Former Preston North End loanee Stephy Mavididi has struck gold with Juventus
One of the more curious tales of the season just finished was a debut for Juventus in Serie A for ex-Preston North End loan man Stephy Mavididi.
Had you told any PNE fan in December 2017, when the winger’s loan from Arsenal was cut short, that he would go on to play for Juventus, they would have laughed.
But 18 months on, Mavididi can claim to be the first English player to have turned out for Juventus since David Platt in 1992.
Mavididi was a second-half substitute for Moise Kean in Juve’s 2-1 defeat to SPAL in April.
The 20-year-old moved to the Italian giants last August for an undisclosed fee from Arsenal.
He played in the Under-23s in Serie C, scoring six goals in 32 appearances.
Mavididi’s form earned him a call-up to the first-team squad, training with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.
After being an unused sub a couple of times, his debut came in the SPAL game when a number of first-team players had been rested ahead of a Champions League game.
He was on the bench again when Juventus won the Serie A title the following week.
North End had taken him on loan from Arsenal on the eve of the 2017/18 campaign, the second signing since Alex Neil became manager.
His Preston bow came in the League Cup defeat against Accrington.
That was one of four starts he made, the others coming in the home games against Barnsley and Bolton, and away at Bristol City.
Mavididi came off the bench a further seven times, his last appearance being in the Boxing Day draw at Barnsley.
The season-long loan was cut short soon after and he signed for Charlton on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
After his stay at The Valley, the next stop was Italy.
Mavididi’s time with Juve has not been without a great deal of sadness.
His dad died soon after Juventus won the title, the club giving Mavididi two weeks off to return to London.
Next season, Mavididi will be joined at Juve by Aaron Ramsey who moves there on a lucrative Bosman at the end of his Arsenal contract.
There has been talk of a loan move back to England for Mavididi but he seems keen to stay in Italy and progress in their structure.
If Mavididi’s story proves anything in football, it is that a loan early in a career does not always shape what is to come in the future.