As we inch towards the opening of the January transfer window, the rumors are flying thick and fast. One of the more popular ones this past week has been that Fiorentina are going to put in an offer for Feyenoord Rotterdam defender Jeremiah St. Juste. Rags in Italy and in the Netherlands have reported Viola interest for the versatile 22-year-old, but now Pantaleo Corvino has returned fire by denying that he even knows who the player is.
Of course, we’ve all learned to take the Crow’s statements with a grain of salt; after all, one doesn’t become the patron saint of the out-of-the-blue transfer by telling the world one’s intentions. On the other hand, Corvino is a master of smoke and mirrors, taking a singularly Italian delight in mercato misdirection by leveraging media reports and cryptic statements into a Byzantine labyrinth of maybes.
In fairness, St. Juste sure looks like a Corvino target. As a tremendous athlete, the Dutchman boasts the pace to run with most forwards, but he’s also got the strength and leaping ability to repel opponents in the box. Capable of playing on the right or through the center, his pace offers a threat in attack as well, although he hasn’t quite put everything together going forward; his specialty is blazing past a pressing striker from centerback and forcing the opposing midfield to close him down, pulling opponents out of shape. A good tackler, the most common criticism of him seems to be a tendency to lose his man and rely on his physical gifts to recover.
Having broken into the Heereveen first team as an 18-year-old, he earned a €4.8 million move to Rotterdam last year and has only improved since. As a U21 international, he’s earned 9 caps (and scored, which isn’t surprising considering how often he pops up with a goal) and is probably starting to garner some consideration for a young and dynamic senior Orjanje side. As part of a famous family—his brother Benjamin is a professional futsal player, brother Yoshua is a Dutch futsal international, and sister Naomi is a model—he probably wouldn’t be cowed by the step up from the Eredivisie to Serie A.
We’ve heard enough chatter about this rumor to give it some credence, but we’ve also learned over the years that it’s a fool’s errand to try and predict what exactly Corvino’s got up his capacious sleeves. Although the role of promising, young, and crazy athletic centerback/rightback seems to be occupied by Nikola Milenković on this Viola roster, there’s been no shortage of rumors around Manchester United, among others, preparing bids for the Mountain. If he goes, St. Juste would make for an intriguing and talented replacement for both the short- and long-term.