It is a tricky task to find time to scout the horde of players we have outside the senior squad, whether in the U23 or U19 sides at the club, or plying their trade out on loan domestically or further afield. I tend to look first at appearances, injuries, formations, then am always drawn to any stats which suggest something special. This is always easiest with strikers, for they occupy the one position on the pitch which provides the most visible basic statistic of their success – goals.
Of this season recently finished, we have two strikers who have hit the net with impressive consistency.
Matteo Brunori, Brazillian born italian raised CF, now 27 years of age, signed for our U23 side in January 2020 for EU2.85m from Pescara. The much traveled forward had enjoyed a superb run of form at ASD Villabiagio in the fourth tier plundering 23 goals from 37 appearances back in the 17/18 campaign. Fared okay since, but during this last loan stint, in the sicillian capital side seeking promotion from Serie C, Matteo has exploded…
It is highly unlikely that he will be considered for the senior squad, and it makes no sense to return to our U23 side (who reached the play-offs, though will remain in Serie C) Seems reasonable to expect in the least a Serie B loan or sale, or perhaps a Serie A side will take a gamble. Perugia and Frosinone appear interested with Palermo keen, of course, to keep him. I can but hope Matteo earns a step up to the second tier, and continues his somewhat late surge towards stardom. Perhaps he can become an italian James Vardy!
Giacomo Vrioni is the next to consider. 23 years old, Albanian Italian, representing Italy at U18 and U19 level, before swearing his allegience towards Albania, for whose senior side he is now a regular. Curiously, signed for EU3.9m, from Sampdoria in the same month we registered Brunori, January 2020. The parallels continue with the skill-set, of a tall, physical CF, who fared average in our U23 setup yet then went on to roll the dice with a move elsewhere and explode.
Whilst Brunori remained in Serie C after his stint in our ‘B team’, Giacomo moved to our latest larval feeder club routine of WSG Tirol in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Briefly to contrast…We signed Danish striker Nikolai Baden in mid 2020, for 250k from Fortuna Sittard in the dutch top division. Moved him swiftly to our chums at WSG Tirol. A player who had represented Denmark at every international youth level from U15-U21. His endeavour in Austria was prolific. 18 goals, 4 assists from 32 games.
Awful music but the big Dane looked decent.
I was a little excited last Summer to see what Cherubini would do with him. Then rather bemused to find Nikolai sold to Vitesse (Netherlands) for EU1.8m. Not quite the profit margin I expected if he were to be moved on, as we had picked him up a few years earlier for EU1.6m. The forward has gone on to enjoy a solid debut campaign at his new club.
Back to Vrioni…who enjoyed phenomenal success in Austria.
21 goals, 5 assists from 30 appearances for 21/22.
Tall, left footed, strong in the air and when shielding the ball, with an eager eye for the net as well as playing others into scoring opportunities.
Joint top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga alongside Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg) with the latter valued at EU30m in the move of late to Dortmund. Whilst a little younger than Vrioni, at 20, more skillful and dynamic on the ball and playing for a better club, questions abound of not just how valuable our Giacomo could be on the market, but also…how the hell did Cherubini only get 1.8m for Baden?
With Morata likely gone, Dybala slimed out the club and Chiesa unlikely to return to match sharpness until the end of the year, we are left able to field only Dusan and Kean as recognised strikers. With many fans, and perhaps the management also, far from comfortable with the earmarked EU38m investment for the former Juve youth star. We may be forced to keep him, and if so, he could be the vice-Vlahovic, given CF is his natural role. Yet so haphazard has been his return to the ranks, I fear we will see nothing of the best possible Moise Kean unless he is given a run of games to find some form.
If we can somehow escape our obligation to purchase from Everton – and I cannot see how, so more possible a sale, but to who? – Vrioni may well be considered over the Summer to earn the right to play understudy to the giant Serb. He could save us a ton of cash, would surely snatch at the chance and could well turn out a useful player.
Failing which, there are apparently offers from some German clubs to cough up 9-10m for his purchase.
When we have many key positions in the first XI to invest to improve, why spend any money on a back-up CF when we could use one of our own.
Obviously there is a difference in technical level between Austria and Italy, yet at the same time, what kind of player is going to want to move to Juve to be benched for most the season?
As with Miretti and Fagioli, I very much hope the management focus first on those players already part of the club who have looked very promising instead of sticking to the routine of using Serie A experience as the main prerequisite for filling the gaps in the roster.