The number of American partnerships at European clubs has continued to grow this summer. From AC Milan to PSV to Fulham, U.S. men’s national team players are teaming up at an alarming rate at club level.
Juventus joined that list of European clubs after the Serie A club acquired Timothy Weah in a permanent deal from Lille, teaming him up with fellow USMNT teammate Weston McKennie. Unlike Weah who has a fresh start, McKennie returned to Juventus this summer after a frustrating loan spell with Leeds United during the second half of last season.
McKennie was linked with a potential move away from the Old Lady earlier this summer, but since has remained a contributor in Massimiliano Allegri’s squad before the September international break. Now with his latest USMNT opportunity in front of him, McKennie reflected on what he’s witnessed so far in his time back in Turin.
“Coming back to Juventus wasn’t easy,” McKennie said Thursday in a press conference with reporters. “I left the club at a time of crisis, I guess you could say.
“And so coming back I felt like I started back at square zero, but that is a challenge I’m always up for, a challenge that I think I needed at this time in my career to kind of prove to people that I still have it,” he added.
Both McKennie and Weah have appeared in all three matches for Juventus in the early stages of the new season, helping the Old Lady earn seven points out of nine available. Weah, who featured heavily for Lille as a wing back last season, has retained that role in Italy, playing on the right side of Allegri’s 3-5-2 formation.
McKennie and Weah have even replaced each other at times in the squad, with the 25-year-old McKennie recently starting ahead of Weah in a 2-0 victory over Empoli. Although both players will be in their more natural roles with the USMNT against Uzbekistan and Oman, they remain open to playing anywhere possible.
“You’re looking at starting right wingback and backup right wingback right now,” McKennie said jokingly. “With us being able to play so many different positions and being able to adapt to so many situations and roles, I think it’s a good quality to have. I don’t think that we really stress that much about it.”
“It was still very much a learning phase for me,” Weah said. “I think Juve was more of a defensive team last year and they definitely brought me in to play more of an attacking role, coming out the back, which is something I love doing, getting runs in behind the defense, just applying pressure.”
Juventus will certainly hope for continued production from both Weah and McKennie this season with only the Serie A and Coppa Italia trophies up for grabs. A 10-point deduction led to a seventh-place finish in Serie A for the Old Lady last season, one that ultimately eliminated them from Champions League contention.
McKennie and Weah are just one of several American partnerships in Europe’s top leagues this season and both will be relying on their continued chemistry to get Juventus back among the trophy chases in 2023-24.
“I understand how he plays. He understands how I play. So our chemistry is really good,” Weah said of McKennie. “Now that we’re on the same team, training every day is just going to make it even better.”
“Outside of the field, I can be a little bit little bit too much for Tim at some times,” McKennie said. “But on the field…we have a good understanding of each other and coming into camp, it’s good to have a travel partner.”