester City wonder-kid Felix Correia this summer, while Matthijs de Ligt, Merih Demiral, Dejan Kulusevski and Luca Pellegrini have all arrived since 2019.

Arthur, at 24, is the oldest of the lot.

And with Pirlo set to make McKennie his first ever signing, the all-action, 21-year-old American international could be the final cog in a suddenly fresh-faced Juventus midfield containing Athur, Rodrigo Bentancur and potentially Kulusevski too.

McKennie’s departure from Schalke has felt inevitable for some time, especially after David Wagner’s side failed to win any of their final 16 games during a miserable end to the Bundesliga campaign.

Southampton had entered talks earlier this month over a £20 million deal (Sky).

The Birmingham Mail, meanwhile, claimed that McKennie had told Aston Villa that he would be open to a move to the Midlands.

But, with all due respect to the Villans and the Saints, Juventus are on another level altogether.

And the chance to form part of an exciting new project at the Allianz Stadium, while working under one of the finest midfielders of the last 20 years, is one McKennie simply could not turn down.

Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

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