Young players always have some kind of debate attached to their right hip. Almost as much as the expectations that hang over their head like some kind of identification on your video game system of choice, there's the talk of what kind of chance they deserve at their parent club and whether they're ready or still need time to develop at a smaller club.
But we've been down that road before. It's certainly a well-traveled one at this point in time.
Manolo Gabbiadini is young, he's talented, and as of right now, he doesn't really know where he will be playing next season. That's not his fault. But then again, it doesn't seem like it will be one of the classic co-ownership tug-o-wars like we've seen so many times before. Gabbiadini has two options — Juventus or Atalanta. Or so says Atalanta DG Pierpaolo Marino earlier this week (via Football Italia).
"There will be no problems with Juventus," Atalanta director Pieropaolo Marino told Sport Italia.
"The co-ownership agreement between us will be renewed, but there will be no chance that he will be loaned to a third club.
"If he doesn't find any room at Juve then he can play here in Bergamo. There are no issues with boss Stefano Colantuono as the Coach has actually requested him."
"He is an important player who has only illustrated 30 percent of his potential," Marino continued. "Juve signed half of his contract for €5 million and I don't think his value has decreased."
While Marino says there's two options, it seems like there's three doors in which Gabbiadini's status for the 2013-14 season lays behind. Think of it as a game show, okay?
Behind Door No. 1: Return to Juventus and playing sparingly as the second or third option off the bench. Ya know, basically the same kind of way Luca Marrone has the past two seasons after playing under Antonio Conte at Siena. Well, let's just hope that Conte doesn't turn Gabbiadini into a central defender if he does return to Turin.
Behind Door No. 2: Return to Atalanta and likely play on a regular basis.
Behind Door No. 3: Be part of a player swap deal — like the rumored move for Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna — and get regular playing time at whatever team it may be.
No matter which camp you sit in regarding where Gabbiadini should play next season, those are the three different options. Even though the last two are basically ensuring, barring any kind of particular setbacks, that he will likely get a lot more playing than if he did return to Juve.
Is the prospect of Gabbiadini playing in a Juventus jersey next season intriguing? You bet it is. Even if it's in a quasi-Marrone situation, it makes you think about a young striker getting a chance. Or it makes you think that a young striker could get not much playing time when he could be better served playing
And I guess that's the great debate in all of this.
Gabbiadini would obviously benefit in different ways wherever he does go. Playing at Juventus, the way this transfer market is shaping up, would be more of a reserve role instead of a starring one. On loan at another Serie A club or back at Atalanta would likely mean more playing time and a chance to develop on the field.
What do I think will happen? Here's my incredibly detailed answer:
Yeah, I got nothing.
He could easily go back to Atalanta as he could be used as a bargain chip to bring somebody to Turin this summer. Is that the right thing to do? I'm not so sure, especially considering how Gabbiadini seemed to develop this season while on loan at Bologna. If it is another loan spell at a club still to be determined that all of this results, then so be it. While the playing time won't be set in stone or anything like that, we know it will be one of the most important seasons in his career and one that Juventus will obviously be keeping a very close eye on.
I guess for now we just have to sit back and watch Gabbiadini in an Italy jersey at the Under-21 European Championships. At least we know he'll never sport something other than that on an international level.