Over the course of their long, successful history, Italian giants Juventus have witnessed their fair share of talent come through the system ranks, groomed to eventually pull on ‘the Old Lady’s’ famous white and black shirt - including Claudio Marchisio, Sebastian Giovinco, Ciro Immobile and Moise Kean, each with varied results. Although in recent years, star acquisitions like Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Miralem Pjanic, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken precedence, the Bianconeri still maintain an academy that employs several potential first team contributors should the scope for youth change at the club.
The International Champions Cup presents the opportunity for clubs like Juventus to show their own supporters what grade of talent they have coming through the pipeline. And in recent years, we have witnessed several of them leverage this summer stage to strut their stuff, including burly Italian striker Andrea Favilli who scored twice on his debut in a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in July 2018. Later, the 22-year old was sold to Serie A outfit Genoa, but the reigning 8-time Scudetto winners remain wealthy in some of the other prospects they employ.
Perhaps the name with the most intrigue and hype is Luca Clemenza, the 22-year old attacking midfielder who already gave us a taste of what he has in his locker with an audacious wonder goal vs Benfica in the 2018 edition of the International Champions Cup. The skilled trequartista had spent the previous two seasons on loan in Serie B with Ascoli and Padova, showing a penchant for lending a hand in the final third with either an assist or goal. Possessing a sleek left foot and with the quickness to change direction, Clemenza’s dribbling and on-the-ball ability are what stand out the most in his game. In these qualities, the current Juventus U-23 playmaker does have the capability of drifting towards the right as a winger, freeing him to cut in, have a go on goal or invite overlapping fullbacks to support.
Then, there is Ferdinando Del Sole, a forward born in rival territory in Naples, who was purchased by Juventus in 2017 from Pescara. Currently on loan with second division side Juve Stabia, the Italy U-20 starlet slots in as a centre-froward or winger, adept at operating in tight space, taking on defenders and creating a window to score. The 21-year old, much like Clemenza, has a left stroke that can inflict damage from set piece situations, making him a fascinating attacking prospect for the future - whether it be in Turin or not.
Occupying a more central midfield role is teenager Hans Nicolussi Caviglia, on loan with Massimo Oddo’s Perugia in Italy second tier. Former manager Massimiliano Allegri awarded the floppy-haired ‘centrocampista’ his first team debut last March, a 4-1 defeat of Udinese where he replaced Kean for a brief 10 minute tune-up. Brief runs off the bench against SPAL and Sampdoria would soon follow, paving the way for Caviglia to benefit from the camaraderie and learning experience afforded at the top level. Hardly, if at all, did he get the chance to showcase his vision and ability to pick a pass out, but there is room for optimism that his time will come soon enough to unveil his skillset as somewhat a hybrid midfielder.
Recently, Juventus have opted to sell prospects like Favilli, Azzurrini captain Rolando Mandragora, goalkeeper Emil Audero and striker Alberto Cerri in favor of significant plusvalenza (capital gain) to fund such moves for Cristiano Ronaldo and Matthijs de Ligt, so it remains unclear what the future holds for those names highlighted earlier. But, if their potential holds up and they can deliver in the opportunities they are afforded on loan, bright futures can be had.