From the mother of necessity comes invention, as the saying goes. For Max Allegri and Juventus, that means giving youth a chance.
Juventus, over the past two decades, have not been a team known for bleeding through youngsters. In fact, The Old Lady has more than lived up to the “old” part of their nickname, signing players in their late twenties to early thirties. Cristiano Ronaldo was 33 when he became the club’s most expensive signing at 100 million euros ($103 million). The previous holder of this crown was Gonzalo Higuain, when Juve signed him from Napoli at 28 years and seven months for 90 million euros ($93 million).
Only Claudio Marchisio managed to establish himself regularly in the first team in the 21st century, a damning indictment of the mentality of Juve. The club’s mantra that “winning isn’t important, it’s the only thing that matters” demands instant results, which usually means not having the patience to develop and nurture young talent. “You produce them and we buy them” is usually Juve’s attitude towards talent.
Yet this season, Allegri had no other alternative but to turn to youth. Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti have been in the spotlight due to the alarming number of injuries Juve have suffered this season. Miretti has played nearly 600 minutes in Serie A this season, alternating between central midfield and attacking midfield.
Fagioli had to be a bit more patient with his opportunities, but he certainly made the most of them. Sound 73rd The minute curler against Lecce in Puglia netted three points for Turin that didn’t seem close to coming before Allegri slotted him in. In the Derby d’Italia he secured all three points, smashing second after being played by Filip Kostic five minutes from time.
Injuries to Angel Di Maria, Paul Pogba and Leandro Paredes forced Allegri’s hand, but both youngsters proved they were up to playing for Italy’s biggest team. In a sense, Allegri had little to lose by giving them playing time over the past few weeks. The club are out of the Champions League and a crack at the Scudetto is also out of the question after three horrific months. The kids could hardly do worse than what the more seasoned pros had already done.
Samuel Iling-Jnr was also given the spotlight by Allegri, first in the last 20 minutes against Benfica in Lisbon and against Lecce, and the England winger played with a refreshing frankness, not to mention the speed, which has cruelly missed this Juve. side for years. He provided an assist for Arkadiusz Milik in Lisbon and was instrumental in Fagioli’s curler in Puglia. Only the 19-year-old’s ankle injury kept him out of the final games. In light of the promises he has shown, Juve are keen to tie him down with a new contract.
With the club posting astronomical financial losses for the 2021-22 season, to the tune of some 254 million euros ($263 million), and in light of their early exit from the Champions League, the overall finances of the Juve are in a terrible state. The days of splashing massive amounts of cash on the likes of Ronaldo and Higuain are over, and even if the club manage to qualify for the Champions League next season, cash will be scarce. Players like Juan Cuadrado, Alex Sandro and Adrien Rabiot are expected to leave the club at the end of the season when their contracts expire, but the saving on their wages will not go towards the club’s transfer budget. The club’s future lies in promoting youngsters like Fagioli, Miretti, Iling-Jnr, Federico Gatti and Matias Soule – another player who has benefited from the injury crisis.
Once Pogba, Paredes and Weston McKennie are all back from injury, Allegri will likely return to the status quo, but Paredes’ future at Juve is uncertain after May, and McKennie could be offloaded if a suitable offer comes along. afterwards. summer.
If ever Juve needed to believe in a youth movement, it’s now. With a core of players that includes Dusan Vlahovic, Federico Chiesa, Manuel Locatelli and Bremer all 25 and under, but already with extensive Serie A experience, players like Fagioli, Miretti, Iling-Jnr, Gatti and Soule can bolster a new hungrier Juventus over the next few years, a Juventus that depends less on buying ready-made superstars with massive salaries and more on potential promises.
The club need to adapt more of a Milan approach, especially with the club’s debt at record highs, than the current, chaotic philosophy. Juve’s kids have shown they are doing well, and the injury crisis may be the best thing to happen to the club in a long time.