By the time Nicolò Rovella turned ten, Andrea Pirlo had ditched AC Milan to join Juventus on a free transfer. Touted as one of the best midfielders of his generation, Pirlo influenced an influx of Italian youngsters to commit their loyalty to midfield. Rovella hails from that said bunch.
Pirlo is no longer the player he was during those days. But Italy, as a football-crazy nation, certainly does have a lot to look forward to — when it comes to the future of the country’s midfield options. They have a star-in-the-making in Nicolò Rovella.
An inborn regista
Born in 2001, Rovella burst onto the Italian footballing scene last season, with an 18-year-old baby-faced blonde acquiring a large chunk of playing time and producing eye-catching performances with Genoa week in, week out. The data from FBref.com shows that Rovella played 1,187 minutes while starting 12 games from 20 appearances in Serie A in the 2020/21 season.
Right-footed, the Segrate-born, if you are doubtful of his genre as a midfielder, is a built-in regista, a deep-lying midfielder who loves pulling the strings with his long-range passing. In the 2020/21 season, Rovella, as per the records from Transfermarkt, was used 12 times as a defensive midfielder, which is indeed the youngster’s preferred position.
Technically astute, Rovella has shades of Manuel Locatelli‘s movements with possession. He’s graceful with the ball and a fantastic long-passer whose adept at delivering penetrative vertical passes through opposing midfields and defences. The Italian’s racked up a couple of watchable assists while operating further upfield this season as well.
Watching Rovella’s impressive displays for Genoa last season, Juventus got tempted and eventually decided to seal the deal for the youngster in January. As a consequence, the Old Lady, paying an initial transfer fee of €18m, signed the starlet that winter.
Nevertheless, the Bianconeri then let Rovella continue at Genoa until the end of the 2021/22 season to ensure he was receiving ample game time in the top-flight. It would’ve been disastrous for a player of his ilk to waste away on Juventus’ bench during his formative years.
How has Rovella fared in Italy this season so far?
When it comes to individual performances, the 19-year-old has had a successful campaign. Starting each of Genoa’s 12 league games this term, Rovella has bagged three assists — already one more than the tally of last season.
From a passing point of view, Rovella has so far recorded 3.71 passes per 90 minutes into the final third and completed 46.9 passes in total out of 57.3 attempts per match with a decent accuracy rate of 81.8%, all considering that Rovella plays for a team currently fighting relegation this season.
However, Rovella’s superb form has had little to no effect on Genoa’s results, with the side from the Liguria region sitting 17th in Serie A having accumulated just nine points. This poor tally means that Genoa are in big trouble and could be potential relegation dwellers going forward.
What is the latest on his return to Juventus?
Some reports in Italy speculate that Juventus could cut short Rovella’s 18-month loan term and recall him in January.
The general feeling around the Turin-based club is that the Bianconeri desperately need a midfield reinforcement, and the winter transfer window provides them with an optimal opportunity to bring in a new arrival. However, if an addition was to be made without spending a penny, that would be as good as Serena Williams’ return to winning grand slams once again. Rovella’s return is hence plausible.
In a counter-report by Calcio Mercato, it has been said that Genoa are likely to refuse Juventus’ supposed plea to let Rovella leave in January. Juve agreed on an 18-month contract while loaning out the youngster last January, meaning Rovella is set to stay until June 2022, the end of his pre-signed loan deal between the two. clubs.
Should Rovella be brought back in January?
While assessing whether or not Juventus should bring back Rovella from his loan spell midway into the campaign, we need to first focus on whether or not Rovella is going to get adequate game time in a Bianconeri shirt.
In terms of options at Massimiliano Allegri’s disposal, Manuel Locatelli is an individual who could properly play the regista role. Other than that, Arthur Melo has returned to action recently. The Brazilian is technically sound and can also act as a deep-lying playmaker.
Now, while it is indeed correct that Juventus need midfield reinforcements sooner rather than later, it is unlikely that Rovella would get as much leeway as he is currently getting at Genoa. Despite Rovella being an aspiring star for the Italian midfield, the pressure mounted by the enormous responsibility would be immense in Turin.
Furthermore, Juventus would possibly like to adhere to the deal agreed between them and Genoa over the extent of Rovella’s loan deal, which is about to end next summer. If not anyone, Rovella himself is in favour of ending his 2021/22 campaign with the Rossoblù.
“I know they are following me but I have to deserve a possible return to Juventus by doing well here. I’m focused on Genoa since I’m playing a lot, I’d like to continue with Genoa until the end of the season,” said the baby-faced Italian prospect.