Now and then I come across a transfer fee in the youth ranks which instantly makes me raise an eyebrow. Then delve to take a deeper peek at why we have invested far more than a 50k punt on a hoped for gem in the rough.
The most recent of which is Giacomo Vrioni. Who in August of last year became the first player to feature in Serie C, Serie B and Serie A all in one season. On loan from Samp at Cittadella, the striker was then signed by Juve in January 2020 for 4m, featuring in our U23 side before making his first team debut in the top flight in the Summer.
What caused the club to send 4m in gold to this scruffy old chap in Liguria?
Giocomo’s record in Serie B was hardly of much note in his brief stint at Cittadella, where he managed 1 assist from 5 appearances. Combined with his other loan spell at Venezia in the second tier brings his record as –
1 goal, 3 assists from 28 appearances
Which seems appalling for any striker and yet perhaps there is much more to his game than goals. There must be.
His record in Serie C is somewhat improved-
9 goals, 5 assist from 33 appearances
With his primavera stats similar-
16 goals, 6 assists from 47 appearances.
On paper at least, Vrioni appears a player whose best level may well be Serie C.
Unfortunately the now 22 year old prima punta suffered a fractured fibula last November during training. And is only now working his way back to fitness, rejoining the U23 squad of late with the aim of getting some games in before the end of the season.
Whilst italian born and representing Italy at U17 and U19 levels, Vrioni opted to then switch his allegiance in 2018 to the colours of Albania. For whom he has gone onto break into the senior side.
Standing 6ft3, very left footed, showing decent pace, intelligent movement off the ball, the lad seems to have decent awareness and the ability to connect well with team mates. Clearly he is a player of good technique both on and off the ball. Reminds me just a little of Christian Vieri.
His eye for goal is there, despite the lowly stats, and let’s hope he can continue to develop with the U23 side or out on loan at a club where he can get regular playing time.