Hellas Verona and Juan Iturbe: An important decision to make

After a massively successful season on loan at Hellas Verona in 2013-14, it has been confirmed that Juan Iturbe has joined the ambitious Serie A side on a permanent basis.

Andrea Mandorlini’s men have exercised the option to make the talented Argentine’s move from Porto permanent, shelling out a cool club-record €15 million in the process.

After massive hype about the potential of Iturbe following his emergence in South America, a move to the Estádio do Dragão proved largely unfruitful.

It was only when given a fresh lease of life at the Stadio Marc’ Antonio Bentegodi that the 20-year-old finally started to live up to the illustrious moniker of ‘the next Messi’ – and as such the Italian club have made an excellent decision to spend big to keep him.

Iturbe played a considerable role in Mandorlini’s charges excelling in their first season back in the top flight, with eight goals and four assists helping the side to an admirable 10th placed finish.

Add to this breathtaking moments of individual skill, trickery and the physical attributes to match and it is easy to see that the Argentine was one of the stars of Verona’s season.

As with any promotion to a top flight, staying up in the first season is only the beginning. Despite having a great campaign under their belts, the Gialloblu will have their work cut out to replicate it next term.

Iturbe’s signature is a plus-point, but the club will now have a decision to make.

Juan IturbeThe ex-Cerro Porteño man’s stellar feats have not gone unnoticed, with transfer rumblings linking the attacker to major European clubs consistently doing the rounds in the press.

Verona are likely to have to field enquiries about Iturbe’s availability this summer and their response will be mightily important.

A club with modest means, the pre-determined €15m to bring him to Verona could well be superseded if the Italian side opt to give-in to a suitor’s advances, with a tidy profit being made in the process.

With 36-year-old Luca Toni scoring 20 Serie A goals last term and turning 37 this coming Monday, and dynamic midfielder Jorginho moving to Napoli in January, it is clear that the club must strengthen in the off-season.

The money spent on the Argentine will be a considerable percentage of their available budget and as such there could be the feeling of putting all their eggs in one basket should they opt to keep Iturbe.

To sell him on for immediate financial gain would allow for the arrival of a number of new players and the potential strengthening of the collective.

On the other hand, after an impressive bedding-in period, Iturbe’s second season in Italy would hold much promise and excitement.

There is absolutely no reason why he could not improve on his breathtaking performances even further next term and be the talisman of a progressive side.

Hindsight is certainly a wonderful thing, but one the powers-that-be at Verona do not possess.

The right decision could see this historic club follow an exciting campaign in Serie A with another top-half finish, while the wrong choice could see them suffer the second-season blues.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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