In the least surprising news from the January transfer window so far, Juventus sucked in the latest Italian prodigy to burst onto the Serie A scene.
Nicolò Rovella is only 19 years old, but his seven demonstrations at the senior level for Genoa, coupled with his impressive performances for I Rossoblu in their primavera, convinced I Bianconeri to spend 10 million euros on the next big thing. The deal is not yet official, but the teenager is set to become a Juve player.
The central midfielder is seen as one of the bright lights of calcio’s future, and it won’t be long before Roberto Mancini calls him out to represent the big boys as well. But who is Rovella and what is there to know about the protected child?
While Rovella only pierces the public eye now, he has long been hunched over for fame. In fact, Italian giants Milan and Inter both made moves to sign the midfielder in 2014, when he was barely a teenager.
Both behemoths failed in their attempts to secure his signature, and instead he entrusted Genoa with his development and rise to the top. It is safe to say that he will have no regrets about his decision.
Now on the verge of joining Italy’s most successful club in recent history, he can look back and know he played his cards perfectly.
The deterioration in the stature of Juve, from expected Champions League finalists to fewer prospects, is due to their lack of quality in the midfield. Coach Andrea Pirlo is a man who knows a thing or two about the importance of a good playmaker, and he will be delighted with Rovella’s arrival.
From what we’ve seen from the Serie A midfielder and during his time in the Genoa youth squad, it’s clear he’s comfortable picking up the ball in any position on the pitch, and there’s a Sergio Busquets touch about his ease in evading even the most severe press. He loves to pick up the ball deep, evade opponents and move possession across the field into dangerous areas. A great asset.
The youngster may not yet be ready to take on the responsibility of the old lady’s engine room, but give him some time and he could be the key to their success in the years to come.
He may be set to join Pirlo in Turin, but Rovella has long modeled his game on another midfield maestro. Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric is the teenager’s inspiration, and it is evident from the way he glides on the pitch that he has learned a lot from the Croatian star’s game.
The bravery and fearlessness in the possession of the starlet is very similar to that of Modric too, and he has taken that courage from the youth level to the heights of Serie A.
Modric has long been linked with a stint in the Italian top flight, but it may not be necessary once Rovella gets into the rhythm of professional football.
It takes real cojones for a player who is just 19 years old to step into a senior squad and take control of all the pieces left. But when you’re as dangerous standing on a still ball as Rovella, it all makes sense.
He’s become Genoa’s free kick and corner kick since coming in from the side, and after scoring a few set pieces for their primavera, (Click here for glorious proof) it makes a lot of sense.
His whipped corners deliveries have had many defenses scrambling to erase the danger so far, and he poses a major threat to both open play and dead balls.
While he’s yet to get that important first strike at senior level, it’s only a matter of time before Rovella begins to rain down goals. The youngster has won seven appearances this season and has come close to breaking his duck on several occasions.
But the most encouraging sign is how often he is able to drift to a goal position undetected. He has come close in clashes against Sampdoria, Inter and Hellas Verona, each time forcing drastic action from goalkeepers or defenders, throwing himself in front of long-range or acrobatic efforts.
The first is the most difficult, but once he gets over that bump he could start racking up the old lady’s goals.
The ultimate test to understand how good a young footballer will be in the future is clearly to check his potential on Football Manager. And luckily for Juventus fans, the future is bright in this one.
Rovella is a true star in the making with tons of potential, and that is reflected in his stats and FM21 growth. The latest update priced the teenager at £ 775,000 for a prize of £ 1.8million, and for that money you get yourself a hell of a midfielder.
He can play in a holding role or more advanced, as box-to-box midfielder, volante segundo, mezzala, ball winner – you name him, Rovella can do it. Flight.