When it came to defensive acquisitions, the summer of 2019 was a busy one. Juventus, in need of a youthful injection, went out and signed three center backs — Matthijs de Ligt, Merih Demiral and Cristian Romero, the latter going right back out on loan to Genoa. While the first two clearly showed they have a future with the Italian champions, there has been a question mark as to whether or not the young Argentine would actually get a chance at Juventus despite the club paying €26 million for his services last summer.
Fourteen months after he first signed with the club and underwent his medical exams in Turin, Romero still has yet to play a game for Juventus.
And it looks like it will stay that way for at least the next year or two, if not longer.
According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, Romero is about to head to another team that isn’t Juventus after spending a brief time training alongside Andrea Pirlo this summer. Juventus and Atalanta, Di Marzio said, have an agreement on a deal that will see Romero head to Bergamo. Romero will join Atalanta on a two-year loan deal with an option to buy based on certain (and predictable) sporting achievements, with the deal’s final value reaching anywhere between €23 million and €25 million.
There is a little twist with all of this: Romero would first have to sign a contract extension with Juventus through 2025 before he moves to Atalanta on loan or permanently.
Romero, who turned 22 years old back in April, has been with Genoa the last two seasons. Those two seasons, his first in Serie A after coming to Europe from Argentina in 2018, have seen Romero quickly become a regular in Genoa’s starting lineup. And while he racked up yellow cards like they’re going out of style at times, he certainly showed the kind of talent as to why a team like Juventus would be interested in him (and then obviously sign him).
The problem is, though, there’s two large humans who are basically the same age ahead of him in the pecking order. And as much as we don’t know what Giorgio Chiellini can provide to Juve at the age of 36 and Daniele Rugani continues to be on the roster despite the fact that he’s not all that great, Romero is the one central defender that is both available to other clubs and has a significant market value during a summer where the club is cash-strapped.
For Romero personally, there might not be a better club in Italy to continue his development at than Atalanta these days. He will get more minutes than he would if he were to stay with Juventus this season. And, even though he’s going to another new club, he’s still going to get a chance to play in the Champions League.