A few days back, Cristian Pasquato’s stunning goal against Club America handed Juventus a 1-0 win in a pre-season match. His performances in USA have resulted in an eager sense of expectation and anticipation among Juventini worldwide.
Cristian Pasquato joined Juventus Academy as a 15 year old in 2003. His explosive talent was noticeable even at a young age as he steadily cemented his placed in Juventus U-15 team, and even got selected to the same age group of national team. Pasquato played an important part in Juventus Allievi (U-17) team’s first ever Scudetto win in 2005-06 season. One of the biggest moments of his career came in 2008 when he scored against AC Milan in Trofeo Berlusconi. He also scored six goals in the traditional season curtain-raiser: Juventus A versus Juventus B. Claudio Ranieri, who was the Juventus coach that time, had this to say about Pasquato – “Pasquato proved that he is a step above the others his age and would just be wasted by spending another year in the youth team“.
He was loaned out to the Serie B club Empoli that season, with hopes that he would replicate Sebastien Giovinco’s exploits in the Naples club. His first season in Empoli wasn’t encouraging but his loan period was extended nonetheless. In his second season Pasquato impressed, scoring twice in 12 matches. After another solid but unspectacular loan spell at Triestina, Pasquato was loaned to Serie B outfit Modena at the start of 2010/11 season.
It was in Modena that Pasquato would have his best senior season till date. He made a sensational debut for the Canarini as he came off the bench to score a long-range free-kick winner against Piacenza. His rich vein of form continued as he scored in next two matches against Ascoli and Crotone. Things got even better against his former club Triestina when he scored a brace as Modena carved out a 2-2 sway draw. His initial form ensured that he got regular games for Modena as he ended the season with a 27 starts in Serie B. Pasquato was one of the standout performers in an otherwise ordinary team, scoring 9 goals and assisting 7 more. His performance for Modena, coupled by his pre-season form, has opened the possibility of Pasquato donning Juve’s famous black and white (or now infamous pink) jersey for next season. Let us take a look at the arguments about Cristian Pasquato joining Juventus for the 2010/11 season.
Why Pasquato should be kept at Juventus
Juventus is still in the process of building a squad to suit Antonio Conte’s tactical needs, but it is quite clear that the Old Lady needs a knight on the left flank. Irrespective of Conte fielding a 4-2-4 or a 4-3-3 formation, Juventus do not possess enough attacking options on the left side. The players who have been used till now don’t have the effectiveness of Lichtsteiner-Krasic pairing on the opposite flank. Claudio Marchisio, despite his admirable tactical awareness, is a natural central midfielder and he doesn’t add enough width, while playing as a winger. Simone Pepe has the work rate of a hamster on wheel; sadly, the same example can be used with respect to his creativity. Sebastien Giovinco could have been a perfect fit as an advanced left winger but he is less likely to return to Juventus.
It will be too much to ask from Pasquato to deliver as a first choice left-winger but he can prove to be a competent substitute. There are talks about Juventus selling the underperforming Jorge Martinez, which will leave the club short on proper wingers. If Martinez is indeed sold then Pepe can act as a backup to Milos Krasic while Pasquato can act as a backup to the new left winger (if bought).
Pasquato can also double up as a support-striker when the need arises. Current Juventus squad has only two support strikers in Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Del Piero. Pinturiccio is in the last season of his career, in all possibility, and Quagliarella has been known to be an inconsistent striker. Moreover, it remains to be seen if the ex-Napoli striker will be able to match his splendid form of 2010 after enduring a season ending injury in early 2011.
Pasquato has shown that he possesses a quality which has made creative players in Italian football unique – fantasia. He has a considerable amount of talent and imagination which needs to be groomed properly. He has the ability to score brilliant goals from unlikely positions – as his most recent goal against Club America showed. Pasquato is also a free-kick specialist; just the type of player Juventus lack right now. Other than Del Piero and Pirlo, Juventus don’t possess a single good free kick taker and since both of these players are no longer fit to start in every game, the team will face problems in the set-pieces department. Pasquato’s set piece delivery may prove to be invaluable in such cases.
Why it’s better to play the waiting game
Let’s face it, in all fairness Pasquato has had one really good season at senior level so far. It may not be prudent to alleviate him to the first team just now. Failure to adapt to the senior team can wreak havoc on his budding career. In this case, it will be a good option to loan him out to a lower table Serie A club, which can guarantee a starting slot for him. It is important that Pasquato gets enough game time to prepare himself, both physically and mentally, for the grueling world of calcio. Pasquato is still prone to moments of vanity as he lacks maturity in top level and he is yet to develop completely as a player, so it might be better to have him iron out his flaws in a club where there will be less media exposure and less pressure from fans.
If Pasquato stays back at Juventus and the club also buys a player like Michel Bastos or Juan Vargas, then there is very little chance of him getting first team place as Pepe will be the backup left winger. This can stunt his growth as a player – something that has happened to the likes of Giovinco before.
One problem with loaning out players to Serie A teams is that the club usually wants an option to buy in the transfer clause. Italian clubs do not want to guarantee starting slots to a player who they know won’t be staying at the club in future. If Juventus has to ship him out on loan, the club has to ensure that Pasquato is not subjected to any of this.
Cristian Pasquato just turned 22 two weeks back, and this season will be a crucial juncture in his career. Juventus hasn’t been very wise in its treatment of young players in last decade – a worrying habit that the club needs to change. The Bianconeri is on a rebuilding mode and it might be better if the club places more faith on players from the academy, rather than investing in the likes of Luca Toni. Pasquato’s performance this season and how Juventus deals with him will determine whether he will fulfill his potential or turn into another also-ran.