Juventus have completed the transfers of Richmond Boakye, Nicolás Cañizares, Jacob Laursen and Leo Bonatini. Some of these talented youngsters may play an important part in first team in years to come.
Juventus has been very busy in the transfer market till now. The Old Lady has not only bolstered the first team but also brought in a host of talented youngsters to strengthen the youth set-up. These youngsters have been recruited from different parts of the world, a testament to the scouting work of current regime.
Richmond Yiadom Boakye was born on 28th January, 1993 in Ashanti, Ghana. He started his career with local Bechem United, then moved to DC United. He was soon spotted by Genoa CFC scouts after a strong performance in a youth tournament in Vicenza. He soon made the switch to Italy’s oldest club after signing a six year contract, becoming a part of the Primavera squad.
He made his debut for the senior team on 3rd April, 2010 and caused an instant sensation by scoring in a 1-1 draw with Livorno. He continued his strong performances for Genoa Primavera, scoring 7 goals in 17 appearances. His tally of 7 goals included a brace in Supercoppa Primavera as Genoa thrashed Milan 5-0.
As expected, Boakye was loaned out to gain senior first team experience. His destination for 2011/12 season was a Serie B club, Sassauolo. Boakye made his debut on 14th August, 2011 in a 2-1 Coppa Italia win over Juve Stabia. Like his senior debut for Genoa, he found the net on his Sassuolo debut as well. His start for his new club was blistering as he scored in his six times in first eight matches.
Boakye carried his good form to winter, scoring a brace during a 5-2 away win over Modena but had to wait till 2012 to score again. The youngster suffered a long barren phase and broke his bad streak at the end of March with a goal against Grosseto. He was in wonderful form towards end of the season, scoring in three of the last four matches as Sassuolo finished third in the final table.
He eventually finished his loan season in Sassuolo with 12 goals and 2 assists in 34 matches (21 starts). He was the top scorer for the neoverdi and one of the driving forces behind their journey to Serie A play-offs. Sassuolo eventually failed to gain promotion but Boakye had gained enough attention. He was being linked with a number of clubs throughout Serie B season, including Manchester United.
Despite being over six feet tall, Boakye’s game is not dependent on his physical presence. Instead, he relies on movement to create goal scoring opportunities. He is predominantly a right footed player, scoring a large percentage of goals using his stronger foot. He was impressive during Juventus’ pre-season matches, scoring on his debut during the 7-1 win against Aygreville. It is unlikely that he will be part of Juventus for 2012/13 season and is likely to be loaned out to a Serie A club. Juventus fans will be excited and are likely to follow his progress after his good showings in pre-season.
Born on 17th November, 1994, Jacob Barnett Laursen was first linked to Juventus in the winter transfer window of 2011/12 season when he came to Turin for a trial. Despite being injured during the trial and one of the youngest players at the trials, the Aalborg BK Academy defender made enough impression on Juventus scouts. His progress was tracked for rest of the season. Laursen was impressive for junior teams of both club and country and he even trained regularly with AaB senior squad.
The Marotta-Paratici regime has shown inclination towards Scandinavian youth in past 2 seasons. Frederik Sorensen was impressive for the senior team in 2010/11 season while Hordur Mangussen is all set to be a part of senior squad for 2012/13 season. Laursen is likely to be a part of Juventus Primavera team for now.
Click here to read a short interview given by Laursen regarding his Juventus transfer.
Nicolás Cañizares was born on 12th February, 1996. . Juventus scouts initially spotted him in October 2011 and then came back to Spain multiple times to keep tabs on him. The central defender was captain of his age group at Rayo Vallecano. Despite starting his career as a striker, Cañizares was later moved to defence and his strong performances at the back established him in that position. In this article Cañizares mentions, “I like to steal balls and start the play from behind. If done right, can be very beautiful.”
Like another new signing Alberto Masi, Cañizares is also matured for his age and has all basic characteristics required to make a quality central defender. He is calm, good in the air and has good ball control. Carlos Vargas, the Spanish Juventus scout had this to say about him “Nico fits all the characteristics we look for: fundamental physical conditions for Italian football, good size, with room for improvement because he is still developing. His speed is ideal for advanced defenses. He is tactically good, strong in the air and has strength of concentration,”. According to Matteo Garcia, his coach at Rayo, maturity is something that sets him apart from other players in the same age group.
As per reports Cañizares will be a part of Allevi side of Juventus, which is an age level below Primavera.
Leonardo Bonatini Lohner Maia was born on 28th March, 1996 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The striker is a product of Cruzeiro Academy, which has churned out players like Ronaldo and Maicon in the past.
Bonatini attracted scouts from world over in the 2011 U17 World Cup. Initially he was not a starter for Brazil but his strong performances after coming on as substitute earned him a place in the starting XI. Bonatini scored two goals in the process; a 87th minute header against Ecuador in second round and the opening goal for Brazil in their 3-2 win over Japan in the quarter-final. Overall, Bonatini has respresented Brazil U17 12 times and scored five goals in the process. He was also the top scorer in Copa Do Brazils Sub for his age group, scoring 6 goals.
Bonatini first came into the news when he was offered to Manchester City as part of an exchange deal for Roque Santa Cruz last summer. That finally didn’t happen but City continued pursuing him nonetheless. However, Juventus was also following Bonatini closely for a while and the Old Lady finally clinched the deal successfully negotiating past a complex ownership situation with the player. 50% of Bonatini’s contract was owned by Cruzeiro, who sold 15% of it to cover for a debt with Branco BMG, 15% belonged to a local businessman and 35% belonged to Bonatini’s family.
Bonatini is essentially a center-forward with a strong right foot and is also aerially dominant. Standing over 6 feet, he usually works as the focal point of attack and has chalked up a decent number of assists for his teams as well. Bonatini has made an encouraging start to his Juventus Primavera career, scoring and striking the post once against Atlas Guadalajara in the recently concluded Ruhr Cup. He is likely to play next season in Juventus Primavera.
Other than Boakye, rest of the youngsters are unlikely to have a crack at Juventus first team in near future. It is likely that they will participate in Juventus youth teams for a season or two before being loaned out to other clubs to gather more experience.