Even though he has never actually worn a Juventus jersey in an official game, Manolo Gabbiadini has been the eye of many bianconeri tifo ever since Juve snatched him up on co-ownership in the summer of 2012. If the gradual progression and development went as many thought it might, Gabbiadini was projected to be one of the strikers that lead Juventus into the future, one that theoretically would be full of lots of Serie A titles and European victories.
Let's fast forward to the current day in the winter of 2014...
Napoli is making progress in their efforts to land Manolo Gabbiadini. (Thursday) the club's president De Laurentiis and sporting director Bigon will meet with the striker's agent Pagliari to find an agreement on the wages. At the moment Gabbiadini earns 600,000 euro net per season, Napoli has essentially reached an agreement with the two clubs that own Gabbiadini, Juventus and Sampdoria, for a transfer fee of around 13 million bonus included, the fixed amount will be 11 million.
(Source: Gianluca Di Marzio)
Well ... That doesn't really sound like what we envisioned a couple of years ago, is it?
As the hours go by this week and the rumors of Gabbiadini heading to Napoli during the January transfer window continue to gain plenty of juice, everything points toward the 23-year-old striker going the same way Ciro Immobile did over the summer. That means not playing for Juventus, rather than being sold with half the money going to the other club that currently co-owns him.
Let's face it, the competition at the striker position these days in Turin isn't exactly easy pickings these days. It's as competitive as it's been in years, really. Carlos Tévez is playing like one of the best strikers in all of Europe. Fernando Llorente, despite all of his struggles this season, is still a very good striker on his day. Álvaro Morata has a hefty price tag and plenty of promise that has yet to be fully tapped into. And then there's 18-year-old Kingsley Coman, who has shown serious talent despite the fact his chances have been few and far between through the first 13 games of the season.
Throw in the two youngsters currently at Sassuolo, Domenico Berardi (on his own co-ownership deal) and Simone Zaza (reportedly with holding a buy-back clause the next couple of summers), and there's even more competition at the striker position after the current season is completed and Juventus put things together for the next summer transfer window.
In that aspect of things, it makes total sense that Juventus are going in the same kind of direction with Gabbiadini as they went with Immobile. While Gabbiadini has plenty of talent and has had a relatively productive season so far this year, if he were to be part of the Juventus squad next season, where would he fit into the equation? Maybe fourth of fifth striker at best if the current crop of strikers outside of Sebastian Giovinco were to stick around like they probably will.
For a striker who will be 24 years old by the time next season arrives and could have a good shot at breaking into the Italian national team setup, that doesn't exactly sound like the ideal situation. He might not end up being the player we thought he could be when Juve first signed him two-plus years ago, he's still got the making of a striker who can make an impact.
It just looks as though that impact won't come in a Juventus jersey.
So maybe Gabbiadini does see the writing on the wall despite Juventus keeping a hold of him for what is now the third straight season. I know I can. It's not too hard to figure out right now. And for somebody who has always liked Gabbiadini the player, that's something even I can see without my black and white glasses on.
- It's time for Álvaro Morata to get his chance in Juventus' starting lineup — consistently
- OFFICIAL: Juventus rule out Kwadwo Asamoah for four months after knee surgery
- Report: Juventus close to signing Boca Juniors midfielder Tomas Pochettino
- Max Allegri Approval Rating - November 2014
- Juventus vs. Torino, Serie A Round 13: Full match coverage