The month of November has been very good for Domenico Berardi. Two games played, four goals scored. That's something you usually on see in career mode on FIFA14 or what Leo Messi would probably call an average week. And in the process, Berardi has shot up the Serie A scoring charts, going from towards the bottom to having the same amount of goals domestically as Carlos Tevez.
Not bad for a kid who is still two months away from celebrating his 20th birthday, huh?
The repercussions of Berardi's sudden goal surge has not only meant that the 19-year-old striker is the eye of Juventini, but just about any follower of calcio. The way he's playing, it's hard not to pay attention to what he's doing. And it means people are writing things about Berardi, who Juve bought on co-ownership this past summer with his parent club, Sassuolo. I's not just writing things, but writing good things. Really, really good things.
He entered the international break scoring goals like no other — thanks in large part to his hat trick against Genoa — and is getting the attention he rightfully deserves.
Questions will, of course, come to fruition because of the kind of run Berardi is currently on. You know what it will lead to...
- Is Berardi ready for the step up at Juventus?
- If he is ready, when will he be a part of the Juve roster?
- How much will he cost Juventus?
- How will he fit into the striker puzzle when he does arrive?
- If (or when) Berardi comes to Turin, who will leave?
Berardi having an absolute fantastic season thus far with Sassuolo is something that some of us might not have predicted for such a young player in his first voyage into the land of Serie A. Sure we knew when reports surfaced that Juve were interested in signing him that he was a player with a lot of potential. But still just a teenager,
And as a numbers guy, I liked this from James Horncastle's article on the WhoScored website last week:
In the meantime, Berardi has scored six in seven games. Of the Italians in Serie A only Giuseppe Rossi  and Alessio Cerci  have found the back of the net more. He is averaging a goal every 94 minutes and has a conversion rate of 32% [a stat that needed contexualising].
But Berardi is more than just a goalscorer. He can hold up play and come short. Of all the Serie A forwards to have started more than five games only Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano, Carlos Tevez, Alessandro Matri, Rodrigo Palacio and Eder have averaged more key passes per game [1.4]. He puts himself about when out of possession too. No Serie A striker has averaged more tackles per game this season [1.5 - as many as Tevez].
It basically comes out to a goal in every game he's played in so far this season. That's pretty impressive — no matter what age or level of experience you have. But when you consider it's coming from a teenager, playing his first couple of months in Serie A, it shows — at least for the moment — he's living up to the hype that came along with Juve buying half of his contract this past summer.
With all of that being said, Berardi is making a pretty impressive statement that he is going to be ready to contribute at Juventus sooner rather than later. How he fits into that puzzle is obviously still to be determined.
I mean, so far so good, right? Consider me more than just a little intrigued.
But also consider this: He's 19 years old and nowhere close to being a finished product. Berardi, as common logic goes, will continue to develop as time goes on. If he keeps developing the way he has thus far, it will only be a matter of time before he's ready for the step up — and Juventus will be the ones reaping the rewards.
He's got the talent, now it's just a matter of continuing to put it to good use.