Juventus management are hoping to finalize a deal to bolster the current squad before the January transfer market closes on February 1st.
The January Transfer Market
Following an embarrassment of a performance by the current, non COVID-19 positive, members of the squad against hated arch-rival Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia on Sunday; growing deficiencies were on full display for even the least observant football eye. The breastplate of the golden Juventus armor was patched together with an aluminum solder during the 2019/20 season and has since been replaced with Play-Doh holding together a giant fissure over the heart. The slightest of inconveniences jostle the remaining parts out of position and leave the Juventus team body open for a killshot. After sealing the penultimate ninth consecutive scudetti since 2011, the goal of reaching that cherished double digit tenth in a row seems to be pulled slightly farther out of reach.
Which is why it came as no surprise that Juventus management had arranged a meeting with Sassuolo officials scheduled for this Wednesday according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Juventus have long been rumored to be interested in the acquisition of a high profile Neroverdi player and it appears the club seems to be, at last, taking the steps to make said transaction come to fruition.
And it could not have come sooner. As any aware Bianconeri could tell you, this team is in desperate need of a new midfi---
Andrea Pirlo: 🗣 “STRIKER!”
Huh? That was odd… Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, where Juventus is really struggling right now is in the midf-
Fabio Paratici: 🗣 “ATTACK!”
What? That makes no sense. The Juve striker pool already consists of Argentinian Paulo Dybala, the (re)newly added Spaniard Alvaro Morata, and potentially the greatest footballer of all time in the Portugese star, Cristiano Ronaldo. That is not even including others that have previous experience playing the position like Federico Chiesa, Dejan Kulusevski, and, do not laugh, Federico Bernardeschi. Seriously, I said not to laugh.
That is why this Juventus’ team room that is in the most desperate need of expanding (to be honest replacing) is the midfi--
Federico Cherubini: 🗣 “FORWARDS!”
Oh, what the hell… Sure. Forget that Juventus’ midfield has been, and continues to be, the biggest problem on the field. Forget that Juventus’ talented, and even legendary in Ronaldo’s case, strikers are struggling as of late, less due to their own faults in play (Do not get me wrong, they have made plenty of mistakes on the field, just check my ratings.), but because of the failure by the midfield to create opportunities for the forwards to score. Forget that Sassuolo is in possession of quite possibly the perfect fit for an understudy in deep-lying playmaker Manuel Locatelli, who idolizes and attempts to emulate Il Maestro’s playing style. Forget also that Paul Pogba, Houssem Aouar, and Rodrigo De Paul are out there and open to potential moves. What Juve needs is another striker.
Juve’s insistence on bringing in an additional striker does beg the question as to why. Does the management have that little faith in Dejan Kulusevski to play the position? Have opinions changed on the loan to purchase of Alvaro Morata since the beginning of the season and the Spaniard’s output dipped? Or does the club really only need to solidify a fourth striker option? Only time will tell.
So who does the Juventus management sign during this transfer window?
Options Moving ‘Forward’
As it stands the word is that Andrea Pirlo’s first choice for an addition to the forward room would be Chelsea and French forward Olivier Giroud. But it appears that Chelsea and Giroud do not plan on going their separate ways until the season ends this summer. Giroud is also thirty-four years old, and unless you are Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it is probably not the best idea to invest millions of euros and years into an aging player. Next.
Fabio Quagliarella said thanks, but no thanks.
Okay, let’s get this over with. Arkadiusz Milik. The twenty-six-year-old Polish striker has long been rumored to be a target for the Juventus front office. In the interest of transparency, this writer has not been an advocate for the addition of the forward to Juventus. A nearly twenty-seven-year-old, injury prone striker only reads as only a productive play for those working at J Medical than on the field of play. Fortunately, recent days have seemed to resolve this situation for Juventus. Outlets have begun heating up with an emerging deal between Napoli and Ligue 1 side Marseille for a loan and option to purchase the striker for the French club. A deal potentially with an added clause barring a return sale to any other Serie A club because Aurelio De Laurentiis is a petulant manchild. Moving on.
Enough with the expository preamble. We all know why you are really here. Hell, his name is in the title of the article and I expect my editor even threw in a well-designed graphic of Italian Adam Levine himself. It has been floated out there for the last month or so, but the rumor mill has heated up to a steady boil in the last 48 hours with one name: Gianluca Scamacca. Romeo Agresti has confirmed interest in the player.
The Scamacca Attack-a
Gianluca Scamacca is a twenty-two-year-old Italian striker born in Rome and a product of the Roma academy youth development program. The Italian questionably joined and experienced an unsuccessful tenure with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven at the age of sixteen in 2015, thus leading to his return to his home country signing with Sassulo’s U19 team in 2017. Scamacca was sent out on loan out for three consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020, spending time with Serie B side Cremonese, Eredivise side PEC Zwolle, and eventually Serie B side Ascoli where the striker saw regular game minutes, making 35 appearances and scoring 13 goals in Serie B and Coppa Italia play. Genoa picked up the striker on loan from Sassuolo for the 2020/21 season.
Scamacca’s most outstanding characteristic, and one that is sure to endear the player to Pirlo, is his pure size for a forward. The Roman native is big, standing 6’4” (1.96m) tall and is a remarkable force on the pitch. Fairly similar to another Giallorossi that Il Maestro had set his sights on in the last summer (fall) transfer market, Edin Dzeko. Comparisons for the peak potential Scamacca has at his position (and feel free to critique these assuredly outlandish examples) are the aforementioned Dzeko and current AC Milan star Zlatan Imbrahimovic, as the striker utilizes a similar rare combination of imposing size and appreciable technical skill.
Scamacca’s style of play consists of playing the ball off of the ground, playing long balls, taking long distance shots, flick ons, tackling, and acting as an indirect set-piece threat. Scamacca’s strengths include dominating aerial duels due to his sheer size, working in through balls, and key passes while contributing on defense. Though the area of concern and development for the Italian youth remains in his passing, only completing 68% of his passes in play to date.
Since joining Il Grifone on October 2nd of 2020, Scamacca has seen an exponential rise in output with the Serie A side. From October 19th to November 26th, the Italian scored six goals, an assist, and was named Man of the Match for two of those. In the matches since the end of November the striker has seen a dip in production and has yet to score another goal. Though it is important to note that in four of the club’s last nine matches Scamacca played less than thirty minutes in each.
Scamacca has also produced on the international stage. The Italian has led the team in scoring with seven goals and two assists in twelve appearances since joining the Italy U21 squad in 2018. Scamacca has the potential to grow into an empowering force for the Azzurri attack and if you have read any of my pieces in the past you know how much this writer values an Azzurri tradition in the Juventus record books.
Fino Alla Fine: The Bottomline
The Italian youth has the size and potential to give the Juventus attack a different look and feel than that of the makeup Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata contribute. One that more closely resembles the architecture Andrea Pirlo has discussed wanting to implement with the attempted addition of past targets similar to Edin Dzeko. Given the current status of injuries and unpredictability of how COVID-19 could decimate the front attack, Scamacca could be a beneficial option as a fourth striker and development project as a future Italian star.
It would be preferable that most funds be allocated to an area of profound need like the current jerrybuilt midfield, but if the Juventus management understands the situation to be unattainable in the current market window, so be it. The final and most important factor is what kind of deal can be agreed upon and completed with Sassuolo at this time. Almost all reports agree that the offer will be a loan with an obligation to buy at some point in the next six to eighteen months, but the amounts range from €15 million to as much as €25 million. Juventus would just need to find an arrangement that would not equate to chaining further dead weight to the budget were performance to not pan out given the uncertainty of the young man’s future. A young Italian player that would continue the latest re'Juve'nation trend for the club; bringing in Gianluca Scamacca would be a medium to low risk for a potentially high reward.
Follow Justin Soforo on Twitter @JustinSoforo