After links to some of the finest attacking talent in Europe, Juventus ended the summer transfer window quietly. Despite Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri calling the Bianconeri “a nice option,” per Tuttosport (via Josh Ilan of the Daily Mail), and strong links to Radamel Falcao (h/t Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News), the club opted not to bring in any of them.
Indeed, speaking to the press on Wednesday, Massimiliano Allegri told reporters he was “not disappointed,” to miss out on the Colombian striker (h/t Football Italia). Then, the coach went on to stress the importance of young players “he had always allowed to play” in his teams.
Those comments were particularly significant following Allegri’s competitive debut on the bench of the Turin giants this past weekend. With Fernando Llorente struggling with a mild flu, per Corriere dello Sport (link in Italian), Kingsley Coman was surprisingly handed his first appearance for the club.
Starting the match against Chievo Verona alongside Carlos Tevez, the 18-year-old caught the eye of the peninsular media, his performance stealing the front pages of the national newspapers. He played 66 minutes, managing to look as assured and confident as any of his better-known team-mates.
Making quick, incisive passes—which stats site WhoScored.com shows he completed 64 per cent of—and displaying excellent movement throughout, Coman was arguably the man of the match.
One moment in particular stood out, plucking a lofted pass out of the air with a sublime first touch, he brought the travelling supporters to their feet. The same reaction greeted his four shots, drawing a string of excellent saves from Francesco Bardi in goal for the home side.
As the above graphic, courtesy of Squawka, shows, he completed both of his dribble attempts, and he helped out the defence with an important tackle. More than just raw statistics, however, it was the realisation that Juventus have once again captured an extremely talented young player from under the noses of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Signing Coman after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired, the Bianconeri repeated the same strategy which brought Paul Pogba to Turin. Like his compatriot, the striker was pursued by some of the continent’s elite sides, opting to join the club despite some hugely attractive offers from elsewhere.
Speaking to the press shortly after making his decision, the player told French outlet L’Equipe that he had turned down proposals from Arsenal, Liverpool and Bayern Munich (h/t Harry Sherlock of Goal.com).
He inferred that the success of some of France’s most famous internationals who had donned the famous black and white stripes weighed heavily in his choice of destination: “Some of them did very good. So I told myself, why not me? I thought about it a lot.”
With David Trezeguet, Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini among them, the striker clearly has some impressive footsteps in which to follow.
His electric pace and skill certainly impressed Allegri, who indicated to Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia) after the match how pleased he was with the poise his young charge displayed: “The kid Coman played like a veteran. He’s a young lad and we should let him grow.”
That potential for improvement has fans of the Bianconeri truly excited, and Coman himself seems to believe he has joined the perfect club to reach his full potential.
Speaking to reporters at full time on Saturday, he said (h/t Juventus.com): "Playing in a team like this makes everything easier. I’m happy with how my debut went and I’m really enjoying life at Juventus. I can improve every day by training alongside many world class players and working with Allegri."
Like Alvaro Morata (profiled in detail here), the French youngster provides Antonio Conte’s successor with attacking options the new Italy coach never truly had in Turin. Even so, the decision to enter 2014-15 relying on two players untested in Serie A remains a gamble, particularly in light of the star names the club appears to have passed on this summer.
La Madama retains a stake in Simone Zaza and the hugely impressive Domenico Berardi, but it appears this season’s hope will rest somewhat upon the young shoulders of Coman. On his debut, he showed that faith may have been well placed, putting forward a good case as the Old Lady’s leading man.