Gianluca Busio’s breakout 2021 figured to end with a big transfer move for the talented young midfielder, and after helping the U.S. men’s national team win the Concacaf Gold Cup, Busio can now set his sights on making the jump to one of the world’s top leagues.
Busio has completed his transfer to Serie A side Venezia, Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday.
The 19-year-old was in the midst of a breakout season with Sporting Kansas City, emerging as a game-changing option in midfield, and playing well enough to earn his first call-up to the USMNT. He parlayed that into a prominent role in the team’s run to the Gold Cup title, and will now make the jump to Serie A, where he will be joining fellow American Tanner Tessmann (and potentially Erik Palmer-Brown) at Venezia, along with Juventus and USMNT star Weston McKennie and AS Roma fullback Bryan Reynolds.
“This is a very proud moment for me and my family,” Busio said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has made it possible, especially all the people at Sporting KC who have helped me become the player and person I am today.
Sporting will always have a special place in my heart and I’m grateful to have started my career at such an amazing club. The people, the fans, the city — everything about Kansas City was perfect and it will always feel like home. This is the next step in my career and I’m really excited to join Venezia.”
Busio made 70 appearances for Sporting KC in all competitions, recording eight goals and nine assists. The 2021 season has been his first as a consistent impact starter, blossoming in a deeper-lying midfield role under head coach Peter Vermes, who helped him develop into a more well-rounded two-way midfielder after originally being more of an attack-minded player in his earlier youth national team days.
“Gianluca has embodied all of the core values we look for in a player,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “He has consistently put the team first while demonstrating tremendous professionalism and an unwavering commitment to improving his game and helping the club win. Gianluca is a special talent with outstanding character, and we wish him nothing but the best at Venezia.”
Busio’s growth as a player has been clear to see over the past year, but he will now face an even more difficult challenge competing in Serie A. He struggled at times with the physicality of international competition at the Gold Cup, but if he can earn consistent playing time in Italy, it could help sharpen his game to the point of being able to seriously compete for a starting role in Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT midfield.
A North Carolina native, Busio joined the Sporting KC academy in 2016, and signed a homegrown player contract with SKC a year later at the age of 15.
Busio’s departure is a big blow for Sporting KC, but the Western Conference leaders have already shown during the Gold Cup that it has the depth to cope with Busio’s absence.
The next step for Busio will be fighting for a starting role on a Venezia side set to make its return to Serie A after earning promotion last season. Busio’s play at the Gold Cup has put him in the picture for consideration for the USMNT World Cup qualifying squad, but earning minutes at Venezia will be key to his chances of securing a place for the September World Cup qualifiers.
What do you think of Busio’s move to Venezia? Seeing him thrive in Serie A? Think Italy is a bad fit for him? Would you call him in for the September USMNT qualifiers?
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