For the past couple of summers, Juventus supporters have been like cats. There's been a toy bouncing in front of our faces and all we went to do is embrace it, maybe capture it for good. That toy is otherwise known as Domenico Berardi, a player we've been closely following for what seems like many a-years now ever since Juventus first snatched him up in September of 2013.
Last summer, Berardi chose to stay loyal to a Sassuolo team that essentially launched his career. Even with Sassuolo taking his rights in full with co-ownership getting blown up, the gentlemen's agreement between them and Juve was put in place, a sign that the Italian champions were going to bring him to Turin 12 months later.
This summer, we went back to our favorite toy on a string. And just when we thought we would finally get a hold on it for good, we got the toy yanked away from us when Berardi decided that he wanted to spend another season at Sassuolo, a 2016-17 campaign that will see the Neroverdi participate in the Europa League for the first time ever.
We've wondered why Berardi has decided to stay at Sassuolo despite Juventus' heavy interest to bring him to Turin this summer. His current manager, Eusebio Di Francesco, gave his thoughts on the situation in a recent interview with Il Centro.
"Berardi is an amazing lad. He's attached to Sassuolo and to me. In my opinion, he's ready for a great team, maybe he thinks that's Sassuolo and therefore he stayed.
"Juventus? Maybe he was worried about not playing enough. It's hard to accept the change, and I'm happy to get to Coach him again.
"In the future his growth with coincide with accepting a new challenge."
(Source: Football Italia)
Moving from Sassuolo to Juventus is a big step for a player of Berardi's age. And, with that, comes the fact that there are better players already on the roster where he is moving to. Put two and two together and there's not only expectations that will be set by both media and fans alike, but also the fact that there will be better players competing for playing time. At Sassuolo Berardi is THE GUY in the attacking trident under Di Francesco. At Juventus, there's already Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic to try and take playing time from, let alone his former teammate at Sassuolo, Simone Zaza.
Basically, we can try and read Berardi's mind as to what his true aspirations are or whatever. But if the decision to stay at Sassuolo has truly come down to knowing that he will play as long as he's healthy and/or not suspended, then so be it. We'll just have to be a little more patient, I guess. Can't wait for the same rumors to come around next summer!