Ciro Immobile couldn’t conceal his delight after signing for Borussia Dortmund on Monday. The Serie A Capocannoniere had finally landed his big move after spending four years of his career out on numerous deals to Italy’s provinces.
The 24-year-old made his mark in that period but to no avail in earning a season starring for boyhood club Juventus. Try as he might, the striker wasn’t able to find his way back to where he had become Viareggio champion twice, as if stuck in a permanent time loop of being sent away to prove himself.
“Antonio Conte knows Immobile well. He watched him grow up in the youth academy and maybe he isn’t suited to his style of play. At Dortmund he will have the guarantee of being a starter and showing all of his qualities,” his agent explained. There was no entitlement in those words, but the simple admission that waiting to become relevant for Juventus would have amounted to a dead end. Like the tremendous poacher the new Italy international had become, he saw his chance in an European side’s interest and took it.
It is a reminder to the Old Lady that the compromise of parking her top young talent in various deals around the peninsula will not keep them satisfied forever. While such arrangements see the players develop in leaps and bounds, fashioning a career in the lower rungs as their youthful exuberance becomes spent is not a future they envision for themselves. The call of a foreign team can mean the only opportunity to break the rut.
The decisions Juventus face over a myriad of co-owned players this summer may already be made easier though. Players like Manolo Gabbiadini and Domenico Berardi have proven over the last pair of campaigns away from Vinovo that they just might have something extra to add to Conte’s squad. The former could easily alternate with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente upfront. And the latter is a wing wizard of great impact and flair - surely fulfilling a need in the Bianconeri’s arsenal.
It will certainly be no mean feat improving the three-time Italian champions, but it can prove a positive challenge for these rising stars. With Richmond Boakye and Simone Zaza also indicating their desire to form part of Juve’s pre-season plans recently, there is increasing hope we will soon see some from the club’s stables dine at top table. Having a chance to work in tandem with those responsible for three consecutive Scudetti, as well as this summer’s list of touted imports, could pay dividends for those ready to make the next step in their futures.
In a period when funds must be allocated carefully, propelling certain ‘predestinati’ into the first team means maximum reward for minimum risk for the Turin outfit. Keeping their special cohort of talent in sight of the Bianconero colours ensures a fledgling player’s mix of age, ambition and actual capabilities present always stays balanced. And with more than a possibility one of them emulates youth icon Paul Pogba, Juventus will be there to reap the benefits all the way.