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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Merih Demiral joins Atalanta on loan

Another young Juventus defender is heading to Bergamo.

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

For the second consecutive summer, Juventus is sending a young central defender to Atalanta on loan. We await to see the result of it, with the potential of it going a lot like what we’ve seen play out over the last 10 months in Bergamo.

Juventus announced Friday that 23-year-old Turkish defender Merih Demiral has joined Atalanta on loan with an option to buy. There were no financial details included in Juve’s announcement of Demiral’s move to Atalanta, but it has been previously reported that the initial loan deal will cost €3 million with there being an option to buy for €28 million.

In turn, the domino that needed to happen for Demiral’s move to Atalanta go through was also finalized, with fellow 23-year-old Cristian Romero’s €16 million option to buy picked up, Juventus also announced. “This operation generates a negative economic effect of approximately € 4.8 million on the 2020/2021 financial year due to the partial write-down of the net book value of the player’s registration rights,” Juventus’ statement said.

This now means that young defenders that Juventus purchased in the summer of 2019 — Romero for €26 million and Demiral for €18 million — have now been sent out on loan to Atalanta in back-to-back summers. And there is a very real possibility that Atalanta takes up that option to buy come next summer if Demiral has anywhere close to the kind of season during the 2021-22 campaign that Romero had this past year.

Of course, it will be even worse if Atalanta then flips Demiral for the same kind of profit they just got when selling Romero to our old buddy Fabio Paratici and Tottenham. (Hey, at least Romero will now actually get the chance to play for a team that Paratici helps run, so there’s that.)

Demiral’s two seasons with Juventus have been marked by him tempting us with his potential as well as showing just how raw and inconsistent of a defender he still is. That sounds a lot like Romero during his spell at Genoa after Juve purchased his contract, with his one season at Atalanta being the thing that saw him take a huge step forward in his development while Demiral was struggling with his form and injuries last year.

Demiral appeared in 15 games (10 starts) last season. In his two years at Juventus, he won three trophies.