Zauli enjoyed a decent debut season as coach with the Juve u23 side, with the team just squeezing into the top 10 for a respectable mid table finish and qualification for the season end knock-out tournament.
In the first game of the playoffs, we beat 5th placed Pro Patria 1-3 away>>>
Promising midfielder Rannocchia, tricky Portuguese winger Correia and the old bruiser Brighenti getting the goals.
Unfortunately, our dreams of promotion were curtailed by Pro Vercelli who beat us 1-0 to end our season. Still, there are plenty of positives to take, with many players prospering enough to get time in the senior squad. Dragusin, Di Pardo, Frabrotta, Da Graca, Rafia, Fagioli, Wesley and Correira all made their full first team debuts, which must be lauded as a very encouraging sign of both the quality coming through the ranks and the move of the club towards giving them a chance to train and perform with the seniors.
Marley Ake, 20, who only joined late January featured strongly for the U23s, even went on to make his CL debut. Another January move, Abdoulaye Dabo, saw the frenchman feature 18 times thereafter for the U23s, offering probably strong enough indications of his potential to make the loan from Nantes permanent in the Summer.
Corriera (who had a super season), Fagioli and Dragusin are the more well known up and coming youngsters, yet also Di Pardo, a RM/RB who can also play in CM, deserves a mention as looks a fine talent. As does his team-mate in midfield Fillipo Ranocchia, who was a mainstay of the side for most the season.
Both Riccardo Capellini (20) and Filippo Delli Carri (21) featured regularly at the heart of defence. In the least they seem capable at this level, ready to find further challenge in Serie B on loan we must hope.
21 year old Uruguayan keeper, Franco Israel successfully moved into the U23 side, making 20 appearances at senior level in Serie C and also training sometimes with the Juve first team. The burly lad also chipped in with 22 outings for the Primavera.
Superb work to win the league stage on joint points with Inter and Samp. Unfortunely losing out in the first round of the play-offs to Empoli.
Stand out performers>
Fabio Miretti – At just 16 years of age is playing regularly with most around him 2-3 years older. Italy U16 and U17 attacking talent. One with firm promise.
Cosimo Da Graca – The recently turned 19 year old front man plundered 15 goals in 19 games for the U19s, also featured 7 times for the U23 side where he grabbed another goal for his tally and made the bench for 2 of our CL games.
Koni De Winter – Belgian CB, U19. international, regular first XI and often Captain.
Andrea Bonetti, Striker – Impressive and mentioned because at 16 years of age, he was playing with the U19s. Scoring 3, creating 2 from his 15 outings. Also a Italy U17 international.
Félix Nzouango Bikien(18), French U17 CB picked up from Amiens in late 2020 for 1.5m. The lad has featured often in the heart of defence and may well be promoted to the U23 side this Summer for his efforts.
Yet another frenchman, Jean-Claude Ntenda, also progressed smoothly and powerfully. The 400k signing from Nantes (2020) owned the LB berth in the first Xi from the start to the end of the season. Jean Claude will turn 19 this September and another who is under consideration for the U23 side or a loan to a second tier side.Playing 27 games, 5 goals, 3 assists, with players 2-3 years older than you and hugely more physically developed says much of not just how highly we value the kid, but also how determined he is to succed.
England U17 winger, Samuel Illing, owned the LW slot in the primavera, and remains still only 17. Progression into the U23 seems a tough call, as we are blessed with both Coriera and Ake already further down the production line. Though the former should find a loan club to free up some space. Most likely a second season with the U19 beckons.
A quick word on Rannocchia, who is suddenly gaining notice from the flock and perhaps also from Max, as he featured well in our friendly matches to date. No relation to his illustrious namesake, and given some have reported that Fagoli is nicknamed ‘Mr beans’ when he is most certainly not, I should add in that Ranocchia translates to frog. For fucks sake, dont take this to mean his nickname is Mr Frog…
Young Phillip joined the ranks from Perugia in early 2019. Loaned back to the same, he then moved to Juve at the end of the same year. Progressing through rather swiftly to be part of our U23 squad last season. He was a first XI regular for Zauli, making 31 appearances, with 4 goals and 3 assists to his name. Close to always deployed as a deep DM, one half of a double pivot, though also capable of playing more centrally. He has also made his debut for the Italy U20 side recently playing in the 0-1 away victory over the senior San Marino side.
He has often been talked of when any review of our youth sector has been broadcast. Recently, departing captain of our U23 Side, Raffaele Alcibiade, mentioned Ranocchia as one of the most obvious talents in the squad. After featuring 5th in the awards for the greatest prospects at Juve voted upon by 52 experts from around the country all involved with the youth sectors of Italy.
It would please me greatly to see him and Fagioli kept training with the first team squad and given chances, as they continue to develop with the U23s. We may well have some serious talent in the very areas we cannot afford to spend on established quality, so perhaps Max will want to keep a few of them available.
Also I will outline Matias Soule, the 18 year old tricky right winger who has also excelled in the friendlies of late. Who was signed from Velez Sarsfield in early 2020 on a free transfer. The Argentine – a former U16 player for his country, generally operate on the right wing, though has played across the front line. 30 appearances so far for the U19s, with 5 goals and 5 assists. He looks a decent talent, tricky feet, inverted to move the ball on his left to get a shot away whenever possible. I expect he will be progressed to the U23 side.
Youth out on loan
Idrisse Toure, 23, a defensive midfielder of German Guinean heritage has enjoyed a solid season in the dutch top flight at Vitesse. 20 appearances and a goal to his name, should help to raise his value for a solid profit on the 1.3m we paid for his services or to place at another senior club to continue his development.
Cyprus international, Grigoris Kastanos, was a first team regular at Serie B side Frosinone, under the guidance of Fabio Grosso. 34 appearances, 2 goals and 1 assist. At 23, the lad may not be looking at a career at Juve, but looks good for a counterweight in other deals to prove a solid return on the 60k purchase many moons ago.
Flying winger, Luca Zanimacchia (22) returns from his healthy stint in Liga 2 (SPAIN), where he appeared 28 times, scoring twice for a Zaragoza side who finished mid table.
Raiola’s brazillian Wesley, nicknamed many moons ago ‘Gasolina’ we assume for his constant running…headed to Sion on loan in February, played 6 games then tore his abductor muscle. The 21 year old had been thrust straight into the first XI as a RM.
Despite missing much of the season at Cremonese, it seems the club have seen enough of Luca Coccolo to now seek to buy him outright. The 23 year has been at Juve since he was 15.
Curious saga with Marco Olivieri whose 5 goals, 1 assist and 29 appearances played a major role in Empoli’s title winning season. And it looks almost certain he will remain there for next season and likely beyond, as a loan deal has been agreed with an option to buy. Marco knows Empoli very well having spent his entire youth career there before moving to Juve on a permanent move in July 2019 for 1m. It will be interesting to see how he fares as they return to Serie A next season.
Who is 20 year old Albian Hajdari??? Swiss U21 International Rb who we paid 4m for in September of last year. Then loaned back to Basel…8 games for the senior side this season. Who has returned recently to Juve with the second season of the loan terminated. This I suspect means that we have plans for him in Italy…
Sticking with the Swiss connections, as we have long term synergy with Lugano there (and others), as a feeder club of sorts…Yannick Cotter, 19, from Sion (another connected club) who has represented his country at U15, U16, U17, U18…has mangled his ACL…Another who has suffered the same fate, is young Argentine DM Enzo Barrenechea, 20, who had his stint in Switzerland then joined up with the Juve ranks to blossom towards several outings for the U23 side. There has long been something hard to define of his devilish eyes and name, which has drawn me to keep loose vigil over his journey.
A shame to find Danish striker Nikolai Baden sold outright to Dutch side Vitesse. Its a shame because the 21 year old prima punta had excelled on loan to Tirol last season, with 18 goals and 4 assists from his 32 games for the senior side. Not sure on the fee, but hope it included some buy back clause or in the least a sell-on %. Yet truth be told, the lad likely had offers of likely regular first team action and he has the bit between his fangs, wants to build upon his progress which we couldnt offer.
The above certainly serves a purpose, though is regretfully hotchpotch, for sections added, sporadically, and I have found no flow, yet it will do for now.