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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Nicolo Rovella moves to Lazio on two-year loan deal

And there you have it.

Juventus Medical Tests Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

When Nicolo Rovella came back from his loan spell at Monza, the thinking was that the young Italian midfielder would be added to a position group that probably needed somebody with his skillset. The hope was that he could make the same kind of impact this coming season as did his (first) namesake did a year ago when Nicolo Fagioli played so well Max Allegri couldn’t afford to bench him.

We will indeed get to see Rovella take the field at the Allianz Stadium this season. But instead of following the above line of thinking, it will be as a visiting player when Juventus opens its September slate of games coming out of the first international break of the 2023-24 season.

Juventus announced Wednesday that Rovella has joined top-four rival Lazio on a two-year loan deal — with no loan fee, no less — with an obligation to buy come the summer of 2025. Said option to buy is worth €17 million, which Lazio would pay over the course of the next three years if they were to take it up — something that, if Rovella plays anywhere close to well under Maurizio Sarri, you have to believe is going to be something that happens with the specific sporting objectives he needs to hit. Rovella moving to Lazio is the first half of what is expected to be two Juve players heading to the Italian capital on loan, with fullback Luca Pellegrini set to sign with the Biancocelesti in the coming days.

The official wording of the deal, courtesy of the Juventus press office:

Torino, 16 August 2023 – Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement has been reached with Società Sportiva Lazio S.p.A. for the temporary free disposal, until 30 June 2025, of the registration rights of the player Nicolò Rovella.

The agreement entails the obligation for Lazio to definitely acquire the player’s registrations rights, subject to the achievement of certain given sporting objectives, during seasons 2023/2024 and 2024/2025.

The agreed consideration for the definitive acquisition is € 17 million, payable in three years.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this deal — which was already not exactly popular by any means — is not going to be one that is looked fondly upon knowing now that Juve will receive no loan fee and then won’t receive any sort of transfer fee until the summer of 2025. (Because you damn well know Lazio are going to take full advantage of not having to pay any sort of fee and ride that free loan for as long as they possibly can, folks.)

The original reporting had Rovella’s move to Lazio being a season-long loan with it being either an option to buy or obligation to buy depending on who was reporting about it. Either way, the main thing was that Juve were going to get another influx of cash hopefully before the 2023-24 fiscal year came to an end on the final day of June and the current financial situation would be that much closer to being a little less pressurized. But a two-year loan deal? That is what we kept hearing was going to happen with Pellegrini, not Rovella.

Yet, here we are.

Juventus parting ways with Rovella is a sign of the times in Turin. One of the big fish on the roster — Dusan Vlahovic, Federico Chiesa, Bremer — hasn’t yet been sold this summer and look to be staying in Turin this season, so new sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has had to make decisions that he probably didn’t want to when he first got hired. Rovella is a talented player who will likely suit Sarri’s system incredibly well, but he’s also still very much a developing player because of his age and we simply don’t know if he will reach said potential that many believe he has. So, because the big fish have stayed, smaller fish have to go — and unfortunately Rovella was deemed to be an expendable asset on a roster that still needs help in the midfield.