Features, Player Features

Ciro Immobile alla Juve ? – Can the Striker make it at Juve ?

February 21, 2014 - 12:55 am

Ciro Immobile is on a tear this year: 13 goals in 21 matches, without any penalty kicks, and three assists in 21 matches. He has been a consistent, terrific scorer. In the summer, Torino bought half of his rights from Genoa for €2.7M, entering a co-ownership with Juventus. There were whispers about an outright purchase, with the second half included in the Ogbonna deal, but Juventus in the end maintained their half. This means that they will have a role in deciding the future of the player this summer.

Immobile wore the Juventus shirt in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, coming out of the youth system, collecting five appearances and scoring no goals. After a season spent in Serie B between Siena and Grosseto (22 games, three goals), he was loaned to Pescara. He thrived with Zeman’s offensive-minded tactics, scoring 28 goals in 37 games. The following summer, Juventus sold his half to Genoa for €4M, but that season, started with high hopes, wasn’t successful: five goals in 34 matches.

Torino gambled this summer and won. There are some similarities between Zeman’s Pescara and Torino’s Ventura but we have to consider that Pescara was a top Serie B team while Torino started the season with the goal of avoiding relegation. Anyway, two sides that play quickly, relying on the counterattacking game and exploiting the one on one in open spaces. Although, the volume of chances created per game can’t even be compared: Immobile at Pescara had around four to five clear-cut chances to score per game, on a good day he scored three, on a bad day one.

He learned last year that in Serie A you have to finalize every chance you have and he’s doing just that. He averages 0.72 goals per game, shooting 2.7 times per game. He shot a total of 56 times this year and this means that he’s scoring a goal every 4 .3 shots he makes. Simply deadly. Watching Torino, you immediately notice how much he bothers the defenses, constantly working on the defensive line (2nd in the League in the offside stats behind Di Natale, with 1.4 per game), making multiple runs towards the goal, and, when he beats the offside trap he’s just a clever and creative finisher.

A player that is cut for Ventura’s schemes, but would his playing style work well under Conte?

immobile2First of all, we need to address the fact that he has already been coached by Conte, in 2010 at Siena and he failed to become a regular starter. He played only four times in Serie B and twice in Coppa Italia, scoring six goals, before being shipped to Grosseto. However, it was a very raw Immobile (and also a very inexperienced Conte) and things would probably work differently if they met again.

At Juventus, strikers have to work a lot to create chances, for them and for the others. In that sense, the team have found two excellent strikers in Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. Juventus rarely rely on the counterattacking game. The simple reason is that other teams usually sit back to crowd the room and prevent them from creating easy chances.

These two facts don’t go combine well with Immobile’s characteristics. Moreover, he isn’t a good passer: he averages an abysmal amount of passes per game (17.8), with a 72.7% pass accuracy, he has only 2 assists and averages 0.7 key passes (usually on the counter) per game. He’s not good with his back to the goal either, as he’s pretty skinny, nor in the areal duels, having lost the 83% of those.

Technically and tactically, he isn’t Conte’s ideal striker. But other factors must be considered to evaluate the likelihood of his transfer to Juventus this summer.

I assume that Tevez and Llorente will be Juventus players next year. Behind them, it’s wide open. Vucinic was on his way out in January and has been continuously injured, Giovinco has been openly contested by the fans, Quagliarella is out of the EL list. There are good reasons to think that all three will leave La Vecchia Signora this summer. There have been rumours about Conte and the management considering a total revamp of the attack this summer, bringing in new and hungrier players. Only his performances will say if Osvaldo will be worthy of a roster spot next season, certainly the €19 million option to buy seems a little high.

Will Juve be willing to make a big splash for another striker?

Probably not. At least one of the young strikers already owned by the club will make the team. In my opinion, Gabbiadini is almost a lock: even though he will never be a forward that score 20-25 goals per season, he has the skills required by Conte.

There are still two or three spots open in Juventus future attack. I don’t think that Zaza (five goals in 20 matches), Boakye (three in 19), Beltrame (0 in 17) and Diagne (four in 2) are in the conversation: it’s definitely a battle between Berardi and Immobile.

There is no doubt that Domenico Berardi’s future will be at Juventus: it’s a matter of when, not if. He’s very young, therefore Juventus might decide to let him play one more season in another team. Immobile is 24, not super young.

immobile3He’s basically in that part of his career where it will be decided whether he’s a big club striker or a provinciale striker. His abilities might be an alternative weapon to complete the skill set of Juventus attack. He would also be able to pair with both Llorente and Tevez.

This summer, Torino proved to be very determined when it comes to co-ownerships and getting what they want. They tricked Fiorentina into accepting a €3,8M offer for the half of Cerci. From Torino, they already expressed their desire to keep Immobile with pugnacious statements. They’ll put up a fight, that’s for sure.

So, in the end, what are the odds of seeing Immobile in a Juventus shirt next season?

I’d say 25%.

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  • Avatar
    JuventusVidal February 21, 2014 at 1:37 am

    we really should bring immobile back next season. he provides something different to the rest of our forwards. i’d love to bring berardi back but im not sure if he’s ready to play for juve next season.

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    adp1974 February 21, 2014 at 1:53 am

    no point in bringing him here, he’ll just ride the bench and they’ll ruin him like they did to so many youngsters that have come thru here.

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      Papilaya(John)™★★★ February 21, 2014 at 4:21 am

      even tho people may perceive his comment as derogatory, how wrong is he? we all know how difficult it is for strikers to get used to Contes tactics(which is why Conte asks SPECIFICALLY for certain strikers).

      i personally want Immobile back and feel he could do very well, but only if Conte believes in him 100% and gives him a fair chance and Ciro seems like a very well composed player, so hopefully he doesnt get overwhelmed with how much Conte will ask of him.

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      JuventusBuffon February 21, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Wow, for once I actually agree with you lol.

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    Papilaya(John)™★★★ February 21, 2014 at 8:46 am

    so im watching chelsea lately(bear with me here) and shes talking about Lamar Odom(a basketball player whom is recently struggling with drug problems) going abroad to play basketball in spain…

    now you guys may be saying “wtf does have to do with anything!!?”, but she brings up what the team Lamar is joining says about his drug use and they say “as long as he does well and acts professionally, we are unconcerned about his drug use.

    idk if light bulbs are going on in your heads right now, but if a basketball team from spain dont care about drug use(and were talking about cocaine here), how do you think a spanish footballing team would react to drug use? do you guys know where im going with this?

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      BelgianJuventino February 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Eh, a wild guess, you are referring to Messi 😛

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        Papilaya(John)™★★★ February 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

        im just saying :p

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      JosephVitale February 21, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      i see what your saying and that raises my suspicion lol.

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      DutchJuve February 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Why would Messi take drugs?

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    BelgianJuventino February 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I can’t make up my mind about Immobile. If the circumstances are in his favour, he’s a really good striker. But if they aren’t, he’s just average. It would be a good idea to have him, so we can go for strategic changes for/during special games. On the other hand, our standard formation doesn’t fit him, so will he play much? Will he be at least as good as Tevez/Llorente?

    I don’t know so I’m just going to put faith in the management. If we don’t go for Immobile, we should get a good price for him at least. Which could lead to a striker who could make a bigger impact.

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      tpick February 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      He would be a better choice in cup games or against lower level teams in CL, than Vucinic or Osvaldo. I can see him being a super sub for a couple seasons and scoring 10 goals a season.

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        Papilaya(John)™★★★ February 22, 2014 at 3:56 am

        giving him a super sub role sounds like a great idea.

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      Marc Dominic Zaroli February 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Torino play a 3-5-2.. How can our formation not suit him?

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    Peter February 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t even know how he plays, or what his style is, but I don’t want him. I want someone who already proved that he can play on a world class level. I want assurance from the leadership that we are in fact trying to move forward, achieve something in Europe. Spending 40 millions a season for promising players’ half contract in Serie A, and then missing out on a big name with 4-5 millions is bullshit.

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      JuventusVidal February 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Yea but thats not gonna happen…

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      Marc Dominic Zaroli February 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Sometimes the risks pay dividends though, look at Vidal.. Pogba.. Chiellini.. They were hardly proven at a world class level but look at them now, look at city and all the money they spend on these ‘proven’ players. It’s stupid to play that way, it’s better to get players who can fit in and who can do they job and immobile may be able to do that better than any £40mil striker could.

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        Peter February 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

        True, but it seems we already have a decent team, we just need to fill gaps now. I’d rather have another experienced striker (for example Mandzukic) to give competition / support for Tevez and Llorente. I want to see that it is completely irrelevant which two of our 4-5 strikers play, we still do well.

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    tpick February 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm


    Looks like we could pick up Menez for free this summer. Knowing Marotta, this seems likely.

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    Anthony Cooper February 21, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    The difference from Pescara to Genoa to Torino, in addition to what Enrico said above is who he played with. At Pescara he was next to Insigne, who was oustanding in the Serie B. At Genoa he was surrounded by under performers and a merry-go-round coaching staff, and now at Torino he’s playing alongside Cerci.

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    Oky_IP May 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I like him a lot, especially at Pescara. He is great, but for Dortmund. While Tevez beat defenders by his technique and Llorente by his aerial superiority, Osvaldo predatory did less for Juventus so far. For me Osvaldo, Matri, Quag, and Immobile are “zonal” striker, I think they’re not suited with current Conte’s tactics. To put it simple, Llorente and Tevez can scored under the crowd with their “gifts” while zonal striker need a lot of space to be exploited to score goals. So, I prefer Cerci, Alexis Sanchez even better.