Around this time last week, I was ready to type out Mirko Vucinic's farewell. Everything pointed to everybody's favorite mustached Montenegrin heading out of town. The wheels were in motion and ready to make their final stop, only a few things left before he was off to Inter Milan along with a million or two euros for midfielder Fredy Guarin.
He was so close to being an Inter player. All that was needed was a few details here and there and he'd be off and taking orders from Walter Mazzarri and probably playing against Juventus this weekend. Now, he's so far away from knowing what the heck might happen next. And so are we.
Vucinic will be welcomed back with open arms by his teammates if he ever shows for training. How do I know this? Because Andrea Barzagli told me this after Juventus were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Roma two Tuesdays ago.
"He had emptied his locker. We said goodbye to Mirko and he was an integral part of two and a half fantastic years. If he returns to Vinovo then we'll embrace him again."
Source: Football Italia
I don't doubt that for a second. The core of Antonio Conte's Juventus squad has been together for nearly three years now. They're clearly a tight group that are teammates on the field and friends off of it.
But that's night why we're here.
Whether Vucinic actually has some kind of role going forward this season with Juventus is really a case of the unknown right now.
He's clearly second fiddle to the ever-growing partnership of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez. That was clearly different when the season started with Conte taking things slow when it came to integrating Llorente into the squad. But now that Llorente has settled in nicely and is producing in some kind of capacity almost every game he starts, Vucinic has seen his playing time drop considerably compared to a season ago.
Sure, getting hurt for a good chunk of the season didn't help his chances of fending off the competition otherwise known as Llorente. In the grand scheme of things, though, the pairing of Llorente and Tevez was always going to be the long-term vision for Juventus.
Does that mean the writing is on the wall when it comes to Vucinic's future in Turin?
At this point, who the hell really knows. Vucinic wants more playing time. Nobody can really blame him for that. And while Juventus seem perfectly okay to let him go, the final destination — if there is one — is still uncertain as next week's weather forecast. One hour it seems as though he's leaving. The next, it seems as though he's staying. Back and forth we go, when all of this transfer nonsense will stop nobody knows. The rumors start up, then seem to fizzle before the transfer reporters hit the pillow for a couple hours of sleep.
It could be something legitimate. It could be a bunch of nonsense. It's kinda what the transfer window has become at this point. It's just a bunch of rumors being thrown at a wall to see if anything sticks. Based on what we actually know, though, the only thing that has had any juice behind it was what didn't happen — Vucinic to Inter, Guarin to Juventus.