It has been the strangest of summers for Italian champions Juventus, quickly going from lifting their third consecutive league title to appointing a new coach. The sudden nature of Antonio Conte’s departure has tainted every move since he resigned, the loss of their highly driven leader causing a seismic shift across the entire landscape of Serie A.
Even overlooking the intense media scrutiny of Massimiliano Allegri’s arrival, finding an under-the-radar signing among the club’s acquisitions is a difficult task. Patrice Evra’s switch from Manchester United gathered huge attention, as did the £15.8 million capture of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
Despite being just an 18-year-old prospect—albeit a hugely talented one—who has made just three senior appearances for Paris Saint-Germain, even the deal to bring Kingsley Coman to Turin stole the headlines.
Roberto Pereyra’s arrival from Udinese has failed to capture the imagination of fans, his ability to have an impact upon the club still highly questionable at present. It takes time to see beyond those four signings, but it is not the first time the capture of Frederik Sorensen at Juventus has been overlooked.
The club’s official website noted his return from co-ownership in a brief note last month, echoing his previous signing in July 2010. La Madama was then in the midst of a huge rebuilding process as a new president, director general and coach had already been appointed.
They were followed by a huge number of players moving both in and out of the club, and the Danish defender’s signing went almost unreported. A 12-day trial at the summer training camp at Pinzolo did not work out as planned as, after just a few days of training, the then-18-year-old suffered a broken nose in a practice match.
Despite that, he was signed to a loan deal with Juventus, playing a number of matches for the youth team before injury problems began to affect the first-team’s defence. Sorensen was added to the squad and was soon starting matches regularly, making 17 league appearances by the end of his debut campaign.
Then-Juve coach Gigi Delneri singled him out for praise, describing him to reporters as “a great player already,” (h/t FIFA.com). He played equally well as both a central defender and at right-back, forcing then-Italy international Marco Motta into a reserve role.
The arrival of Antonio Conte would see another Bianconeri revolution however, and Sorensen was sacrificed, sent in co-ownership to Bologna in the hope his development would continue. His first season there saw him make just two appearances according to stats site WhoScored.com, before making 20 starts a year later.
That 2012-13 season saw his game take a huge leap forward, the same source showing he averaged 2.8 tackles, 2.4 interceptions and 6.6 clearances per game. He continued to improve, still sharing duties between full-back and in the centre of defence, thriving under the tuition of Stefano Pioli.
Last term that progress continued, and if Juve choose to keep him in Turin, they will have added a highly versatile and reliable defender to the squad. His defensive contribution increased, his averages rising to 2.1 tackles, 2.7 interceptions and 7.1 clearances per game, while blocking an average of 0.5 shots per game.
With Bologna alternating between a back three and a four-man defence—playing 19 games with each according to WhoScored—Sorensen would quickly understand what Allegri wants from his players. Able to alternate so quickly can make him a vital addition, particularly as age continues to wear on the likes of Andrea Barzagli.
He may not be the kind of high-profile acquisition Juventus require to take a leap forward in the Champions League, but he is just 22 years old and and has almost 70 first-team appearances to his name already. Frederik Sorensen has cost the Bianconeri very little, but his second stint in Turin could be hugely beneficial to the club.