A few weeks ago, Juventus Sporting Director Alessio Secco stated that his team had no money to bring in January reinforcements to a squad that desperately needed a spark.
That ruled out any kind of big move that fans may have been dreaming about after the summer signings of the last few years have, for the most part, failed to impress.
But it didn't rule out bringing in players on loan.
First, Michele Paolucci was brought back from Siena on a loan deal that brings some much-needed depth to a strikeforce that has been ravaged by injuries. A product of the Juve youth system, Paolucci was likely brought back to base just for depth reasons, but it's not like he isn't talented.
Wednesday brought another loan deal, this time one that seemingly evolved over the course of just a few short days, with Italian international Antonio Candreva coming to Turin. Candreva saw the club that owns him, Udinese, and the club he was at on loan, Livorno, and Juventus come to an agreement on a loan deal that will keep the midfielder with the Bianconeri until the end of the season.
At just 22 years old, Candreva is another member of the next generation of Italian talent looking to make a name for himself. And a lot like many young Italian players right now, he has proved himself away from his parent club—spending the last year-and-a-half on loan at Livorno from Udinese.
Now he's getting his shot, and what a big one at that it is. In a Juventus midfield that is struggling with injuries and inconsistency, Candreva will be a welcome addition. Even though he is a natural attacking midfielder, he is versatile as it gets.
Can he be like Andrea Pirlo or Gaetano D'Agostino and go from playing an advanced midfielder role to a deep-lying regista who dictates play and is the engine of the offense? Only time will tell, but he certainly has a lot of traits that says he can make the transition
In a midfield that lacks creativity outside of trequartista Diego, Candreva will become the best one of the three midfielders that play behind the Brazilian playmaker that can dictate and distribute the ball. He has very good vision and is an even better passer—something the Juventus midfield has very little of right now.
Sounds a lot like Pirlo and D'Agostino, doesn't it?
Put him on one side of Momo Sissoko or Felipe Melo with Claudio Marchisio on the other, and Juve again have a midfield playing behind Diego that looks quite good. It was the same kind of thing that was being thought of when Juve were targeting D'Agostino this past summer.
The best part of the move is that it is a loan deal. There is no obligation for Candreva to remain a member of Juventus past this season. If he struggles, the loan spell is over, Juve don't need activate their option to buy half of his contract, and he goes back to being an Udinese player.
But if he's a success—and the way he has played this season, it wouldn't be a surprise to anybody—then Secco and Co. will take full advantage of the option to make the loan deal a co-ownership deal and keep Candreva in Turin for another season.
That's why this kind of move is such a low-risk swoop that has more pros than cons. For Secco, who has not brought in young Italian talent since he took over for Luciano Moggi four years ago, it is a welcome change that must continue over the summer.
And he certainly knows what kind of move to a club like Juventus means to him. Even though he is a Roman at heart, he has a very good idea what a move to the Old Lady means, knows that he must live up to the name on the jersey, and is willing to fight for his spot in the Starting XI.
A young, determined Italian with skill that wants to fight for his spot? Sounds good to me.
It's not the solution to all of Juve's problems, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.