Juventus sign Atalanta defender Caldara

Turin, Jan 13 (IANS) Juventus have signed Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara for $15 million euros ($15.9 million) in a contract running till June 30, 2021 but he will stay with his former football club on loan till June 30, 2018.

“Juventus Football Club can confirm that Mattia Caldara has agreed a permanent switch from Atalanta until June 30, 2021 for a fee of 15 million euros,” the Turin giants said in a statement on Thursday.

“This sum, payable in four financial years, may increase by a further six million euros ($6.3 million) upon achieving certain conditions over the duration of the contract,” it added.

“At the same time, Juventus has reached an agreement with Atalanta for the free loan until June 30, 2018 of the 22-year-old defender and a bonus of maximum four million euros ($4.2 million) will be paid to the Nerazzurri on the condition he achieves certain sports performances.”

It can be noted that veteran Italian defender Andrea Barzagli’s contract ends on June 30, 2018. The 35-year-old is part of Juventus’ famed BBC defensive trio alongside (Leonardo) Bonucci and (Giorgio) Chiellini.

With Caldara’s signing, Juventus will have the luxury of phasing out the ageing stalwart.

Physically strong and capable of reading the game extremely well for a player of his tender age, Caldara is one of several highly talented players to have emerged in recent times from Atalanta’s well-renowned youth sector.

After making his Atalanta debut in the 2013/14 season, Bergamo-born Caldara spent the next two campaigns on loan at Serie B sides Trapani and Cesena, for whom he played 22 and 27 matches respectively, scoring twice for the Sicilians before finding the net three times last season in Emilia Romagna.

Upon returning to Atalanta in the summer, Caldara has hit the ground running with a series of highly impressive displays at the heart of their defence, contributing in no small part to the current sixth-placed club’s strong start to 2016/17 Serie A.

Testament to his calm and composure on the ball are the fact he has lost possession just 74 times this term — almost half as often as the average for Serie A defenders, according to Juventus’ website.

Caldara is also capable of launching attacks from deep thanks to his neat distribution skills — he has hit 118 forward balls and completed 266 passes this season — and he’s also shown a clinical eye in front of goal, converting three of his four shots on target.

–IANS

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