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Can Angelo Ogbonna Take Center Stage At Juventus?

Angelo Ogbonna

Following the acquisitions of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta decided that the Bianconeri weren’t done their summer shopping. He opted to pursue Torino defender and Italian international Angelo Ogbonna. Eventually, Marotta got his man, for around €13 million.

Many are now wondering what the 25-year-old can provide the Old Lady with. After all, he’s going to be playing second fiddle behind the usual back three of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Andrea Barzagli. The price tag is a bit steep for a backup, but there are a lot of benefits that Ogbonna brings to the table.

Despite his age, Ogbonna is still quite young as a defender. Generally, most of them hit their peaks between the ages of 29 and 33. Since the centre back’s professional debut with Torino, he’s gradually progressed in his play.

At a young age, Ogbonna could only tackle with his left foot, his stronger foot. As such, he was often exposed on his right side. Even though he was strong in the air and generally skilled with the ball at his feet, the Nigerian-Italian struggled to play with both feet.

He overcame that under Giampiero Ventura when the tactician took over the Granata. The new coach deployed a 4-2-4 as his original system, where Ogbonna started as a left sided centre back. In the latter portion of 2012/13, Ventura changed to a 3-5-2, the same formation that Juventus boss Antonio Conte utilizes, where Ogbonna kept the same position.

Not only has Ogbonna’s club career come leaps and bounds, so has his international experience. The Euro 2012 call-up gave him valuable experience, even though he never played a single game. Ogbonna has won six caps, but also has 10 appearances with the U-21 squad. Prandelli’s trust in the 25-year-old when he was in Serie B has only enhanced the development.

Now under Antonio Conte in the preseason, Ogbonna is already showing off just how powerful he is. He’s been one of the standouts in the squad, proving that the €13 million spent on him was well worth it. Since the Bianconeri utilize the same system that Torino used in the second half of this past season, Ogbonna picks up right where he left off.

Considering the strength of Juve’s back line, Ogbonna may not earn as many appearances as his last two years at Torino. However, what he can acquire is experience from some top players such as Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon. Even training under them can help. He’ll gain more mental strength, and he can assimilate to the Juventus way of life.

Just two years ago, Ogbonna stated that he would never wear Bianconero. Now, he’ll be doing that for [most likely] many years to come. The price tag for the defender increased over the years, but Juventus decided to take a gamble on him, and now it appears that their wager will pay off big time.