When Luca Pellegrini came back to Juventus after a season on loan with Cagliari, there was a hope that he could potentially be the understudy to Alex Sandro as one of the few fullbacks that the Italian champions have on their roster. There were rumors here and there about where he could go if it wasn’t going to be in Turin, but there he was a week before the 2020-21 season was set to begin and he was wearing a Juve jersey in the lone friendly of the summer.
There was the hope that maybe, just maybe, he was in Andrea Pirlo’s plans in one way or another. Then he wasn’t called up for the season opener against Sampdoria and the writing was basically on the wall for everybody to see.
The 21-year-old Pellegrini has officially joined Genoa on loan, Juventus announced on Saturday morning. It will be the second straight season in which Pellegrini — who Juventus acquired in a swap deal with Roma for Leonardo Spinazzola in June of 2019 — after he spent the 2019-20 campaign at Cagliari. That was supposed to be the step before he returned to Juventus. Instead, he will be the latest Juventus player to join Genoa on loan, extending what has been quite the interesting business relationship between the two clubs over the last few years.
The decision to loan Pellegrini to Genoa — which, judging by some of the comments on the tweet above, isn’t exactly the most popular transaction of the summer — means that Juventus will be entering the season with the same number of natural fullbacks on the roster as they did a season ago. That would be three, although if you include Under-23 left back Gianluca Frabotta — who got the start at left wingback with Sandro out injured in last weekend’s season-opening win over Sampdoria — then you’ve got two on each wing.
Either way, with Pellegrini now at Genoa, depth isn’t exactly brimming like some thought that it might be.
So now Juventus head into the season — yes, I know, it’s already started — with one less option there could have been. Maybe Frabotta turns out to be a solid depth piece and the Pellegini loan deal doesn’t look like a big deal at all. And maybe Pellegrini has a solid season at Genoa and Juve at least have the chance to turn him into a viable asset come the next few transfer windows.