While Argentina’s deficiencies in central defence were exposed once more at the Copa América, Serie A champions Juventus have shelled out €26 million on a 21-year-old centre-back still waiting for an opportunity to wear La Albiceleste.
Cristian Romero completed his big money move to Juve this week after successfully passing a medical and signed a five-year contract with the Bianconeri which will see the Córdoba-born player return to Genoa on loan until June 2020.
After only one season in Italy, Romero has swiftly established himself as one of the standout defensive prospects and making 27 appearances for Genoa, Cuti was the youngest defender in Serie A to play at least 25 matches.
An outstanding return for Il Grifone, who had paid Romero’s boyhood club Belgrano less than €2 million in the summer of 2018, with the academy standout yet to truly leave a mark on the first team.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 12, 2019
Only 20 senior appearances for Belgrano since his debut against Independiente in 2016 and a run in the Argentina under-20 team at the 2017 Sudamericano were enough to convince Genoa to swoop.
Despite a testing debut season that saw Genoa narrowly avoid relegation by the thinnest of margins, Romero was a regular under the string of managers that came and went at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Strong and quick into the tackle, Romero averaged 2.3 tackles per game in addition to 4.4 clearances but it wasn’t only his defensive qualities that caught the eye. With two goals and two assists, the 21-year-old was the third-youngest defender to play an active part in at least four goals scored in the top five European leagues, behind only Achraf Hakimi of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Returning to Genoa will see Romero continue his development and crucially gather first team experience that he would otherwise not get at Juventus. With the likes of Nicolás Otamendi surely nearing the end of their international careers, Argentina will require central defensive reinforcements and ahead of World Cup qualification beginning in March next year, Lionel Scaloni may wish to take a closer look at Romero.