Not everyone is convinced by Juventus’ proposed decision to re-sign Sebastian Giovinco. Antonio Labbate ponders and answers some of the misgivings.
Is the decision by Juventus to re-sign Sebastian Giovinco, at a cost of around €11m, not a costly financial own goal? Such a consideration is perfectly understandable when you contemplate that Giovinco is, let us not forget, a product of the Juventus youth system. Selling a 50 per cent share in him to the Tardini outfit for €3.75m two years ago to then buy that cut back for €11m could be viewed as questionable. But you can also argue that the Old Lady have now signed a €22m player for a little over €7m. Had Giovinco remained with the Bianconeri, then, considering how cautious the big Italian clubs are with youngsters, he probably would not even be worth in excess of €15m today.
How will Antonio Conte use him at Juventus? His two years at Parma have underlined that he’s a forward and not a trequartista. He can play as an Antonio Di Natale like centre-forward, but he’s more suited to a second striker role. As a result, he could be easily fielded in a 3-5-2 system that may become Conte’s preferred shape in 2012-13 given the proposed acquisition of Mauricio Isla from Udinese. He may also be risked out wide in a 4-3-3, but much will depend on his movement when Juventus are not in possession. He’d also fit a 4-4-2/4-2-4 if Conte wished to revive the system which was once his trademark.
Will he be assured of a starting shirt in Turin? No – Juventus are not Parma. Saying that, Conte has proved that if you work hard enough in training and adapt tactically, as well as make the physical sacrifices, then a chance will be offered. If the Old Lady can have a prolonged campaign in the Champions League then there should be enough opportunities for Giovinco to feature, whether from the start or – as may be more likely – from the bench.
Is he good enough to play for a club such as Juventus? His two seasons at Parma, in a less pressured environment and at a club who could offer him regular football have been of invaluable use to him – and Juventus. Those were the years of his Serie A consecration, a spell where he matured and gained the kind of experience which he was not granted during his previous stint in Turin. He’s proved that he can score and assist in the Italian top flight, while his inclusion in Italy’s Euro 2012 squad should underline his talent. He’s not world class, not the much-hyped top player that Juventus are openly searching for or an Alessandro Del Piero clone, but he’s a very good attacker with the characteristics that La Signora presently don’t have elsewhere in their ranks.
But isn’t he too small to make an impact? His fragile frame is undoubtedly a hindrance, but it does also come with a few advantages. His low centre of gravity, combined with his effective technical ability, will cause opposition defenders problems. The option of using him as a second-half substitute against defensive-minded clubs, who face the Old Lady with the prime intention of not losing, could make him a valuable Bianconero weapon. His record of 22 goals – 15 alone this term – in 66 League games for Parma isn’t shoddy for Italian top-flight standards.
Is there the possibility that he could been signed by Juventus to then be used as a pawn in another transfer deal this summer? Possible yes, but improbable. One should never say never in the transfer market, but director general Beppe Marotta has made it clear that the attacker is wanted by Conte and Giovinco, as well as his agent, would have surely vetoed a return if that was the Old Lady’s real intention.
Will he be the last attacker who Juve sign this summer? If he is, then it won’t be by choice. The Bianconeri have made it very clear that they are hoping to acquire a top class striker after missing out on Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi last year. Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani are the linked names, but much will depend on price. Giovinco’s arrival may actually have a different initial effect – leading to the departure of another striker. It now seems highly dubious that Marco Borriello will be kept on, after his loan from Roma, despite some crucial late goals which helped secure the title. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Alessandro Matri left either – although his exit would be more likely as a result of another addition to the options up front.
Could Giovinco become a Juventus idol? Only time will tell. This is probably Giovinco’s last chance to make the sort of impact that he’s always dreamed about for the club he grew up supporting. How he deals with the pressure and the criticism – which he will undoubtedly receive – will be key, as will how well he starts the campaign. The big advantage this time around is that he’s now arguably ready to play for the club, while he will be part of a well-settled and successful squad which wasn’t the case in his Turin spell between 2008 and 2010.