Juventus Defender Paolo De Ceglie Keen for MLS Move

by on 10 March 2017

Major League Soccer has proven to be a viable home for former Juventus players. In Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto) and Andrea Pirlo (NYCFC), the Old Lady has provided MLS with a pair of notable talents. Now, left back Paolo De Ceglie is eyeing a move across the Atlantic. De Ceglie is keen to move to MLS and Minnesota United FC is on his shortlist of destinations.

Paolo De Ceglie has been in Juventus’ ranks since 1995, when he was just nine years old. He made his senior debut at age 20, playing a prominent role in their promotion after the Calciopoli scandal. After a year on loan with Serie A side Siena in 2007-08 (making 29 appearances), he rejoined Juventus in the top flight the following year. Altogether, the 30-year-old left back has made 100 appearances for the Old Lady, scoring twice. He made a combined 57 appearances during loans to Siena, Genoa, Parma, and Marseille. The Italian also served as team captain in many of these appearances, highlighting his leadership abilities.

“Yes, it is true,” De Ceglie’s agent, Mario de Rossi, told FiftyFive.One. “Paolo is considering a number of options during what is a very important juncture in his career. He has enjoyed a wonderful time with Juventus, from boy to man, working with some of the best players and coaches in the world and winning the Scudetto under the guidance of Antonio Conte.”

The left back is ready for a change of scenery, having spent over half a lifetime with Juventus. Meanwhile, MLS is not an unknown commodity for De Ceglie. He still keeps in close touch with Pirlo and Giovinco.

“He is motivated to win more titles and play more,” de Rossi confirmed. “Does he watch MLS? Of course. He has friends playing in this league. Andrea and Sebastian speak very positively of football in America and it caught the attention of Paolo when they moved there. This is a league growing at a fantastic rate and, after watching the matches, Paolo feels it could be a good complement to his abilities.”

“It is very early stages, but we feel comfortable in expressing our interest in the league. We feel a solution is possible with the right team and I know the potential of playing in Major League Soccer is one that excites Paolo.”

About the fit

De Rossi confirmed that Minnesota United is on the shortlist of clubs that the left back is considering. “We understand Minnesota is seeking defenders,” per the agent, “but does not have an international player spot. Given how quickly these things change, we are remaining open.” De Ceglie profiles as a true two-way full back and is as proficient at tackling as he is crossing the ball. You can check out his 2015 highlights below.

Earlier in the week, Adrian Heath told FiftyFive.One that the Loons weren’t done making moves before the roster freeze. Though right back Jérôme Thiesson is joining the cause, De Ceglie plays on the opposite side of the field. Currently, Minnesota only has one left back on the roster: longtime starter Justin Davis.

De Ceglie’s contract ends during the summer, but the player won’t rule out leaving before then. With experience at one of the most elite clubs in the world, De Ceglie would improve nearly any MLS backline immediately — especially given the relatively-thin pool of talent at left back in the league. At this stage, it sounds like a matter of if, not when, a potential move could occur. That Minnesota United is in the running for a player of his caliber is an encouraging sign for the club.

Minnesota United declined to comment for this report.

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  • Chris RB

    YES. PLEASE. Question is: who is traded/released/etc to clear an international spot? I’d vote Bernardo. Nothing personal, but we need a defender before another winger.

    • Daniel Casey

      Anor makes sense but unloading an injured player is iffy. might it make more sense to move Ibson?

      • Chris RB

        That’s a good point. I’d hate to lose Ibson, because I think he can be a solid MLS player… but I do think he’d be the next choice to get rid of. Another option would be to trade allocation money for another international spot I suppose.

        • Kevin Hill

          Would rather they dump Añor then trade money for another temporary spot.

          • Chris RB

            I would as well, but I don’t know the CBA rules about trading or releasing an injured player

      • Kate Sophia

        Is Ibson close to a green card, maybe?

  • John

    I love it! Keep it going Minnesota!

  • Alberto Valsecchi

    In the last 3 years De Ceglie spent more time on the bench than on the pitch and now he is out of the roster of Juventus.
    In January 2017 De Ceglie refused to go to Bologna (Saputo Team) and to the chinese team Wuhan Zall.

    Having said that, I think that he should change the air and he could be a rejuvenated good player for MNUFC but I am afraid that he wants at least 1.3 millions euro/year (his current salary in Juventus until July).
    I wonder if MNUFC can/want spend this money for a defender.

    • Jeff Rueter

      I checked with Mr. de Rossi on a couple of those points, Alberto.

      – “Paolo never declined a proposal from Bologna. He only declined some Serie B low table proposals made by Juventus just to provoke him.”

      – “Figures reported by Valsecchi are totally false as well.” I’m assuming you’re referring to the figure on Google from 2012?

      • Alberto Valsecchi

        I reported the figures from Wikipedia:

        2014-2015 Parma 11 (3)

        2015 Juventus 2 (0)

        2015-2016 O. Marsiglia 7 (0)

        2016- Juventus 0 (0)

        2017-so far Juventus 0 (0)

        • Jeff Rueter

          Oh, I think he meant the salary figures ($1.3M).

  • Adi C

    I would love to see Paolo play for us. In my honest opinion, our two biggest problems in our defense are/were the half backs not the CB’s, although Demidov has his big weaknesses at the spot (too slow and not physical enough, although that can be corrected by his soccer smarts). When your CB’s have to drift to the sides too often or too wide to double or cover for your halfback mistakes, they leave big holes in the middle, that a speedy attacker will easily take advantage (like we saw in the first two games). No offense, but neither K. Venegas nor Davis are yet real starter type players that can take you to the playoff and bring you silverware. At this point they are good backups with potential to grow, but that is all.
    We kind of took care of the right flank when we signed Thiessen, as proven in the game in Colorado. Heck, he played great on the left flank as well, after Davis ejection. him and Calvo having a better chemistry. And that speaks volumes about our left flank and the need for a better LB. De Ceglie would bring stability and a boatload of international experience at every level. Davis would benefit immensely from competing with Paolo for the spot, Calvo will not have to worry that much about his left side, our goalies will feel more confident, will only need one sweeper DM to roam in front of the box and allow Schuller or another Creative Midfielder freedom to roam from box to box and distribute the ball to our wings/forward. In a nutshell, our defense will be stronger and the entire team will become a force to be recon with.