April 25, 2024

Official: Roma Signs Dean Huijsen on Loan From Juventus

Much has been made of Roma’s beleaguered defense in these spaces over the past few months. Already missing injured center-backs Chris Smalling and Marash Kumbulla, Evan Ndicka’s recent departure to compete with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations has only exacerbated the club’s woes at the back, ditto for Gianluca Mancini’s nagging groin injury.

Closing out 2023, we assumed Roma would add one of Leonardo Bonucci, Oumar Solet, or Nino, but the New Year brought an unexpected twist on the transfer market: Roma’s acquisition of Juventus defender Dean Huijsen, who was unveiled to the public moments ago.

Huijsen, an 18-year-old Dutch center-back, arrives in Rome on a short-term, six-month dry loan with no option to buy. Signed initially from the Malaga youth ranks, Juventus snapped up Huijsen in the summer of 2021. Since then, Huijsen has made 71 appearances for the Old Lady of Italian Football at various youth levels before making his senior debut earlier this season against Milan.

Despite his lack of top-flight experience, Huijsen is generally regarded as one of the crown jewels of Juve’s Next Gen setup. And that acclaim reportedly drew José Mourinho’s interest, with the Special Oné’s putting in a call to convince Huijsen to join Roma rather than Frosinone, where he was initially slated to spend the spring on loan.

On his decision to sign with Roma, Huijsen pointed directly towards Mourinho:

“I was immediately impressed by the welcome I received”

“It was not difficult for me to choose Roma. I’m joining a great club with a great coach and many champions with whom I’ll have the privilege of sharing the changing room. I hope that we can achieve our objectives together.”

Huijsen’s age and lack of experience stick out like a sore thumb, but General Manager Tiago Pinto was quick to alleviate those concerns:

“Despite his young age, we believe Huijsen can make an immediate contribution in the second half of the season. Because of the qualities of our boys, I am certain that his integration into the dressing room will be very quick, and that Dean will be able to swiftly settle into his new surroundings,”

Huijsen will wear the number three shirt for the Giallorossi and should have plenty of chances to test his mettle with Roma’s backline nearly threadbare.

Roma won’t enjoy the long-term benefits of this move, but if this kid is as good as the Juve faithful think, perhaps he’ll give Mourinho’s defense a shot in the arm this spring.

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