Juventus FC have signed Italy defender Nicola Legrottaglie from AC Chievo Verona in a €7m deal.
The 26-year-old Italian international had a great season with Chievo and had been linked with several other leading clubs including AS Roma and AC Milan but has decided to join the Italian champions. As part of the transfer, Juve will allow Italy Under-21 striker Giuseppe Sculli, who scored eight goals in Serie A last season while on loan at Modena FC, and youth-team youngsters Daniele Gastaldello and Matteo Paro to join Chievo. However, the Turin club will retain joint ownership of the trio.
Delighted by move
Signing for the UEFA Champions League runners-up is a huge step forward for Legrottaglie, at the end of his second top-flight campaign. "I'm extremely happy," he said. "I look forward to getting in touch with Juve's winning mentality and proving that the Bianconeri directors made the right decision in signing me," said the former AC Pistoiese, AC Prato, Reggiana AC and Modena player.
Plenty to learn
Juve have been keen to add young blood to a defence which had the meanest record in Italy last season, but is dominated by veterans. Ciro Ferrara is 36, Paolo Montero and Gianluca Pessotto 32, while Lilian Thuram is just a year a year younger. Legrottaglie said he hoped such experience would help him develop. "I will have the chance to learn so many things tactically, technically and physically," he added. "Training with a fantastic professional like Ferrara and with players like Thuram and Montero,
I will be able to improve day by day. I will try to understand all their secrets."
The centre-back made 30 appearances in the 2002/03 season, scoring four goals to establish himself as one of the best defenders in the country. Legrottaglie was rewarded with a call-up to the Italy squad and made his debut in a friendly against Turkey in November. He has subsequently won five more caps, scoring once in a friendly against Switzerland.
Legrottaglie becomes coach Marcello Lippi's third summer recruit. After the return of midfield player Manuele Blasi from AC Perugia last month, Juve confirmed that striker Fabrizio Miccoli, also loaned out to Perugia last season, would be part of their plans for the coming campaign.