I have a confession: I bought into the Sebastian Giovinco hype.
I'm not talking about when he came back to Juventus a summer ago. No, this was years ago when Giovinco was just a wee little lad — even moreso than now. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to have incredibly high hopes for the diminutive, Turin-born striker. But I had high hopes for the kid, even after things didn't go well his first stint with the senior squad.
Even when Giovinco returned from two years at Parma — something he desperately needed to kick-start his career once again — there were still expectations. Antonio Conte brought him back to Juve because Il MIster had faith in him. The end product wasn't terrible...
Serie A: 31 games, seven goals, six assists
Champions League: Seven games, two goals, no assists
Coppa Italia Italia: Three games, two goals, no assists
....but it still feels like there should have been something more. Then you throw in how Giovinco played during his two-year stint at Parma — the reason why it cost €11 million to purchase the second half of his contract — his first season back at wasn't too impressive. (And if you need any kind of reminder of that, check out any kind of Giovinco discussion on Twitter. Do it. I dare you.)
That begs the question: Does Giovinco deserve another chance to show he belongs at Juventus?
Some say yes. A good number of people lately say no. And to be completely honest, I have no gosh-darn idea.
Part of me still holds out hope for Giovinco turning that corner and becoming really good at what he does for a living. But reality tells me that Giovinco will be what he currently is — a good footballer who can only do so much because he's slightly taller than his recently-born son. And at 26 years old, a player should be really coming into his own. Giovinco, however, just seemed to struggle to really get going again after having a bright start to the 2012-13 campaign.
That's because it wasn't easy for Giovinco this season. He started off in good form and started more often than not, then hit a rough patch, then got hurt, then didn't see much of the field until after Juventus clinched the Scudetto with three games remaining. Some of it was because Conte went 4-5-1 down the stretch to get Paul Pogba into the starting lineup, some of it was because Conte stuck to his guns and played Mirko Vucinic no matter what.
Yet this is the same Antonio Conte who has always supported Giovinco no matter what his form is and was one of the main reasons why Seba came back last summer. And you have to think that if Giovinco does stay at Juventus this summer, Conte's influence in the decision will be a massive one. Why? Because Conte almost always gets what Conte wants. Or that's the way it should be.
Giovinco is what he is, though. The hype machine got the best of a lot of us. Giovinco was thought of to be a complete game-changer that Juventus can build around. But now, as we sit here nearly five years to the month that both Giovinco and Claudio Marchisio returned from their season-long loan spell at Empoli, one of them has become one of the most important players in the squad while the other could very well be on his way out.
I think we know which is which, so there's really no need to clarify.