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Whilst the senior squad has been haphazardly drifting through troubled waters, dealing with the departure of key players, suffering our worst injury crisis for many moons with the new recruits failing to seamlessly fill in the gaps of talent and form, it is perhaps high time we turned our attentions to the youth sector. Hope for brighter skies and the promise of success on the horizon…
Life seems grim presently for south african born, swiss grown Joel Untersee (21) at Fc Vaduz. His side are second to bottom in the upper tier of Switzerland. On a more positive note in terms of our own interests, Joel has featured regularly in his favoured right fullback position for his region of nurture and will hope to progress to the senior Swiss national squad after representing his country at every youth level up to the U21s.
Sitting one place above Vaduz are Lugano, where we find former primavera star Anastanios Donis (7 apps, 1 goal) and Zoran Josipovic (12 apps, 1 goal). Both strikers are finding space on the field and will hope to make in-roads into the first XI as the season matures. yet as is often the case, especially with strikers, when a team is struggling they tend to rely upon experience more often than offering fresh blood a chance…that is, until the situation becomes truly dire.
Our most successful front man presently out on loan is Senegalese powerhouse, Mbaye Diagne. Now 24, the tower of a man has plundered 6 goals from 9 appearances for FC Ujpest of Hungary. His is a strange case as since signing for Juve from Serie D outfit FC Bra, he has moved from France to Belgium to UAE to Belgium and most recently to Hungary. Wherever he has found himself, he has also found the net, yet it seems doubtful he has a future at Juve given his age, and the odd nature of his career journey thus far.
Of a similar age yet of slightly more interest is former Lanciano star, Mama Thiam. Also of Senegalese descent, the pacy winger has proven an excellent signing for Zulte Waregem. Who sit presently well in the mix for glory in 5th place in the Belgian top flight. Big Mame has netted 5 times and has two assists from his 14 outings in the first team.
Moving up a level in quality, we find Dutch attacking midfielder, Ousim Bouy at FC Zwolle. His side are enjoying a fairly decent season, and the 22 year old has made 7 appearances to date. Much was hoped for of Ouasim when signed from the Ajax youth team in 2012, and his early days out on loan at Brescia were very promising, yet disaster struck in a friendly. Suffering an ACL injury similar to the Quagliarella trauma, it took a year to return to fitness, by which time we sent him to struggling Hamburg. Where he failed to find the opportunity to impress Next was a trip to Greece where he managed his european bow with Panathianikos. And this last summer he moved back to his homeland. Still on Mino Raiola’s books, if he does begin to set the field ablaze with wizardry and zeal have no doubt that he will be brought to the attention of the Juve management. Likely over a glass of fine dry vino bianco whilst Mino and Pavel enjoy dinner and talk shop.
Honourable mentions also for Gabriel Appelt (Leganes), Slivka (Den Bosch) and Alhassane Soumah (Videoton) who are all featuring regularly for their clubs across the continent.
Back home in Italy, our colombian U20 starlet Andres Tello has broken into the team at high flying Cagliari (1st). Recently turned 19, Tello has been involved in 5 of the last 6 fixtures, picking up his first professional goal in Serie B during the 4-1 win over Trapani. Deployed as a defensive midfielder, he completed his first full match last weekend with the 0-3 drubbing of Spezia.
Alongside Tello at Cagliari is fellow 19 year old Alberto Cerri. The giant Italy U21 striker has made a string of performances, and will aim to get amongst the goals as he finds his feet in Sardegna.
A swathe of Juventini are involved with Livorno’s effort to gain promotion. Carlo Pinsoglio is first choice between the sticks, Andrea Schiavone and Cristian Pasquato join him as first team regulars and even young striker, Christian Bunino has managed a handful of appearances.
Comparably, we find Vincenzo Fiorillo performing well on the goal line for fellow play-off chasers Pescara, with Pol Garcia (Como), Leonardo Spinazzola (Perugia)and Eric Lanini (Lanciano) all playing prominent roles in the starting XI of their respective clubs.
Beginning in the competition which always excites me though is yet to match my enthusiasm with results… the UEFA Youth league; where we mirror our senior sides champions leagues group and fixtures until the knockout stages, which we have yet to reach since the inception of the competition in the 13/14 campaign.
Smashed in our opening match 4-1 away to Man City, we were unfortunate to then go down 0-1 at home to Seville. Finally, we picked up a victory when beating Monchengladbach at home 2-1. Then succumbed to teutonic revenge, losing 3-2 in the reverse fixture in Germany. Which leaves our situation in the group…far from ideal.
2 games left to play with only 3 points on the board. Seville are in second on 7 points, with Man City leading the charge for qualification in first with 10 points. To make it to the second stage we have to beat City at home then sneak a victory away to Seville in Spain. Neither of which look likely.
Fortunes seem much improved in the league. Which finds us in 3rd spot with 16 points after 8 games played. Fiorentina are top on 20. Plenty of time to cement our place in the end of season knock-out phase.
Finally we come to the coppa italia. After beating Como, Sampdoria and Spezia we will face either Genoa or local rivals Torino in the quarter finals of our side of the draw.
Nicolo Pozzebon leads the scoring charts with 6 strikes from 5 games, with Favalli and Clemenza also enjoying solid seasons in front of goal.
Its tricky to suggest a regular staring line-up for Grosso is the tinker man gone berserk. Loosely I will suggest the following…
Also playing regularly –
Vadala, Udoh, Vitale, Macek.
It still seems a bad move to have a complete novice (Grosso) in such an important role at the club, with zero history of value as a youth coach. Yet if we can progress in the league and coppa italia, perhaps there remains enough to fight for to make this season an improvement on last year’s horrorshow where we failed on all fronts. Miserably.
Overall, our loaned players are finding space and gaining experience whilst our U19s remain in the hunt for glory on two fronts. Its a shame we have fared terribly in Europe and I cannot help but feel that is more down to Grosso than the talent within the squad.
Interesting read. I am interested in following our youth from time to time but it’s hard to follow if you don’t look for it regularly. This certainly helps, keep it up with the interesting articles and since it sounds like you’re new to the site, welcome.
One small note though, it’s PEC Zwolle, not FC Zwolle. They used to be called PEC back in the day like in the 70s/80s i think, then changed it to FC Zwolle, which the fans heavily disagreed with, now a couple of years ago they changed it back to PEC Zwolle. They always have a banner hanging in the stadium saying ”The boys are PEC in town”.
I haven’t really been following the eredivisie much this season yet, i cancelled my eredivisie channel on tv because it became too expensive, so i have to do with sunday evening highlights, which i’ve also not been so determined on. So i can’t add anything to Bouy’s performances this season, i am happy he came back to Holland, this league, as bad as it is, is a good learning league. He’s also in a team that’s been doing very decent since they promoted around 5 years ago, to everyone’s suprise, kind of the dutch Sassuolo, and he also has a fine coach in Ron Jans who can serve as a great mentor for him. I doubt we will see him back at Juve though.
I’ll try to have more info on Bouy’s performances the next time you make an update on the loans and youth.
Strange story with Boakye. I allowed myself to believe he could turn out to be a Ghanian Lukaku. African physicality and brute force combined with powerful running and an eye for goal. Yet he struggled last term, in a faltering Elche side, so had assumed we would move him on or find him a new loan club. However, he was bought outright by Atalanta, who as you mentioned, DJ, loaned him to Roda.
It would be brilliant to learn from closer to the action of Bouy. I haven’t yet given up on him although its obvious that his development was horribly hurt by his ACL injury for Brescia. The fact that Raiola still has him makes me think he still has the potential.
He was a super talent at Ajax. Ajax fans call him the biggest talent of the Ajax academy at the time, in a ”class” with players that are now dominating the Eredivisie. He would probably have gotten there if he had stayed with Ajax, but he chose the money Raiola offered him. His injury really was a carreer ruining one and he hasn’t played at the level he used to, but i think he’s doing decent right now. I saw in a lineup from Zwolle’s last match he played CB, i don’t know whats up with that.
Nice read, and much appreciated. I guess it’s time to face facts that the V. Sakor dream ended before it began. It’s also disappointing to see that Juve in the past year and a half seems to be regressing in the youth sector. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that. I really wish Juve would make the investment in a quality and proven youth coach for the primavera- perhaps we could poach some coaches from Athletic Bilbao- now I know I’m dreaming.
Cheers, Joe…I will try to regain my momentum with the youth focus routine in due course.
Tricky to gauge much this season other than what you yourself suggest. Namely…why the devil do we continue with Grosso? He hardly made waves of success under Zanchetta – who was cut from the role midway through last season – and has not since impressed in the top job since. We are fine in the league and coppa, yet outclassed in Europe, which is a worry when we ponder the future and also WHY? Do Seville and Borussia M have stronger teams or simply better coaching structures in place?
Grosso never seemed a natural born leader on the field. A useful and lucky player, but not a man who others looked to for inspiration and spirit. Zero history of improving youngsters, yet somehow became our head youth manager less than 12 months into his first coaching position. I had hoped that Della Morte would be promoted last Summer, as did many others, as he did brilliantly with the allievi(U17s) last term. Alas, it was Grosso who got the nod and was confirmed for this season.
The Sakor dream has not yet ended for me, Joe! Still only 19. I will give him another year or so then close the book and move onto those coming through our present primavera, some of whom look to have wonderful potential. I just feel they are constrained by the lack of coaching experience around them. Still. If we beat City this evening we could head to spain with a victory possibly dragging us through to the knockout phases! Why not dream eh?
Good to chat again GP! Your youth reports are always appreciated, but never expected. Here’s a question for you: aside from the Grosso issue, could the youth sector be suffering from having too big a squad? I know that the general wisdom is to cast as wide of a net as possible and see who works their way out of the masses. Perhaps, instead we should be more selective, have less players, but let them get more game time, at least at the primavera level. Alternatively, we bring in more younger players i.e. 14-15 year olds, train them for a year or two and then start loaning them out at the primavera level to get the same effect i.e. prim. players getting more game time, but with the added benefit of having more players under our umbrella. Or if we keep Grosso, maybe we should just loan our best products to Atalanta so they can develop them before we take them back (obviously a bad joke and a cheap shot at fabulous Fabio).
Hola Joe, indeed its a fine thing to collide. Cheers for peeking and I hope you stick around!
The primavera squad is 28. We play in the primavera league an coppa, as well as the uefa youth league and usually the viareggio tournament. There are also internationals to contend with. Reducing the squad a little has its merits, which your outlined perfectly.
Problem with loaning out when young is that few decent teams will take them for their first team, they will instead use them for their own primavera, which defeats the point. Our U19s are third and our U17s are 2nd in their respective leagues. Which suggests we are doing well enough domestically.
Youth football is very tricky judge. Those physically stronger – such as Sakor – stick out very quickly and through their physique have an easier time of playing the ball. It is only when they head out to play senior football that we see their true potential, and often not for a fair few years.
I have no major bother with our primavera and loaning set-up, other than we could perhaps find arrangements with a few more clubs around Europe who would take our youngsters; feeder clubs. We could even pay them a small fee. Other than which, its Grosso rather than an experienced developer of youth.
Fair points. I will say the overarching fear I have is that Juve are not looking outward i.e. other clubs outside of italy to evaluate what they do well, and see how we may adopt (fully or partially) some of those measures. Juve has been so progressive in many other areas of the club management, but I just don’t see it as much with the youth set up. With that said, just b/c I don’t see it, does not mean things aren’t happening.