It is an open secret Ciro Immobile and Carlos Tevez do not see eye to eye. But after ankle-snapping tackles and perceived allegations of ‘killer’ being traded in eventful circumstances, their differences have recently found more constructive outlets befitting of their talents. On Saturday, Immobile registered his first career hat-trick to surpass his counterpart in the Capocannoniere charts. A day later, Tevez would strike the winner against Catania to come alongside on 16 goals apiece.
In the midst of this absorbing contest, it has rarely escaped the attention of onlookers that both the Serie A top scorers reside on Juventus’ books. A return for Immobile to his boyhood club to link up with Tevez is keenly speculated. If the prolific duo could be convinced to set aside their tensions and allocate their collective skills to a united cause, what type of striking partnership might that give rise to in the black and white half of Turin? A formidable one, conventional wisdom instructs.
A two-time Viareggio tournament champion during his spell with the Juventus Primavera, Immobile checks many of the Italian champions’ requirements from the start. Young and a full international for Italy, the striker’s sensational exploits for city rivals Torino have thrust his name into Cesare Prandelli’s reckoning ahead of the World Cup. To have a club youth reproducing that kind of form for the senior Juventus team at some stage is certainly not without its appeal.
Yet the homecoming of what can appear a kindred spirit, a prodigal son, has been far from straightforward in recent years. Sebastian Giovinco can attest that a very messy situation awaits if often-lofty expectations are not met. La Formica Atomica had enjoyed two breakthrough seasons at Parma building his name outside of Juventus. A handsome sum was released so the former golden boy could rejoin with his former colleagues, the new Serie A champions. In the following months though, Giovinco has deceived spectacularly owing to the transfer dues and early hype about the move.
Despite seeing his profile grow and his stock rise unabated at Torino, and Pescara before that, Immobile still remains somewhat of an unknown quantity at the top like Giovinco was. Analysis of whether he can deliver from his stints in the provinces is inconclusive. Preceding the 24-year-old’s double figures with the Granata came unproductive spells at Siena and Genoa, after all. And with Giovinco’s pair of impressive campaigns at Parma already an insufficient gauge, concern about Immobile ultimately not proving to be the finished article the Juventus faithful demand should set off alarm bells.
Would Immobile have the stomach to assert himself in a team where he fails to stand out in quality from the rest, and where he will not be a definite starter? Can the youngster operate to the standards of consistency required at Juventus, without suffering the burnout typical of those at his tender age? Questions best not answered the hard way. The future presence of Fernando Llorente and possibly, Dani Osvaldo, ahead in the pecking order would appear to settle the argument.
Instead, the freshly-frocked Italy international needs more opportunities to make mistakes away from the spotlight, because that will invariably make him a better player. A decision on his immediate future should not centre around beginning a medal collection, but rather, concern preparing himself for when his big break arrives. Staying on at the Stadio Olimpico for another season presents the best option therefore, where Immobile can discover whether he is up to the task of reprising the scoring burdens of Giampiero Ventura’s side. The outfit are most definitely not in a rush to kick him back to Vinovo, in any case.
“Ventura was convinced he could do well here and I have a proposal for Juve - they should leave him with Toro for another year. It is a choice that will suit the lad, because he’s happy with us, and it suits Juventus because another season like this will send his price-tag through the roof,” Torino head Umberto Cairo mentioned. “For Immobile another year here can only do his development good,” director Gianluca Petrachi echoed, just before the forward would underline the wisdom in those words with that hat-trick past Livorno.
That Immobile is not Juventus material yet should not be viewed as a denigrative slur aimed in his direction, nor detract from his feats at Torino. Simply, the club of his youth can wait, for his days are spent more productively elsewhere, with their noisy neighbours. Now, the starlet must just focus on the ending the season on a high by besting his club and personal rival Tevez in the scoring charts to secure another milestone, in a season already full of them.