[dropcap]I[/dropcap]talian giants Juventus have orchestrated some shrewd business when it comes to young French starlets out of contract at other major European clubs.
The Bianconeri convinced Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United on a free transfer back in 2012, with the all-action midfielder playing a decisive role in recent successes and arguably being one of the most valuable players in world football currently.
However, at 22 Pogba is the seasoned campaigner of Juve’s French contingent, with 19-year-old prodigy Kingsley Coman following a similar route to Turin as his compatriot.
The versatile attacker is a product of the Paris Saint-Germain youth academy and rose through the French club’s youth ranks and into first-team contention as a teenager.
Coman became PSG’s youngest-ever player when he made his Ligue 1 debut at 16, while he has been a starlet that the French age-grade levels have fast-tracked over the years.
The exciting attacker earned more than 30 caps as part of his European nation’s youth ranks from under-16 to under-21 level, and up until he left the Parc des Princes was regarded as one of France’s brightest young prospects.
However, out of contract at PSG and facing the prospect of contesting a first-team spot with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović and Edinson Cavani, Coman made the choice to end a ten-year affiliation with the capital city side in 2014.
Like in the case of Pogba, Juve moved quickest to snatch up the young prodigy and immediately made him part of their senior squad.
Over the course of last season, Coman was used predominantly as a substitute and alternative for Carlos Tevez, injecting speed and energy to the Italian side’s attack when called upon. He also made an appearance from the bench in Juve’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
Although he only started five Serie A games in his debut campaign with Max Allegri’s men, the Frenchman showed enough potential and ability to suggest he had a bright future with Juventus.
With Tevez leaving Turin in the summer and a Bianconeri squad changing personnel, it was only natural that the club’s fans felt that Coman would play a more substantial role in the starting XI this term.
Coman was selected to start the first game of the new campaign, a disappointing 1-0 loss to Udinese at home, which may well be the last game he ever plays for the historic Italian club.
Soon after, it was announced that German powerhouses Bayern Munich had secured the 19-year-old’s services on a two-year loan deal, with an option to make the deal permanent afterwards.
Following Arturo Vidal from Turin to the Allianz Arena, the Juventus fans will be scratching their heads over the logic behind letting Coman leave the club.
The Bundesliga side will have paid a relatively sizeable fee to secure the loan, believed to be €7 million, while a permanent switch would add €21 million to the Frenchman’s fee.
However, Juventus have not been at their best this season and surely could use someone of Coman’s explosive abilities to help them on the pitch.
For Bayern, who have the allure and spending power to land just about anyone in world football apart from a select few, a move for Coman shows just how highly regarded the youngster is.
The teenager has been used by Pep Guardiola on the flanks, starting seven domestic games so far this season, more than he did at Juve last term, and scored three goals in the process.
Alongside fellow impressive wide addition Douglas Costa, the Frenchman has played a role in rejuvenating Bayern’s options in wide areas and reduced dependence on ageing pair Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry
Coman has also made the natural progression from the French under-21 set-up into the senior squad, with it looking like the 19-year-old will be a feature of Les Bleus’ squad for next summer’s Euro 2016 tournament on home soil.
Juventus’ quick thinking to sign both Pogba and Coman on free transfers will surely have the Serie A side much richer when the pair inevitably leave Turin for good.
However, the 19-year-old has been thriving at Bayern Munich, one of the best teams in world football, and as such it suggests that the Italians have let Coman leave the club way too early.
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