The summer of 2013 was deemed as the transfer window that Juventus gets its long awaited top striker. The names were out there for everybody to read about. The Italian press hammered those names home like they were a nail on a construction site. To miss a name being linked to Juventus was virtually impossible.
Gonzalo Higuain. Stevan Jovetic. Who would it be? It was like a vicious cycle. The same names over and over again for weeks on end.
But Juventus didn't sign either of those names that vastly populated. Instead, Juventus went a different route. A cheaper route, too. Beppe Marotta went to England for a player who had scored 15 goals combined in the past two EPL seasons with Manchester City and gotten a good amount of attention for what he was doing away from the field rather than on it.
Carlos Tévez had no place in the Man City squad. But when the swift, almost out-of-nowhere move for Tévez was completed, he became the center of Juventus' new-look attack along with fellow summer signee Fernando Llorente. They were brought in to take Juventus to the next level and give the club what they had lacked compared to the last couple of seasons — proven, consistent goal scorers at the striker position.
Two weeks before the season started, we played a game. Something that involved predictions of just how well Carlitos might do in his first season with Juventus. It wasn't difficult, really. Name the amount of goals and assists that Tévez would record. Simple enough.
What I projected for Tévez::
Games played: 33
What actually happened:
Games played: 34
Nailed it. Well...almost.
Outside of the whole "CARLOS CAN'T SCORE IN EUROPE!!!" narrative that dominated a lot of talking heads throughout Juventus' European roller coaster ride this season, Tévez seemingly could do no wrong. And that's pretty much the truth, too. He was a consistent pest, a consistent threat who spearheaded Juve's attack.
Was there some skepticism that Tévez might not do that well? Yeah, I guess you can say that. You never really know how somebody is going to adapt to Serie A until they actually start playing games. But when he found the back of the net against Sampdoria in Juve's opener, it was the first goal in a season full of them. Nineteen goals in Serie A, to be exact, the third most in all of Italy this season.
Here's the thing I've come to admire about him: Even when he isn't scoring goals, he's busting his ass trying to do so. He is basically the striker that Antonio Conte lacked in his first two years as manager — the energy, the effort, the grinta each and every game. And then when you pair him with somebody like Llorente who compliments Tévez so well, good things are bound to happen.
And good things did happen.
So I guess in hindsight it's not a surprise that Tévez was damn good in his first season with Juventus. Even with a couple extra million euros going over to Man City's bank account after the season, Tévez's price looks like a total bargain. Maybe not a Llorente or Andrea Pirlo kind of bargain, but close enough.
Money well spent, I say. Juve gave him the No. 10, and he proved that he's worthy of it.
Now about those goals in Europe...
Okay, I'll just stop right there.