For as much talk about Claudio Marchisio’s long-term injury absence, there’s also been another Juventus midfielder who has been missing in action the entire summer and now into fall. Rolandro Mandragora, who’s more prospect than first team candidate right now, was possibly a summer sleeper candidate when it came to Juve’s roster makeup. Instead, the only Mandragora-related piece of news we’ve gotten since preseason training began over the summer was that the 19-year-old midfielder was going to be out for three or four months.
So, yeah, not exactly the kind of summer months we hoped for from one of Juve’s brightest young Italian talents they’ve signed in years.
Even with his current injury situation, we’ve been left to wonder what Juve is going to do with Mandragora when he is in fact healthy. The general thinking is some kind of loan deal until the end of the 2016-17, and that’s what the Corriere dello Sport threw out there on Thursday, as the Italian sports daily reported that Mandragora will join Serie A side Empoli when the January transfer window opens up in a little less than three months from now.
Considering that Juventus and Empoli have worked quite well in developing young players in recent seasons — hint hint Daniele Rugani hint hint — it’s no surprise that this is one of the talked about options for Mandragora to go. Another one of Juve’s better youth products of the last few years, defender/midfielder Andrés Tello, is currently on loan with Empoli and has started six of the club’s seven games this season.
The three-to-fourth-month timetable that Juve announced for Mandragora’s recovery back in mid-August would have him on track for a return to training at the very least around the mid-November or the start of December. And while it seems as though Juventus manager Max Allegri is a very big fan of Mandragora, if he’s healthy, some kind of loan deal — a short six-month? A longer 18-month? — until the end of the season is in order. The boy needs to play, and the most logical option is Mandragora going to one of Serie A’s smaller clubs to gain some valuable experience.