On the very same day that Luca Pellegrini signed with Juventus as part of a swap deal with his boyhood club Roma, the possibility of the young Italian going out on loan was always a possibility. Seeing as he suddenly had a very good left back in front of him in Alex Sandro, the chance for regular playing time was never going to be possible in Turin.
And thus, the loan deal to where Pellegrini spent the second half of the 2018-19 season materialized.
As expected for the better part of the last week, Juventus and Cagliari agreed to a season-long loan deal, it was announced on Monday. Pellegrini, a year removed from serious knee injury, will indeed get the regular playing time he needs to both continue getting back to full fitness as well as develop into the player many feel like he can be during the next nine or 10 months while playing in Sardinia.
While Pellegrini seemed like a logical choice to be the backup to Alex Sandro, he will now certainly be in contention for a full-time starting spot for Rolando Maran at Cagliari. Pellegrini — who started all four of Italy’s games at the Under-20 World Cup this summer — appeared in 12 games (11 of which were starts) for Cagliari while on loan from Roma in the second half of last season.
Now, if he gets that kind of playing time over the course of a full season and can show that he is indeed healthy, coming back to Turin 12 months from now and potentially competing for a starting spot seems like a somewhat logical possibility.
Of course, loaning Pellegrini out also creates an interesting situation on Juventus’ fullback depth chart. As we saw in Saturday’s preseason finale against Triestina, Maurizio Sarri only has three natural fullbacks available to him right now — Sandro, Mattia De Sciglio and summer signing Danilo. That means, as we saw in the second half Saturday night, that Juan Cuadrado is essentially (for now) the backup to Danilo, with De Sciglio serving as Sandro’s understudy. It could very well be a situation where De Sciglio is the first-choice backup option at both fullback spots, but ever since the Pellegrini loan deal was going to be a certainty, De Sciglio has been working more at left back than on the right.
Ah, what interesting times are waiting for us.
Let’s just hope the most interesting things for Pellegrini involve lots of playing time and celebrating some goals that he assisted on.