Juve are set to finalise centre-back Ogbonna's transfer from Turin rivals Torino, according to Football Italia.
La Stampa (newspaper owned by same parent company as Juventus) states Ogbonna has signed. 12m+3m in bonuses, 1.8m a season to the player.— Aaron Giambattista (@agiamba) July 9, 2013
Torino manager Giampiero Ventura primarily employed a 4-2-4 formation with Ogbonna starting on the left side of Polish centre-back Kamil Glik.
Towards the end of the season, Ventura experimented with a 3-5-2 lineup, Antonio Conte's main mode of operation at Juventus, with Ogbonna continuing his role as a left-sided centre-back.
Who plays that role for Conte? Giorgio Chiellini.
Here's the awkward part: Ogbonna underwent hernia surgery last season, meaning he played two less Serie A games (22) than Chiellini (24).
Last October, Ogbonna withdrew from the Italian national squad due to an inflamed prostate gland, so his fitness concerns are a red flag.
From a footballing perspective, Ogbonna's athleticism is a big reason why he has the potential to transition into a world-class centre-back.
Technically, he possesses metronomic passing, which is a prerequisite on Conte's team.
Juve led Serie A in possession per game (57.7) and pass completion percentage (85.8) last season.
|LEAGUE ONLY||Pass Completion %||Long Pass Completion %||Passes Per Game|
That said, Ogbonna was susceptible at the back last season.
Cagliari 4-3 Torino (February 24, 2013)
Cagliari's Mauricio Pinilla forces his way past Alessandro Gazzi, Salvatore Masiello and Valter Birsa making a beeline towards Jean-François Gillet's goal.
Ogbonna isn't in position to stop Pinilla, overcompensates and brings down the Chilean to get red carded and concede a penalty, which Pinilla converted.
Parma 4-1 Torino (March 10, 2013)
Raffaele Palladino swings in a cross for Parma teammate Amauri, a two-time runner-up for the derisive Bidone d'Oro award, who overpowers Ogbonna to volley home.
Fiorentina 4-3 Torino (April 21, 2013)
Romulo offloads possession to Matías Fernández and makes a run past Ogbonna, who is aware of the Brazilian's run but chooses to ignore it.
Fernández holds up the ball, releases it to Mounir El Hamdaoui, who makes a simple pass to an unmarked Romulo for the game-winner.
AC Milan 1-0 Torino (May 5, 2013)
The cross is sent in, Philippe Mexes heads it across goal, Ogbonna's slight lapse in concentration enables Mario Balotelli to poach a goal.
Is there a valid excuse for Ogbonna's form deterioration? Yes.
Just like you can make a case for Roma's backline marooning Marquinhos, who is subject to a €32 million bid from Barcelona, Torino's defenders were at at sixes and sevens.
Torino: Have conceded more penalties (10) than any other team in Europe's top 5 leagues this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 21, 2013
They didn't provide adequate support for Ogbonna, who also struggled with injury throughout the season.
Ogbonna's centre-back partner for the majority of the campaign was Glik, who played on the Italian's right-side.
Glik, a Polish international, was sent off in both Turin derbies, one of which was the result of a horrific tackle on Emanuele Giaccherini, who could have had his leg snapped.
"It’s a good job that Glik didn’t catch Giaccherini fully otherwise it would have ended his career," said Furio Valcareggi, Giaccherini's agent, from Firenze Viola via Football Italia. "The fact that Glik only got a one-match ban is ridiculous—he should have been given an eight-match suspension".
Glik isn't a prolific tackler (ranked 12th at Torino in tackles per game) nor are his concentration levels reliable enough to be a reactive defender, hence why he conceded several daft penalties.
In additional to the Pole's wayward defending, left-back Masiello, routinely left Ogbonna exposed.
Peter Bourne, the author of the Torino book Passion In The Piazza, wasn't a fan of Masiello, via TorinoFCInglese.com:
Naturally left-footed, Masiello’s limitation is that he is neither defensively full-proof nor convincing going forward.
Often clumsy in possession, Toro always looked weaker down his flank, something the opposition regularly exploited.
Probably enjoyed his best run during the middle of the season but there’s no escaping that if Toro had a better-quality left back, a salto di qualità would have been achieved.
While Torino did get a good return on Ogbonna from Juve, they would have received more by selling him last summer— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) July 9, 2013
Ogbonna didn't have a stellar season though Juventus management can't ignore his vast upside.
Not only is he capable of starting as a left-sided centre-back but his world-class passing means he can play in Bonucci's position.
You might be thinking: "Ogbonna isn't going to get a game."
When the Bianconeri announced the Bosman signing of Paul Pogba from Manchester United, would you have predicted him playing 37 games in his first season for Juve? No.
If Marotta, Conte and the Juve brainstrust just wanted an extra defensive option, they would have signed someone cheaper or even brought back Frederik Sørensen.
Ogbonna to Juve summary: Yes, no, YES, no, YES, no, Done, Not done, YES, no. STOP— Cristiano Acconci (@MrAcconci) July 8, 2013
There's an end-game to this back and forth transfer saga with Torino.
Juve strongly believe Ogbonna can take one of the starting centre-back positions in the coming seasons.