Luca Clemenza joined Juventus youth academy from Vicenza Calcio in 2011, aged 14. Donned the number 10 shirt as club captain for Juventus´ primavera in the past, Clemenza was one of the biggest talents coming out of the Juventus youth academy. After leaving the academy he was part of Juventus´ U23 squad in Serie C. Because of his potential he was loaned to the first teams of Ascoli Picchio (Serie B) and Calcio Padova (Serie C) between 2018 and 2019.
Since the last winter transfer window, the 22-year-old Italian plays for Pescara in Serie B. However, he is just loaned from Juventus U23 again. Therefore, he might become part of Juve´s first-team squad for the next Serie A campaign as he already played for them last pre-season.
Role in the system
The left-footed playmaker can play anywhere along with the front three, but it was in the number 10 role where he excelled in the academy teams. However, since Nicola Legrottaglie lines up Pescara in a 4-3-3 formation most of the time, Clemenza plays in a deeper central midfield position or as a left-winger.
As you will see in this analysis, he tends to be even better as a number 8 than as a number 10. On his role, Clemenza says: “I would like to become a midfielder like Marchisio”. Former Juventus player Claudio Marchisio was a number 8 as well.
Adapting to the deeper central midfield position could help him to become part of Juventus´ first-team squad since Maurizio Sarri changed his 4-3-1-2 formation into a 4-3-3 formation during the current Serie A campaign. Furthermore, with the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanić three central midfielders of Juventus all aged 30 or older, they could be susceptible to injuries.
Pjanić is linked with several European top clubs and could leave Juventus in summer. That is why Juventus will be looking for a long-term replacement. As the current Covid-19 crisis will make a transfer of a stellar name more difficult, they are likely to give Clemenza a chance.
Most at home finding pockets of space between the opposition´s offensive and midfield line, Clemenza is used to take part in the build-up play of Pescara. Therefore, he drops deep between these two lines. By doing so, he provides a passing option for his teammates in the defence. After receiving the ball, his task is to find a better-positioned teammate in advanced positions. Since the young Italian is a pressing-resistant player, he has no trouble keeping the ball against several opponents. After receiving the ball, he uses his great vision and his intelligent movement to solve the situation.
The image below shows Clemenza dropping deep between the opponent´s offensive and midfield line to receive a pass from the centre-back. Even if he is surrounded by three opponents, he can solve the situation and breaks the press.
The two images below serve as a blueprint for that. Again, Clemenza drops deep between the opposition´s offensive and midfield line. He receives the ball from a centre-back. At the same time, he pulls out a central midfielder from the opposition’s midfield line.
That is why he is surrounded by three opponents once again. But, by making the movement he opened up a big space in the centre of the pitch. Three of his teammates recognize this space and fill it. Playing an interface pass into this area, Clemenza is able to initiate an attack.
Clemenza does not only use this interface passes to break the opponent´s press. Furthermore, he uses them in attack as well. Clemenza´s ability to read the game wisely provides a huge advantage in those situations as he finds a free-standing teammate in nearly every moment during a match. By playing the interface passes, Clemenza easily breaks the opposition´s lines and creates lots of space for his teammates.
In the following image, Clemenza receives the ball on the right-wing. He uses an interface pass, to play the ball to his teammate, who can use lots of space in the opposition´s box to create a goal-scoring opportunity afterwards.
In the next image, Clemenza is in a deeper position of the pitch between the opponent´s offensive and midfield line including 8 players. With one interface pass, he is able to break the opponent´s midfield and defensive line. Afterwards, Pescara´s forward is completely free in front of the goal and only needs to beat the goalkeeper.
The image below shows a similar example but in a more advanced position on the pitch. Clemenza plays an interface pass behind the opposition´s defensive line. Thanks to his intelligence he can pass the ball in the perfect moment so that his teammate is still onside. Again, Pescara´s forward only has to beat the goalkeeper to score another goal.
As already mentioned, Clemenza can play interface passes during the whole match. Even in situations that you would not expect it. In the situation below, Clemenza uses his technical ability to play an interface pass with his back heel. Not many players are that technically gifted.
Even if these passes need to be done quickly and perfect-timed, Clemenza boasts a quite good rate of 81,2% accurate passes.
Clemenza´s signature move is to playing chip-balls into the penalty area. Again, he benefits from his technical ability. These through passes in behind the opposition´s defensive line tend to be very demanding as they need to be played in the perfect moment and with a very good touch. That is why it is even more astonishing that Clemenza plays these chip-balls on a regularly base and often with only one touch. This kind of passing style is very efficient against deep-lying defensive lines which try to close off space. The following three images provide you with examples.
In the first one, Clemenza is playing a chip-ball in the perfect moment. That is why Pescara´s forward is still staying on-side and only has to beat the goalkeeper after receiving the pass.
In the next situation, Clemenza receives the ball from a teammate on the right side of the pitch. Thanks to his overview, he recognizes the right-winger making a run into free space. Therefore, Clemenza plays a chip-ball with only one touch in behind the defensive line.
In the next image, Clemenza recognizes the smart movement of Juventus´ forward who is running into the penalty area. Clemenza sets him up with a perfect-timed chip-ball and the forward can score another goal.
The map below provides you with Clemenza´s deliveries into the penalty area. Most of them are played as chip-balls from the half-space and from a distance of 20-25 meters in front of the opposition´s goal.
Of course, the passes are risky and if they are accurate, they will lead to a goal very often. Nevertheless, only 52,8% off these long passes are accurate. That is why Clemenza will have to work on this passing method to make it even more efficient.
If there is no opportunity to play such a chip-ball into the penalty area, Clemenza uses his long-range shooting ability to shoot from outside the penalty box.
In the following image, his teammates do not provide any passing options for Clemenza. Two of them stay off-side and the centre-forward is marked very closely by one of the centre-backs. That is why Clemenza has to shoot as he is surrounded by three opponents and has not much time on the ball. But, the shot is not precise enough.
In the image below, Clemenza is approximately 22 meters in front of the goal and tries his luck because no teammate is in a more advanced position and Clemenza has not much time left to make a decision. Again, the ball will not find the back of the net.
In some situations, Clemenza could use his teammates instead of using his shooting ability. The following situation is an example. After a short-played free-kick, Clemenza is in an advanced position. The defensive line lies very deep and four teammates are ready to start a run in behind the defensive line. This would be an excellent opportunity for another chip-ball. Nevertheless, Clemenza decides to shoot above the target.
Therefore, it shows that Clemenza has to improve his decision-making as well as his shooting ability. 78% of his shots are made from wider areas. However, only 38,2% of his shots are on target. As you can see in the shot map below, most of his shots are blocked and only three shots lead to a goal.
Clemenza´s off-the-ball movement is particularly important concerning Prescara´s counterattacks. Even if Clemenza is good in dribbling, he does not hold the ball for a long time. Instead, he tries to find better-positioned and free-standing teammates to counterattack quickly. After playing a pass, he immediately starts a well-timed surging run, ideally, from the deep into zone 14.
In the following image, Clemenza went into a 1-vs.-1 dribbling. By finding a better-positioned player, he passes the ball on and immediately starts a run into the opponent´s half.
Some seconds later, he will get the ball back in a central position with lots of space. Because of his pass, Pescara did not lose time during the counterattack. Because of his movement, Clemenza is in an advanced position.
In the next example, Clemenza already dribbled past three opponents as he recognizes Prescara´s free-standing left-back. Therefore, he plays the ball out wide onto the left wing and immediately starts a run to the opponent´s box.
The left-back can use lots of space and has lots of time to create a goal-scoring opportunity. Because of Clemenza´s smart movement, the left-back has one more crossing option.
In the following situation, Pescara is in a counterattack again. This time, they can take advantage of a 4-vs.-4 situation. Clemenza is in possession. In the perfect moment (defender starts to pull out of the defensive line), he passes the ball to Pescara´s forward and starts his surging run again. As a result, Pescara´s forward can play a direct one-two-pass in behind the defensive line and Clemenza only has to beat the goalkeeper.
His “pass-and-go”-movement leads to more completed counterattacks and only few ball losses. You can see that in the map below as he only played three inaccurate passes and lost only one dribble. It means that 83,4% of his actions during a counterattack are successful.
Clemenza is known for his intensive playing style. Therefore, without possession, he presses the opponents high up the pitch trying to leave no space for passing options. In the following two images, Clemenza marks the black space in behind.
In the first situation, Clemenza makes a straight run to the opponent in possession. This quick run is essential to cut the passing lane off down the line as the passing lane into the midfield area is already cut by his teammates. Because Clemenza is cutting the passing lane on the left side, his opponent has no passing option and has to play a long ball leading to a loss.
In the second situation, the midfield area is not marked by any teammates. That is why Clemenza does a curved-run to the opponent in possession. In this way, he can cover lots of space in the midfield area and forces the opponent´s left-back to play a long ball again.
Whether as a left-winger or as a central midfielder, the young Italian is one of the most hardworking players in Pescara´s squad. Most of his ball recoveries are made through counterpressing, often in the opposition´s half. The map below provides you with all ball recoveries Clemenza made.
Clemenza is a great talent from the Juventus academy and still has lots of potential. Playing 6 out of 7 possible games in Serie B is a good start but there are some areas to improve. In the meanwhile, Clemenza will turn 23 years old in July. It will be interesting to see where he will play next season.
Antonio Bocchetti, Pescara sporting director, spoke about the market situation linked to some players in the squad. The Abruzzese club includes among the players some jewels on loan, or on which they still boast rights, from the big names of the Serie A such as Juventus and Inter. He revealed the intentions of Clemenza, who distinguished himself with the ‘dolphins’: “I would like to keep him”.
Therefore, Bochetti will try to retain the talent in the squad. However, he must be good at avoiding any request from Juventus, who certainly will not want to miss potential great talent for the future.
Clemenza recently told via Instagram: “If I am thinking of returning to Juve? Many have asked me that. The dream is that maybe one day I will be able to return. I spent many years at Juventus, the team that raised me both as a player and as a man. In the future, I would like to conquer Serie A with Pescara even if the biggest dream remains to play in the top-flight with Juventus.”
Some of the fans view him as a future player of “La Vecchia Signora”. However, he still has a lot of work to do to deserve the shirt made famous by Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, Carlos Tevez, Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano Ronaldo etc. – true football legends.