We were expecting some changes on the flanks at Juventus this offseason. One of the first moves in that regard seems to be moving toward completion.
Multiple reports from the likes of Gianluca Di Marzio and Nicolo Schira claim that left back Gianluca Frabotta will be headed for the exit ramp in the coming days. His destination will be Genoa, a place that Juve has farmed out a whole lot of their fringe players and/or prospects in recent years. At several points this year no fewer than four Juventus loanees were on the field for Genoa playing against their parent club.
According to the sources, Frabotta would be going to the Marassi on a loan with an option to buy, although Juve will also hold a buyback clause. None of the reports indicate what the financial numbers would be on those clauses.
Frabotta broke into the first team in the last game of the 2019-20 season, when Maurizio Sarri gave him a start for his senior debut. When Alex Sandro was hurt in training just before the 2020-21 opener, Andrea Pirlo started him against Sampdoria and he played quite well. He was pushed to the margins when Sandro returned, but returned to the starting lineup when the team suffered a depth crunch after a COVID outbreak. His second foray into the starting XI started off well enough, but after being absolutely torched by Achraf Hakimi in Juve’s 2-0 loss to Inter he fell out of favor. He only started twice more—once against Serie B side SPAL in the Coppa Italia, when he scored his first senior-level goal—and didn’t play at all after March 14.
Frabotta, who turns 24 on Thursday, has shown some flashes of being a good player, but needs some more consistent playing time to wrap it all together, and that’s what this move could do for him. As for where that leaves Juve on the flanks, it’s hard to say. Sandro is likely still the starter moving forward, but what’s behind him is less certain. Unless new sporting director Federico Cherubini has an acquisition up his sleeve, the smart money is on the team finally deciding to keep Luca Pellegrini—one of those players who was loaned out to the Grifone last year—and actually see what they have in him, considering they swapped him for Leonardo Spinazzola, who has since developed into one of the best left-backs in Serie A and the ironclad starter on the Italian national team.
If there is an outside option, the name of Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri, who has been linked with Juve numerous times in the past, could become an option again. It’s also possible Juve inquire about Roma’s 19-year-old starlet Riccardo Calafiori, although a move like that is likely a couple of years down the line, provided Calafiori continues to develop.
Of course, if Frabotta develops over this year, he could yet become a contributor in the future. Time will tell.