Historically, Juventus’ youth sector doesn’t have the prestige of sectors such as Ajax’s or Barcelona’s. However, it has produced successful players such as Claudio Marchisio, Sebastian Giovinco and further back in history, the great Giampiero Boniperti and Paolo Rossi.
In recent times, the academy has failed to produce players who contribute to the first team. This could be set to change with the next batch of talent acquired by the Bianconeri’‘s youth sector. There are players who look to have the ability to break into the first team and become the next generation of talent at the Italian club.
In the defence, Juventus have two players who have the potential to become the backbone of the club and the Italian national team. Daniele Rugani (22) plays on a semi-regular basis for the Italian giants and is tipped to be the heir to either the aging Andrea Barzagli or Giorgio Chiellini.
In the meantime, he continues to learn his trade from the men he will eventually replace. There are very few as good as Juve’s current defence, so there’s no better place for him to learn from. At 6’3” he is a towering presence capable of dealing with any aerial threats.
Expected to play with Rugani in future is Mattia Caldara. The 23 year old had a breakthrough season with Atalanta and was snatched up by Juventus and immediately loaned back. Caldara will return to Juventus at the end of his loan in the summer of 2018.
Last season, Caldara played a major role in getting Atalanta to their highest ever finish in Serie A. Not only did the young defender put in a strong display at the back, he also scored an impressive 7 goals.
The pair reached the semi-finals of the U21 European Championships with Italy, keeping 2 clean sheets. Needless to say, if this pair reach their potential, Juventus will have a frighteningly good defence for years to come.
Honourable Mentions: Filippo Romagna (20) is seen as a potential star. The Spaniard Pol Lirola (19), on loan at Sassuolo, is another player seen as a potential long term option at right back by the fans.
In midfield, Rolando Mandragora (20) had a short cameo this season already against Genoa. He has a wide range of passing and good close control. He is rumoured to be sent out on loan to a Serie A team to allow him to pick up valuable experience before being given a bigger chance at the Bianconeri. Juventus currently have an aging central midfield. Both Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio are on the wrong side of thirty and Mandragora will look to establish himself as next in line to these talented players.
One of the more established players for the future is Stefano Sturaro (23). Like Rugani, he has had regular playing time for Juventus but failed to fully break into the first team. In contrast to Mandragora, he is a player with fewer technical skills, but he possesses a dogged determination and boundless energy. He provides strength and resilience in defence as well as support for the attack. Sturaro needs one opportunity to show his potential to Juventus management. He is capped for Italy and has played Champions League football, now he needs to perform on a consistent basis.
Honourable Mentions: Matheus Pereira (19) is a talented attacking midfielder who was highly rated when he played in Brazil for Corinthians. Luca Clemenza (19) is an Italian attacking midfielder who is tipped to be the next big thing from the academy.
Juventus’ next generation of attackers look to be the real deal. New signing Riccardo Orsolini (20) was picked up from Serie B side Ascoli. Just last month, he was part of the Italian U20 side which finished 3rd in the World Cup. Orsolini was the Golden Boot winner with 5 goals. The young Italian is a winger with exceptional ball control, making him a problem for any defender, all he needs now is to be given a chance at the top level. If he makes the transition to the top division, Juve will have a valuable asset on their hands.
The Croatian, Marko Pjaca (22), was terribly unlucky in his first year at Juventus. Two serious injuries kept him out of action for long spells. When he did play, he showed his tremendous ability. He scored in the Champions League match-up against Porto in addition to making appearances in between his injuries. His absence hurt the Bianconeri‘s ability to compete on three fronts as they lost an important rotation player in attack. Next season is a big one for the player. It remains to be seen if he can recover from a series of serious injuries and still reach his potential.
Honourable Mentions: Moise Kean (16), the 16 year old wonderkid brought in to the first team because of injuries became the youngest ever Serie A and Champions League player. He even grabbed a match-winning goal against Bologna last game of the season.
Looking at this we see that after an unsuccessful period for the Juventus academy and their youth, they seem to be back on track. Players are coming through the ranks with real talent and the possibility of becoming future superstars. It remains to be seen whether or not this will be the case