Cristian Romero was in a bit of a no man’s land following his year on loan at Genoa.
If he were to stay with Juventus, he would have been a backup and nothing more than that barring any kind of serious injury crunch. But, with Juve possessing plenty of defenders in front of him and there being a need to trim down the squad, there was the underlying fact that Romero provided something that others didn’t — a potential bargaining chip as well as an asset to potentially get some cash during a summer where post-pandemic money is hard to come by.
We’ve gotten our answer.
Juventus announced Saturday that the expected has become the official: Romero has joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal through 2022. Atalanta, as expected, also have an option to make their move for the young Argentine defender a permanent one, with a fixed fee of €16 million being agreed upon to go with the €2 million loan fee and potential €2 million in add-ons over the course of the next two years.
That would make the maximum amount Juventus could get out of this deal at €20 million.
The details of the deal from Juventus’ official website:
Turin, 5 September 2020 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement has been finalized with Atalanta B.C. S.p.A. for a two-season loan, until 30 June 2022, of the registration rights of the player Cristian Romero for a consideration of € 2 million to be paid during current financial year.
The agreed consideration might be increased up to € 2 million upon achievement of certain sportive performance objectives over the two-season period.
The agreement also provides Atalanta B.C. S.p.A. with the option right for the definitive acquisition of the player at a price of € 16 million to be paid in three financial years.
Official | Cristian Romero joins @Atalanta_BC on loan.https://t.co/Hw61UuRtK9 pic.twitter.com/KA6innbUqJ— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 5, 2020
Seeing as Juventus paid Genoa €26 million for Romero all of 14 months ago, that doesn’t exactly sound like the Italian champions were selling high on a player that didn’t completely need at the moment. (That’s not exactly something that will help the club’s debt even if it might look good on the balance sheets and follow Financial Fair Play rules, right?)
Romero, who turned 22 years old in April, spent the last season on loan at Genoa after Juventus swooped in and snapped him up after months of rumors. With Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral ahead of him in the pecking order, it was always going to be a tough task to get playing time right away at Juventus, and that is what Genoa was able to provide him last season. (That was always the plan right away and something we knew was going to happen when Juve did sign him last summer.)
Whether Juve deemed him surplus because they thought he wasn’t ready for the jump up from Genoa to the top club in Serie A or they just weren’t happy with his development, the fact that he will spend at least the next two years with Atalanta in Bergamo could say a lot about where he stood in relation to other young defenders at Juventus.
But like so many other young players that Juve have bought from other Italian clubs in recent years, Romero probably won’t ever wear a Juve jersey even though he signed with the Italian champions. That’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon, unfortunately.