Back when the rumors of Juventus’ interest in him began the first couple of months of the 2019 calendar year, Cristian Romero made it be known that moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world was the end game. There were the two Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, mentioned, which isn’t all that surprising from a South American. Manchester United, while not exactly in the current state of domination as yesteryear, also got a shout.
But the fourth team that Romero mentioned is the one that he has just signed with.
Juventus announced Romero’s long-anticipated move to Turin on Friday, with the 21-year-old center back putting pen to paper on a five-year contract. The transfer fee, one that wasn’t exactly a locked down figure in the weeks leading up to the deal, is €26 million that Juventus will pay Genoa over the span of the next three years. The kicker in this deal, one that was basically bound to happen and expected for months, is that Romero, who has one season under his belt in Serie A at Genoa, will head back to the club that just sold him to Juventus to spend the 2019-20 campaign on loan at the Marassi.
The official details of the deal, courtesy of juventus.com:
Turin, 12 July 2019 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with Genoa Cricket & Football Club S.p.A. for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Cristian Gabriel Romero has been finalized for a consideration of € 26 million payable in three financial years.
Juventus and the player have signed a 5-year contract of employment until 30 June 2024.
At the same time, Juventus has reached an agreement with Genoa for the free loan until 30 June 2020 of the registration rights of the same player and bonuses of maximum € 5.3 million will be paid to Genoa on achieving given sports performances.
Romero, who started 27 games for Genoa last season, is the second central defender Juventus has signed in the past week, with Merih Demiral sealing his €18 million move from Sassuolo on July 5. Unlike Demiral (or the anticipated signing of Matthijs de Ligt), though, Romero isn’t going to be making an impact at Juventus right away. Romero has more Serie A experience than Demiral, but it’s the young Turkish defender that is sticking around Turin for the 2019-20 season.
But that doesn’t mean Romero lacks in talent, or anything close to that.
Romero finished fourth on a Genoa team that nearly got relegated last season in both tackles (2.3) and interceptions (1.4) per game. But, with the good, comes the need to improve: Romero finished with the second-highest amount of yellow cards last season, a clear sign that he needs to rein in some of that talent and aggression. (Just for comparison, no Juventus center back had more than three yellow cards.)
Still, the talent is there for Romero to develop in time. With the loan move back to Genoa, it’s playing time that he will get. (Juventus will make sure of that.) And it’s just another sign that while Fabio Paratici is spending a large of amount of money to make Juventus better in the present, he’s also trying to set the defense up for the future when the current over-30 block is enjoying their post-Juve lives.