The young French striker Marley Aké has been in Italy for almost a year and continues his acclimatization work at Juventus. Although he has not yet started with the first team, he has become an important player for the U23 team in the Italian third division.
On January 28, Juventus announced yet another double transfer. After two such operations with Barça (Arthur – Pjanic and Matheus Pereira – Alejandro Marques), two others with Manchester City (Danilo – Joao Cancelo and Felix Correia – Pablo Moreno) as well as the one with Roma (Luca Pellegrini – Leonardo Spinazzola ), the Piedmontese club formalized the arrival of Marley Aké against a check for eight million euros and the departure in the other direction of Franco Tongya for the same sum. If the accounting mechanism is well understood by all, a year later, it is time to take stock of the first months of the former OM player on the other side of the Alps.
Marley Aké started in the Old Lady’s U23 team. They are the only professional reserve team in Italy, as Juve were the only club to seize this opportunity created by the Italian sports authorities in 2018. The goal for the Turin club is to be able to play its many young players under contract at a level higher than the Primavera championship, the U19 competition. In the Italian third division, young talents face adult players with a higher degree of competitiveness.
Tactical and physical progression
Used to playing an offensive offensive position, Marley Aké has discovered other realities in the Juve jersey since his arrival. Aligned as a right midfielder and even sometimes at the side position as against Mantova and Seregno, he develops a certain versatility with the Bianconeri. « I do not have the characteristics of a side, but I can play there », he confided in mid-November after the match against Fiorenzuola, where the young French winger took the opportunity to score two goals, on two strikes from both feet. « Today, I tried to strike on goal several times and I’m happy to have contributed to this victory, he added. It is certainly the right path. We must continue on this path to obtain results. important as today. «
He also returned to his adaptation to a very different football where tactical rigor is an essential component of the daily life of young footballers: « The coach makes me work a lot tactically, that’s where I can progress as well as on the aspect. defensive. » Marco Baridon, editor for the specialist site Juventusnews24, and follower of the U23 team, confirms the progress: « He has improved a lot since the start of the season, compared to his first months here where he first had to adapt to this new type of football. Lamberto Zauli (the coach, editor’s note) made him play in several positions and it is on this aspect that he has perhaps evolved the most: he works on the phases without the ball in a difficult level for young players. «
His physical transformation had questioned many supporters of Olympique de Marseille a few weeks ago, after the publication of a photo on the player’s social networks. Like many young foreigners arriving in Italy, working out in the gym, before and after training, and demanding every moment often results in fairly rapid muscle gain.
Summoned three times for first-team matches by Andrea Pirlo last season (Verona, Spezia and Lazio), Marley Aké had not entered the game and therefore has yet to make his professional debut. The arrival of Massimiliano Allegri also brought its share of differences. Where Pirlo seemed inclined to give their first minutes of play to some young people (Dragusin, Fagioli, Di Pardo, Rafia, Correia, Wesley), Allegri is more rigid.
« The path drawn by the current coach of Juve is to first go through a loan, mainly in Serie B, » confirms Marco Baridon. Indeed, this summer, the six young people who started last season with Pirlo were sent on loan, in addition to other young people like Filippo Ranocchia. But all is not lost for Marley Aké. On the lawn of Chelsea this Tuesday evening, the Belgian defender Koni de Winter, 19, made his first appearance with the first team, during the last ten minutes of the meeting.
This summer, Marley Aké played a few minutes in the first friendlies of the season against Cesena and Monza. If he has not yet started with the professionals, the former Marseillais remains satisfied with his choice to join Italy.
« I feel stronger, that’s why I came to Juve, he commented a few days ago. I feel that I have progressed and I think Juve were the best choice for that. » The Italian Cup matches will arrive in less than two months and if he continues to perform well with the U23 (4 goals, 2 assists), a first call-up this season could well fall. As he turns 21 at the beginning of January, a nice birthday present could arrive a few weeks late.