As the winter transfer window comes to a close, Juventus general Fabio Paratici has managed to make a few of the moves that he wasn’t able to finish off over the summer and cut down on the squad a bit.
Pjaca’s story has been a sad one. Arriving for €20 million from Dinamo Zagreb after an impressive performance at Euro 2016, he was, at the time of his sale, considered one of the most promising attacking talents to come out of Croatia in some time. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious case of FIFA virus.
In October of that first ‘16-17 season, he cracked his fibula on international duty and ended up out until January. He looked to be starting to round back into form and scored his first and only Juve goal in February, the opener in Juve’s 2-0 win over Porto in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. Unfortunately, the international curse struck again in March, this time in far more catastrophic form. Playing a friendly against Estonia on a field that was wholly inadequate for a professional match, he tore his ACL.
It took until the following January for him to get back onto the field, on a loan move to Schalke. He went to Russia with the Croatian national team in 2018 and made several substitute appearances, but his club efforts remained unsuccessful with year-long loan to Fiorentina last season, enduring another knee injury in the process.
Now he’ll head to Belgium, where he’ll again try to revive a career that once seemed so promising. This comes after a proposed move to Cagliari fell through last week, which, combined with the protracted negotiations over Can’s departure, was causing some more concern over Paratici’s ability to seal sales for players that were unwanted or surplus to requirements. While the time these two deals took wasn’t necessarily encouraging, the fact that they were indeed closed is at least an improvement over the summer window.