For around two years, Domenico Berardi was technically a Juventus player. He never actually played for Juventus, but he was one of the lasting memories of the final days of co-ownership of contacts in Italy, with Juve buying half of his contract as a teenager only to sell him outright back to Sassuolo when it became clear he didn’t want to make the big jump to the black and white side of Turin just yet.
That was in 2015. Now nearly a decade later and Juventus very much with an attacking group that is in some sort of transition following the news earlier this week that Paulo Dybala will be leaving at season’s end, there could reportedly be a rekindling of an old flame this summer.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, you can go ahead and add Berardi’s name to the list of players Juventus will try and target this summer as a result of Dybala’s departure. Part of the reason, as you might have imagined or figured out over the last two days, is that Juve very much look to be shifting to a base 4-3-3 system, which would mean a need for wingers once again. And with Federico Chiesa expected back in the late summer or early fall — basically, at some point early in the 2022-23 season — Juventus could very well try to add another one of Roberto Mancini’s top wingers to the fold.
La #Juventus sta costruendo la squadra del prossimo anno sulla base di un 4-3-3. Alla lista dei nomi in quota nazionale azzurra che potrebbe trattare, su indicazione su Massimiliano #Allegri, bisogna aggiungere anche Domenico #Berardi. Ritorno di fiamma. #calciomercato— Giovanni Albanese (@GiovaAlbanese) March 22, 2022
The rap on Berardi for years now is that he’s been perfectly happy to be the biggest fish in Sassuolo’s relatively small pond. And while he’s clearly talented enough to play for any of Italy’s biggest clubs, the fact that he’s remained at Sassuolo for so long has given plenty pause when wondering if he would ever make the big jump in terms of finding a new club and providing himself the biggest challenge in his career outside of what he does whenever he put the Italian national team jersey on.
There’s also this fact to remember: Berardi is still just 27.
I know, I know. It’s hard to believe considering Juventus first bought him on a co-ownership deal with Sassuolo in 2013 when he was a 19-year-old starlet, but it’s true. Berardi won’t be 28 until the just before the 2022-23 Serie A campaign gets underway.
But Juventus at least taking some sort of shot to try and sign Berardi makes sense. There’s the obvious working relationship with Sassuolo that continues to be something that both front offices speak highly of whenever possible. And you get the sense that if Berardi is to make the jump to a bigger club, this summer might be it knowing that he’s been linked with a move away from the Mapei Stadium both last summer and in January.
The price to try and pry Berardi away from Sassuolo is rumored to be around €30 million, something that could end up being a sticking point knowing how his current club stick to their guns when it comes to transfer price tags.
But when it comes to domestic options, there might not be many other options better than Berardi.