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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Juventus sign Weston McKennie on loan with option to buy

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U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

United States v Curacao: Quarterfinals - 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

And on the day after his 22nd birthday, Weston McKennie just made the biggest move of his young career. Not a bad way to celebrate, is it?

Oh, and he just so happened to make a little bit of history at the same time.

Juventus announced Saturday that McKennie, one of the United States men’s national team’s brightest (young) talents these days, has joined the club on loan with an option to buy next summer. The loan deal for the 2020-21 season will cost Juventus €4.5 million, with said option costing another potential €18 million if it were to be activated. McKennie, who arrived in Turin on Thursday night ahead of his medical exams the next morning, is now officially the first American-born player to ever sign with Juventus, the current nine-time defending Italian champions.

That is quite the birthday gift.

Here are the official details of the deal, courtesy of Juventus’ official website:

Turin, 29 August 2020 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement with FC GelsenkirchenSchalke 04 e.V. for the temporary acquisition, until 30 June 2021, of the registration rights of the player Weston McKennie has been finalized for a consideration of € 4,5 million.

The agreement further entails:

-The obligation for Juventus to definitely acquire the player’s registrations rights, subject to the achievement of certain given sportive objectives by the end of the 2020/2021 season;

-The right for Juventus to definitively acquire the player’s registration rights in case these given objectives are not achieved.

In both cases, the agreed consideration for the definitive acquisition is € 18,5 million, payable in three years, which might be increased up to a maximum of € 7 milion upon achievement of further sportive performance objectives over the duration of the employment contract with the player.

McKennie joins Arthur Melo as the second addition to Juventus’ much-maligned midfield prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. Arthur officially joined up with his new teammates earlier this week after being one half of the swap deal that sent Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona back in the end of June.

McKennie, who first joined Schalke’s youth academy in the summer of 2016, appeared in 32 games in all competitions last season for a Schalke side that struggled after the restart in Germany and finished 12th in the Bundesliga.

Despite his young age, he’s already made 19 international appearances with the U.S., scoring six goals and recording three assists.

Obviously we don’t know where he will fit into things right now because so many things are complete unknowns. Juve’s roster is in flux, the club’s manager has never managed a professional game before and we still don’t really know for sure what Andrea Pirlo’s base formation will be yet. Even McKennie himself, unless you’ve spent a whole lot of time watching Germany football or the U.S. national team, is not all that familiar to a lot of Juventus’ regular followers.

But this is what we do know: Juventus midfield now has another player that is under the age of 25, adding a player that is known for his high-energy defensive and tackling ability.

Getting younger, faster and capable of being a little more versatile is a good thing.

In everything that has happened at Juventus both over the last decade or two and well beyond that spanning the club’s storied history, there’s never been an American player sign with Juventus. That was until Friday, and it just so happened to be the birthday boy from Texas who became one of the few U.S.-born players to step foot onto a Serie A roster.