Whilst movements in and out of the senior squad were very well documented and discussed here at BWRAO, our manoeuvres in the youth sector were more frenzied yet flew under the radar. With the season at such a larval stage and a hefty portion of our youth strategy focused upon those who will bring us money but not glory whilst wearing our shirt, it seems more useful to highlight the more interesting transfers and also, perhaps delve briefly into the progress — if any has been made — of those at Piedmont and elsewhere who have already made inroads into first team action, rather than run through every single transaction.
Stefano Beltrame: Destined for the big time?
The chase for primavera second striker Stefano Beltrame's signature proved hectic and lengthy with the forward finally moving to Bari towards the end of the transfer window. Beltrame was a steady source of supply and end product for Marco Baroni's Juve primavera outfit last season, racking up nine goals and dovetailing dangerously in attack alongside a fellow Stefano, signore Padovan (scorer of 17 goals himself). Making his début in the weekend's 3-2 loss away to Siena, Beltrame played the whole second half and created a goal. His opponents on the day made use of Andrea Schiavone as a second-half substitute, but kept Leonardo Spinazzola on the bench.
His former strike partner, Padovan, was joined at Pescara by the brilliantly named Elvis Kabashi; both have yet to make their debut. Their new club's opponents in the 2-2 draw from Sunday's round of matches, Crotone, saw Filippo Boniperti — the flying left winger has already made four appearances for the club and seems in a healthy position — stuck to the bench.
Highly thought of Romanian shot-stopper Laurentiu Branescu has done well to seemingly win over his manager's confidence at Juve Stabia. Unfortunately, he has conceded eight goals in the four matches he has played in the league and Coppa Italia since making the jump from the primavera to senior football. Results are far less important than regular playing time at this stage in his career, and we can only hope that he remains in the starting lineup long enough for the team to find some form and improve upon their horrible league form of played three, lost three. Its worth mentioning that Branescu has become a regular fixture for the Romanian Under-21 team.
Alberto Masi has been continuing where he left off last term at Ternana, to whom Juve sold 50 percent of his registration over the summer for an impressive €2 million. This was by far Ternana's largest single outlay for their mercato, and their investment says a lot about how highly they value the centre back — who impressed for them greatly after moving on loan last January. In the two games he has played for his club in the current league campaign they were unbeaten, and a slight injury appears to have kept him out of the squad for their recent 1-0 defeat to plucky Avellino. His progress is sound with a fourth Italy U-21 cap arriving in August in the 4-1 mauling of Slovakia.
Rich-mond by name, Rich by nature?
Explosive front-man Richmond Boakye trained with the senior squad over the summer, with some saying he may well take a slot on our roster. But it wasn't to be, with regular playing time in foreign lands the decision of Beppe Marotta and Antonio Conte. Sent out to Elche FC of Spain, the Ghanaian promptly arrived as a late sub for his début in la primera and scored a late equalizer in stoppage time. Richmond performed admirably at the U-20 World Cup in the close season, scoring twice for Ghana and creating one assist.
Whilst on the topic of Africans loaned out to other countries, former Juve favourite Fabrizio Ravanelli picked up Mbaye Diagne on loan from our ranks before the transfer window shut. The burly forward was signed by Juve in late August after impressing for Serie D club Bra (for more information see HERE) and has yet to make his début for the team of La Penna Bianca. From Serie D to the top tier in France, Diagne's now leading the line at Ravanelli's Ajaccio.
Italian U-20 international Daniele Rugani returned to Empoli after his season long loan in Turin with his registration moving into Beppe's eager paws. The centre-back has since played every minute available for the Tuscany side and with two wins and one draw Empoli are tentatively sowing the seeds for a promotion campaign.
Personal favourite of mine, purely due to his name and nationality, Brazilian regista Gabriel Appelt Pires, moved to Spezia on loan to join up with fellow Juventus-owned players Nicola Leali and Hordur Magnusson. Whilst Leali — the best goalkeeper in Serie B last term — has already established a first team place, it may be a while before we see the Swedish defender and archangel escape la panchina. Applet headed out on loan to relegation doomed Pro Vercelli in 2012 and acquitted himself well enough to jump the sinking ship and be given a second season in Serie B.
With the primavera still to cover, I will list, as follows, a snapshot of the youth sector mercato before focusing my steely gaze upon our Under-19 primavera group.
Matteo Liviero, Carpi
Daniele Rugani, Empoli
Nicola Leali, Spezia
Hörður Magnússon, Spezia
Elvis Kabashi, Pescara
Filippo Boniperti, Crotone
Jacob Laursen, Odense (Denmark)
Zoran Josipovic, Novara
Laurentiu Branescu, Juve Stabia
Stefano Padovan, Pescara
Michele Cavion, Reggiana
Timothy Nocchi, Carpi
Gabriel Appelt, Spezia
Alberto Gallinetta, Chieti
Niko Bianconi, Gavoranno
Richmond Boakye, Elche FC (Spain)
Fausto Rossi, Real Valladolid (Spain)
Carlo Ilari, Barletta
Mbaye Diagne, Ajaccio (France)
Stefano Beltrame, Bari
Elio De Silvestro, Reggiana
Luca Castiglia, Empoli
Giuseppe Ruggiero, Pro Vercelli
Nazzareno Belfasti, Pro Vercelli
Daniele Rugani, Empoli
Alberto Masi, Ternana (€2 million)
Ciro Immobile, Torino (€2.75 million)
Claudio Genitle, Lanciano
Luca Marrone, Sassuolo (€4.5 million)
Andrea Schiavone, Siena
RELEASED FROM CONTRACT
Baroni has headed out to try his hand as head coach of Serie B side, Lanciano, and Juve moved swiftly to bring in a new boss for our talented crop of primavera players. Andrea Zanchetta arrives fresh from achieving excellent results last term with Cremonese's allievi nazionale (Under-16) squad. As a player, Zanchetta spent most of his career as a midfielder for Chievo with stints at Lecce, Inter, Vicenza, Foggia and Cremonese.
With the major investments poured into the youth sector and relative success of recent years, let's hope that Zanchetta can continue the building of a team capable of bettering last season's solid outing in the NextGen Series, first place finish in the league (but dumped out of the finals), regrettable Viareggio effort and wonderful victory in the Coppa Italia.
Assisting Zanchetta will be none other than World Cup winner and former Juve fan favorite, Fabio Grosso. Fresh from gaining his coaching badges, the highly-experienced journeyman has re-joined the club to work with the youth sector as vice-manager.
"In addition to a pleasure it is an honor that a company like Juve has called me to give me the opportunity to move ahead with this new job. I'm full of passion, I really want to do well, I intend to be able to pass it on to kids. Our goal as a staff is to get the most out of them to grow future champions for the first team." - Fabio Grosso
/cue the Bozzo rampage/
Coming into our squad are several intriguing purchases.
Continuing the solid scouting and procurement policies instigated by Marotta and Fabio Paratici, Juve picked up another potential young star in the making by signing 17-year-old Moroccan forward, Younes Marzouk, from Metz of France. Younes recently played a leading role in his country's path to a respectable 4th place finish at the FIFA U17 African Championships, after losing on penalties in the third place play-off to Tunisia. En-route to their exit, the striker scored an impressive four goals in five games — also converting his penalty in the shoot-out — and earned the award for second best player of the tournament overall.
Compared by some to his countryman Marouane Chamakh and monstrous Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, due to his strong physical approach to the game and eye for goal (clearly that's where the Chamakh comparison ends), the youngster enters our ranks on a three-year contract with the option of another two. Marzouk made his first appearance for the club in the 2-1 defeat to Cesena, in which he scored.
A 16-year-old Czech wonder-kid winger, with blond hair and the blessing of Nedved himself has been snapped up for Juve and joined the club in August. Hailing from a family of professional volleyball players, young Roman Macek has chosen his feet, instead of his hands, to carve out a professional career. By nature a traditional winger, whose dribbling and hustling talents are married to a welcome determination to defend and create the bridge between defence and attack on the flanks.
FC Fastav gave him his chance, and it wasn't long before he moved up their Under-19 team and also became captain of the national side's U-16 outfit. He has since broken into the U-17 national squad where as with the U16s he is utilized as a central midfielder. However his real strengths lie on the wings, where his ability on the ball and dynamo engine truly shine.
Paratici moved fast and with guile to secure his signature, beating off interest from the likes of both Man United and Arsenal.
Next on the list of new additions to the youth roster is 15 year old front man Davide Arras. A Sardinian by birth, but after hitting an astonishing 51 goals for his local side in the 11/12 season the striker was picked up by Vicenza where he excelled last term in their giovanissimo side scoring 27 times. He has also recently been selected for the Italian U15 side.
It's too early to gauge any kind of form of our primavera, but I am happy to see 17-year-old Vejabah Sakor already demanding a starting role and its definitely worth keeping an eye on Gerbaudo, Pol Garcia and the Ecuadorian wide-man Jose Cevallos.
Cevallos was brought to the club last January after showing brilliant promise for the Ecuadorian Under-20 side. His talents lie best expressed within the realm between midfield and attack, creating the play, dribbling past players and when a shot is ON he likes to have a pop. Deployed equally happily out wide or just shy of the forwards, the south american looks an exciting signing.
Snapped up rather late in the day but arriving with intriguing potential are Manchester City left back Nicolae Marin and Barcelona forward Sergio Buenacasa. More on them another evening — and also more on Luca Barlocco, who joined Juve from Atalanta recently and has been a regular for Italy at U-16, U-17 and now U-18 levels.
The wind is wailing here in my garden war desk in Melbourne and despite my best efforts with the peppermint oil spray, the mosquitoes are biting, and so it seems prudent to head inside. Rather than lose the momentum, attempt to reconnect with this swathe of words when feeling less (accosted by insects), I will leave this update here and now, and hope the above is taken as valuable.