Since Andrea Agnelli became president of Juventus in the summer of 2010, the club has enjoyed immense success. Four consecutive league titles, a Coppa Italia win and this year’s appearance in the Champions League final is an incredible return for his first five seasons in charge, with director general Beppe Marotta playing a significant role.
Appointed when Agnelli initially took control, Marotta has overseen the club’s transfer policy ever since, bringing the likes of Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba to Turin, but perhaps he has yet to fulfil one promise he made to the Juventus Channel in his first year.
“Our objective for the future is to create a Juve in the style of Barcelona,” Marotta said (h/t Football Italia). “It takes instinct to find the most promising players and bring them to Vinovo, but also courage to give them a debut in the first team.”
Indeed it does, but it is bravery Juventus have yet to display, preferring to bring the best young talent from other clubs and field them instead. The likes of Alvaro Morata, Stefano Sturaro and even Kingsley Coman all hold great promise, but Claudio Marchisio remains the only member of the Bianconeri youth sector holding down a regular place in the side.
It is, however, a long-term vision, one that will obviously not bear fruit immediately, and perhaps the one player with a chance to change that is defender Filippo Romagna, who has already been named among the substitutes for the first team numerous times over the last two years.
Born in 1997, his career began with a local team in his hometown of Fano before moving to AC Rimini as a 10-year-old and eventually catching the eye of Italy’s biggest clubs.
Inter approached him in 2011, but Juventus eventually secured his signature as Gianluca Pessotto—in his role as a director of the club’s academy—visited his house to convince his parents that the Bianconeri offered the best opportunity for his young talent to flourish.
The boy was reluctant, however, as he told local newspaper Vivere Fano (link in Italian), but after spending a few days in Turin, he fell in love.
The club almost immediately shifted him into a role in central defence, while he continued to play in midfield for the Italian youth teams, representing the Azzurri at every level from under-15s upward, often as captain. By 2012, despite being three years below the age limit, Romagna was playing for the Juventus Primavera (U-19s), with coach Marco Baroni impressed with his composure and ability to read the game.
During Juve’s run to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2013/14, Antonio Conte called the defender into his squad, and Massimiliano Allegri continued that this past season. On four separate occasions—the league fixtures with Cagliari and Lazio, the Italian Super Cup vs. Napoli and the Coppa Italia clash with Hellas Verona—Romagna found himself on the bench for the first team.
Now captain of the Juventus Primavera—where former Italy star Fabio Grosso is the current coach—the 18-year-old Romagna is clearly aware of his role. He told the club’s official website earlier this year (link in Italian) how much of an honor it was to be named captain, but stressed the importance of continuing to develop.
His talent is obvious to all who watch him in action, with Allegri telling La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of the clash with Lazio (link in Italian) that he believed the player has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
It is an opinion Allegri and the management team both clearly share, and one that—along with the player’s own mature approach—will hopefully see Filippo Romagna become the next youth talent to climb the ranks at Juventus.