Sports

USMNT Midfielder Weston McKennie Has Joined Italian Champions Juventus

A member of the United States men’s national team is headed to the best team in Italy. For weeks, it’s been reported that Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, a native of Texas and a product of the highly-regarded FC Dallas academy, has been in high demand, with clubs in England, France, and Germany wanting to acquire the 22 year old’s services. Earlier this week, however, Juventus came into the fold, and on Saturday, his move became official.

According to Fabrizio Romano of Sky Sports, the deal is a one-year loan. At its conclusion, Juventus has the option to buy, but if he plays in at least 60 percent of the club’s matches this year, that option becomes an obligation.

McKennie arrived in Turin to seal his move on Thursday, one day before his birthday.

Considered one of the cornerstones of the USMNT’s ongoing youth movement, McKennie is a talented and hard-working player, albeit one whose game has some wrinkles that need to be ironed out. He’s a pit bull in the middle of the pitch, battles defensively and when a ball is in the air, and is capable of being a clever passer. He does, however, need to become more consistent as a passer and can have little lapses in focus, but when he is on his game, McKennie is capable of playing in the midfield for a club with the clout of Juventus. Additionally, he’s known for his leadership, as he’s already captained the national team in the 2019 Gold Cup final against Mexico and saw his name in the running to captain Schalke last year.

McKennie joins a club in a period of transition as Italian legend and ex-Juve player Andrea Pirlo took over as manager despite having no coaching experience beyond a nine-day stint as the manager of the club’s U-23 side for nine days prior to his appointment. He brings reinforcements to a midfield that is bringing in Brazil’s Arthur and features France’s Adrian Rabiot and Uruguay’s Rodrigo Bentacur. His best hope, at least at the start, might be to rely on cup matches to get minutes, but if he is able to break into their starting XI, he’d become the first American to play in Serie A since 2016.

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