Juventus: Could Ciro Immobile Be Juve's Future Saviour?
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Having started the season in brilliant form for Genoa, Immobile has tapered off in recent weeks, which isn’t a big deal considering he’s still young.
If he scores 10-15 goals this season, Juve will buy him back from Genoa, so let’s take a look at Immobile.
Ciro Immobile's Stuttering Start at Juventus
Claudio Ranieri wanted to show his appreciation to Alessandro Del Piero and Sebastian Giovinco by subbing both players off to a standing ovation in the 89th minute.
On came Ciro Immobile, No. 46, for Del Piero and Ayub Daud, No. 47, for Giovinco.
A month earlier, Immobile and Daud combined for 12 goals as Juve's elite Primavera squad won the Torneo di Viareggio.
It was a symbolic professional debut for Immobile.
Having overseen Immobile's rapid development, newly appointed Juve manager Ciro Ferrara named Immobile on the bench against Maccabi Haifa, but didn't pull the trigger.
It was a different matter against Bordeaux because Laurent Blanc's side were playing the Bianconeri off the field.
Ferrara, feeling he had nothing to lose, threw Immobile into the deep end for 27 minutes in the UEFA Champions League group game.
Donning No. 40, Immobile only touched the ball four times. He didn't see much game time under Ferrara nor did it change once Alberto Zaccheroni came in.
Ciro Immobile's Unsuccessful Loan Spells at Siena and Grosseto
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Ciro Immobile's 10-goal haul during the 2010 Torneo di Viareggio not only earned him a token spot on the bench against Palermo, but also sent a message to Juventus that he was ready for senior football.
Management sent Immobile and Luca Marrone to Siena under Antonio Conte.
Immobile's early impression didn't endear him to the disciplined Conte as the youngster missed a penalty and was sent off against Cittadella.
He spent most of the loan spell watching Emanuele Calaio score goals and Conte jumping up and down the sidelines.
Immobile's unfulfilled experience with Siena hardened his resolve to make it.
He was loaned out to Grosseto where Michele Serena was more inclined to play the Juve loanee as opposed to Conte, who was gunning for promotion with Siena.
At the end of the 2010-11 season, Immobile had scored three goals in 27 combined career games for Juve, Siena and Grosseto.
His Primavera strike partner Ayub Daud was also experiencing similar growing pains in the world of professional football.
Ciro Immobile's Big Break at Pescara
Beppe Marotta shelved his negative feelings for Zdeněk Zeman, an unabashed Juventus hater, and sent Ciro Immobile to Pescara.
Zeman had stacked his Pescara side with ambitious young guns: Marco Capuano, Simone Romagnoli, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne.
Immobile was in the right place at the right time as he netted 28 goals in 37 Serie B games.
Zeman got the break he needed, but he also may have salvaged the career of a highly touted Juve youngster.
In hindsight, it was a perfect, pragmatic and prudent decision from Marotta.
Explaining Ciro Immobile’s Transfer to Genoa
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When Juventus sold Ciro Immobile to Genoa but retained 50 percent of his playing rights, casual followers of the game must have thought Beppe Marotta had gone off the rails, especially with the Bianconeri lacking a threat at centre forward.
Marotta and Juve's management decided that Immobile was not yet ready to play a significant part in the team's season. So, was it a surprise that Genoa's wheeler and dealer of a president in Enrico Preziosi snapped at a chance to have a stake in Immobile's future? Of course not.
Why, not a loan move? Preziosi wants Immobile to do well so Genoa can make some quick cash selling him back to Juve. Meanwhile, the Bianconeri want assurances that Immobile will be played. The economic incentive for Genoa ensures Immobile will remain an integral part of Luigi De Canio's starting XI.
Giorgio Chiellini, Sebastian Giovinco and Emanuele Giaccherini are notable Juve players who've reinforced the successful scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours type of co-ownership deals in Italy.
Ciro Immobile’s Early Impressions with Genoa
Ciro Immobile is a mobile goal poacher who has lived up to the hype so far.
Is he the real deal?
It's a boulevard of broken dreams for prolific Serie B scorers in recent memory.
Federico Piovaccari, Éder, Francesco Tavano and Denis Godeas didn't replicate their goal-scoring feats in Serie A.
You also have to factor in Zdeněk Zeman's rabid attacking philosophy in general.
Marco Sau, who scored 20 goals for Zeman's Foggia, hasn't made the step up.
But let's talk about the situation at Pescara.
Don't underestimate the creative talents of Lorenzo Insigne, Marco Verratti and Emmanuel Cascione, who all played a major part in Immobile's breakout season.
Immobile belongs in Serie A, but he needs to tighten up his finishing. Eight shots per goal isn't good enough, and his notable fluff in front of Gianluigi Buffon let Juve off the hook.
Here's my scouting report of the game:
In a parallel universe, Ciro Immobile, Marco Borriello and Bosko Jankovic would have converted their chances and there wouldn’t have been a Juve comeback.
With regards to Immobile, he did score but that was after fluffing a one-on-one opportunity.
He caused havoc to Juve’s back three, has quality and started the season in great form—two goals and one assist in three games.
He’s an exciting prospect for Juve, who own 50 percent of his playing rights.
Andrea Barzagli (4.5/10): Generally plays the game in such a tranquil fashion, but it wasn’t the case against Genoa as he was caught off-guard by Immobile’s mobility.
Immobile's high upside trumps the short-term productivity of Fabio Quagliarella, Mirko Vučinić, Alessandro Matri and Nicklas Bendtner.
Watch Immobile's space because he could become Bianconeri's saviour. Comment below with your opinion.