Preston fans may remember Stephy Mavididi, but ironically, only for a forgettable loan spell at Deepdale last season.
The 20-year-old was coming through the Arsenal ranks, and starred on loan at Charlton Athletic. He was a bag of tricks at The Valley, whilst also showing blistering pace in the Addicks attack.
Arsenal wanted him to continue his development in the Championship, and North End swooped to take him on loan for 2017-18. Alex Neil wanted a real athlete going forward, possessing size, strength, pace as well as technical ability, and Mavididi fit the bill.
Sadly, his stint at Deepdale never really took off. He started just three Championship games, made another seven substitute appearances, and then he was gone. Arsenal recalled him, sending him back to Charlton until the end of the season.
North End fans were left stunned over the summer, when news broke that Juventus had signed Mavididi. The Italian giants and 34-time Serie A champions completed a deal nobody at Deepdale could have expected.
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Juve paid just £500,000 to sign Mavididi, as reported by the London Evening Standard. Mavididi was stashed away in the Juventus Under-23’s, with the general feeling being that he’s one for the future.
Mavididi has hit seven goals in 33 games for Juventus Under-23’s this season, adding an assist too. On Tuesday, his career took another incredible turn.
Juventus won 2-0 away at Cagliari last night, and who was on the bench other than Mavididi. He wasn’t introduced, but Mavididi was given a chance to be around Massimiliano Allegri’s first team in a major step.
We may well see the youngster make his first-team debut for Juve this season, just over a year since his uneventful Preston spell ended. Following in the footsteps of Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck and Josh King in thriving after a dull Preston loan spell, Mavididi is proving people wrong – and maybe Lukas Nmecha will do the same.