We knew Domenico Berardi has a whole lotta talent before he exploded for four goals against AC Milan this past Sunday night. If anything, it was just conformation of what we already knew — Berardi is 19 years old and good at game.
What Sunday night's four-goal masterpiece has also done has once again kick-start the Berardi-to-Juventus talk into overdrive. It happened when he dropped a hat trick on Sampdoria in early November. Now it's been taken to another level — and not just because his performance against Milan was a perfect 10 on the WhoScored rating system.
Berardi has burst onto the scene this season with Sassuolo. He has gone from a highly-rated youngster to, well, a even more highly-rated youngster. At the tender age of 19, Berardi has scored as many goals (11) as somewhat well-known Juventus striker Carlos Tevez. That's second only to Fiorentina's Giuseppe Rossi, who isn't going to be playing anytime soon because of another stupid knee injury.
Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta on Berardi: It's risky to say he'll play for us next season. We have to see his level of improvement— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) January 13, 2014
Marotta on Berardi: "He's v.young. A move to Juve is v.big [deal]. It has put more talented players in difficulty."— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) January 13, 2014
Okay, one more from James.
Right for Berardi's development that he stays at Sassuolo for remainder of this season + the next [if they're in A].— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) January 13, 2014
It's pretty simple because the question is this: Is it better for Berardi to be a regular starter on a club like he is with right now or a part-time starter at the very best in Turin next season?
Barring any kind of full-time tactical change from one Antonio Conte, that's the situation we're looking at.
When it comes to youngsters joining Juventus at a very, very young age, I'm hesitant. Not because I don't like them at all. I like Paul Pogba a whole hell of a lot, but it's just clear that he's just a freak of nature here to bless us all with his presence. (And for that we should thank him.) I pounded the Sebastian Giovinco drum as hard as anybody when he came back from his season-long loan spell at Empoli and that didn't exactly go so well the first time around.
For a kid who will barely be 20 years old when the 2014-15 Serie A campaign gets underway, it's such a huge decision for his oh-so-young career. In a day and age where almost every youngster who does anything gets hyped up, Berardi is a player you truly don't mess with. At all. If that means ensuring he is a regular starter somewhere else for another season, then that's what you do. If Beppe Marotta and every other decision maker at Juventus feel like Berardi will be better for him, then that's the route they should take.
What Juventus, at all costs, can't do is play the yo-yo game that Giovinco went through when he immediately came back from Empoli. They need to do what is best for Berardi himself and his future, and there's no denying that.
As much as I would love to see Berardi wearing a Juventus jersey next season, I'm not convinced that it would be the best thing for the kid who has so many hopes pinned to his young shoulders. I feel safe in saying he will play for Juve sooner than later if continues to play anywhere close to as well as he has for Sassuolo this season. But I don't know if it should come as soon as next season.
Or maybe you switch to a 4-3-3 and just let the kid loose, enjoying every bit of the show along the way.
I don't know. It's a tough call and I'm glad I'm not the one making it. That's for Beppe and his crew to take care of. That's what they're paid to do and you know it's already crossing their respective minds.
Just don't screw this thing up, guys.
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