The Richmond Boakye Bet

Dino Panato

Trying to successfully secure playing time for a talented youngster in need of match experience has proven to be a Herculian task for Juventus as a football club post-Calciopoli. There have been some exceptional victories, as Ciro Immobile's experience at Pescara showed us all. There have also been some spectacular failures, which I would rather forget about. Although Marotta and Paratici's history in the matter has been mixed since their arrival at Corso Galileo Ferraris, there is a young striker lighting up Serie B whose career has been directed away from the path of stagnancy onto the one of potential stardom by the Juventus directive duo.

Trying to successfully secure playing time for a talented youngster in need of match experience has proven to be a Herculian task for Juventus as a football club post-Calciopoli. The loan option is the preferred one, as it is simpler and usually distinguished by the player being sent to an affiliate or supposedly friendly club for what is meant to be a season-long stint of gaining experience.

Over the last few seasons, the list of these friendly clubs has been a long one: Siena, Bari, Brescia, Vicenza, Pescara, Sassuolo, Esperia Viareggio, Modena, Pro Vercelli, Virtus Lanciano are just a few that come to mind. A number of the loaned out youngsters at these clubs have had very good luck to say the least: Ciro Immobile became the Serie B top goalscorer at Pescara last season, Carlo Pinsoglio was a weekly fixture for Lega Pro side Esperia Viareggio’s starting eleven during the 2010-2011 season ahead of fellow Juventus youth product Timothy Nocchi, Yussif Raman Chibsah is currently a regular for a Sassuolo team that is simply steamrolling the competition in Serie B, Gabriel Appelt was proving to be the focal point of Pro Vercelli’s play prior to being sidelined with a broken fibula and I have lost count of the number of penalties Nicola Leali has already saved this season as he breaks himself in two every game desperately trying to keep Virtus Lanciano from drowning back to Lega Pro (I think it is already up to three, with more than half the season yet to play) .

However, there have been some less than fortunate loan experiences, as well. Who can forget the spectacular failure that the haphazard packaging of poor Iago Falque to Bari just days prior to the end of the 2009 summer transfer window proved to be? Before scoring left, right and center under the guidance of offensive extremist, defensive ignoramus and generally unfulfilled and bitter agitator Zdenek Zeman, Ciro Immobile was shipped around to Siena and Grosseto with little success to write home about. The same Carlo Pinsoglio was a bench-warmer at Pescara after being deemed "too defensive of a player" by the Czech chain-smoking messiah of catching L’s himself. I am serious. Luca Anania was preferred ahead of Pinsoglio by Zeman as the veteran was considered to be more suited at playing the ball with his feet, a better fit for Zeman’s nonsensical approach.

It is difficult to ensure a talented youngster gets to grow and play with consistency while on loan instead of frustratingly wasting away Cristian Pasquato at Lecce circa 2011-2012 style. Good relations between two sporting directors are at times not enough. Yearly affiliation contributions paid by Juventus don’t seem to hold as much power as Football Manager often makes you think. A Juventino manager in charge at the "receiving" club will not necessarily get the job done, especially if he is made of stainless steel and is rumored to have nearly come to blows with the player in training, Antonio Conte and Ciro Immobile docet.

Sometimes, the loan deal is so ideal and such a natural fit it is not only obvious to complete but a safe bet and a guaranteed success. Richmond Boakye’s season-long return to Sassuolo by way of Juventus has thus far proven to be a masterful move, from all parts.Upon acquiring half of the young Ghana international’s rights from Genoa as collateral of the part exchange agreement of ownership rights of Ciro Immobile, Boakye was sent on loan to Serie B side Sassuolo, the club where he earned his first professional stripes during the 2011-2012 season - an excellent decision by Marotta and Paratici. While talented and probably not any less exciting of a striker than (this season’s Eljero Elia) Nicklas Bendtner, Boakye would have probably not found much playing time at Juventus this season. Sending him back to the club where he was able to rack up 12 goals in 34 appearances between Serie B and Coppa Italia last year, although obvious, was the right decision to make. The youngster was offered an opportunity to resume where he had left off at a familiar club, a familiar city, a familiar level of football to continue scoring and developing in and he has thus far truly made the most of it. Together with players such as Troianello, Missiroli, Pavoletti, Terranova and fellow Juventus-loaned Chibsah, Boakye’s 6 goals in 12 contribution is why manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s Sassuolo side seems headed straight toward promotion to the top flight of Italian football.

The latest from Boakye was this impressive performance against Reggina this past weekend


That is two goals scored and one MOTM performance amidst 90 minutes of approximately 1,387 missed chances, ladies and gentlemen. And you thought Juventus was wasteful up top!

The forward is currently playing well, averaging a goal every two games and continuing his impressive growth as one of Italian football’s most exciting prospects. Kudos to Beppe Marotta, not only did him and Paratici secure a firm hold on two of the best young strikers of the peninsula with one move, but they also made the best decision to protect the investment the club made on Boakye by allowing him to continue his ascend into the upper echelon of the football that matters this past summer. One final wish? Once Sassuolo attain promotion at the end of this season, loan him back there ahead of the 2012-2013 Serie A season, it will be an even greater success.

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