Juventus Youth Update

1 Sep

To cover each and every movement in and out of our youth sector – the loans, co-owns, sales, contract terminations and purchases – in any great detail would take longer than this Sunday afternoon affords me. And so rather than try to fit a mountain into a mole-hill I will focus on the main players of interest both those with our primavera and those plying their trade away from the club yet still owned by Juventus.


Let us begin with the progress report on ace goalkeeper, Nicola Leali. After a Summer spent fending off suitors, some from the top flight, the young shot stopper – who excelled hugely at Lanciano last term – signed with solid serie B outfit Spezia. The Aquilotti (Little eagles) of Liguria have a chequered history, having declared bankruptcy in 2008 after a lengthy partnership with Inter which saw them act as a feeder/ reserve club of sorts to the rightfully maligned by all juventini Milanese powerhouse. Returning to professional football the same year as A.S.D. Spezia Calcio 2008, the Ligurians were admitted to Serie D, from where they have quickly clawed their way back to the second tier, winning promotion to Serie B in the 11/12 season leading to a respectable finish of 13th in the table.

Joining Nicola from the Juve stable of hot prospects are Hordur Magnusson (free kick specialist, solid CB of our primavera) and more recently, brazilian regista Gabriel Appelt, who spent last season doing a fine job at the unfortunately relegated Pro Vercelli. Suffering from injury at key points in the season, Appelt clearly impressed enough to invite interest from Spezia. Too good to go down with that sinking ship.

Leali endeared himself to the fans with a match winning performance in the coppa italia against Genoa (5-4 on pens) with Magnusson also making his official debut, arriving as a second half substitute and scoring in the shoot-out. The keeper appears to have won the trust of Luigi Cagni and has remained between the sticks for Spezia’s first two matches in the league – An average 0-0 home draw with Cittadella followed up with a promising 1-2 away scalping of Juve Stabia. Icelandic U21 star Hordur has not yet debuted in the league but his time will surely come. The same can be said of Gabriel, who made the bench yesterday but couldn’t reach the field.

Gabriel Appelt…can he make the grade???

After wowing spectators with his goal and all round performance in the Villar Perosa match, Swiss striker Zoran Josipovic moved on loan to Novara. Only recently turning 18 years of age, the forward has already made his debut for his promotion seeking new side, appearing as a substitute in their opening day shock 2-1 away loss to Avellino. A largely unknown quantity given his lack of games since joining Juventus, but the early signs of his loan move are certainly positive.

Over at Pescara, midfielder Elvis Kabashi and star prima punta of last year’s primavera Stefano Padovan are yet to make their competetive debuts. Both players only managing thus far a place on the bench for the 1-2 away coppa victory over Torino. After netting a phenomenal 16 goals in 16 matches last season, Stefano will be hoping to prove he can repeat such feats at this higher level. Elvis also featured regularly in Baroni’s talented midfield. High hopes for the duo.

Alberto Masi’s brilliant efforts in the Ternana back line after moving there on loan last January prompted the Umbrians to send 2m euros to Turin in exchange for a 50% stake in the promising defender. Having broken into the Azzurrini set-up, Masi has begun the season as he ended the last, putting in two admirable shifts in his sides opening league games. After finishing 9th last season Ternana will be aiming for promotion which can only benefit Masi’s development.

Daniele Rugani returned to Empoli after his sterling showing for our primavera in our last campaign, but with 50% of his registration now in our pockets we must keep an eye on the towering centre halve whose career at both international and domestic level is on a steady upwards trajectory. Its no surprise to see Daniele involved in all four games played by his club this season and with his recent call-up to the italian U21 side to boot, its fair to say that he is taking the step up from primavera level in his hefty stride.

The same cannot (yet!)be said of former primavera ace portiere, the romanian giant Branescu, who made his debut for new loan club Juve Stabia in a depressing 3-0 defeat to Pescara. Blameless for all three which passed him, let us hope that his confidence and chances haven’t been too badly dashed against the rocks.

Your hitler salute is meaningless when you let in three on your debut…

After a merry go round which saw two handfuls of clubs at home and abroad vying for his signature, Richmond Boakye finally left the club a week ago. Swapping Italy for Spain, the up and coming ghanaian international joined primera liga newcomers Elche FC on a year loan deal. Much talked about over the summer as a possible inclusion in our senior squad after his second quality season in Serie B on the trot, the explosive front man announced his arrival in Spain by scoring a very late equalizer in his club’s hard fought 2-2 away draw with Almeria. Elche crunched the second tier last year, waltzing over the finish line an impressive 5 points clear of their nearest rivals. Its an interesting choice of club, given the interest from Serie A, but what has likely secured what must be seen as a coup of sorts, was probably the lack of a set price to purchase Richmond at the end of his loan. They need his goals and he needs playing time at a stronger level than Serie B. Long may his early success continue…

Rich- mond by name, but will he be Rich by nature??? Only Elche will tell…

Sticking with Spain, Italy U21 regular Fausto Rossi has moved to Valladolid on loan. As the player himself noted, it is the best opportunity of his career and whilst I don’t expect to see him in a Juve shirt in the future, I hope he finds the strength of character to finally do justice to the talent he possesses. No doubt with the weaker defences in Spain his free flowing game will mature.
20 year old former primavera captain Andrea Schiavone moved to Siena on loan during the close season and has already made his debut for his new side in their two coppa italia triumphs. Yet to make his debut in the league, Andrea is another player who has left the youth ranks with high hopes for the future.
Other brief mentions go to…Christian Pasquato. Dropped down a league after his misadventures with Bologna, entered into a co-ownership agreement with Udinese and was promptly loaned out to Padova where he has been playing regularly and already notched up his first goal.
Fillipo Boniperti is flying high on the wing for Crotone, already establishing himself as part of their first team.
I could list more, but this article is in danger of becoming a novella. So without intending insult to those I have neglected to mention, let us focus on the primavera…

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