Venezia's midfield will have an American flavor to it upon the club's return to Serie A.
Weeks after signing Tanner Tessmann from FC Dallas for just over $4 million, Venezia has secured a transfer for another 19-year-old, Sporting Kansas City's Gianluca Busio, the MLS club announced on Thursday. The U.S. men's national team midfielder, who was part of the Gold Cup-winning squad that took down Mexico in Sunday's final in Las Vegas, will become the fourth U.S. international in Italy's top flight, with he and Tessmann following Weston McKennie (Juventus) and Bryan Reynolds (AS Roma). All are 22 or younger, but Busio is the only one with Italian ties, as his father is Italian, thus giving him dual-nationality and the advantage of not qualifying as a foreign-player signing. According to ESPN, the transfer fee for Busio can reach $10.5 million with incentives that are hit, and Sporting KC will net 20% of a future sale as part of the deal's sell-on clause. All Sporting KC would say about the fee is that it's a club record.
There could be a third U.S. international at Venezia to follow, with ESPN also reporting that center back Erik Palmer-Brown, a 24-year-old Sporting KC product on the books at Man City but who has spent the last three years on loan to three clubs, could be the next to join.
Busio, meanwhile, links up with a side that is in the first division for the first time since 2001-2002 after it won the Serie B playoff for the final place in Serie A. He has come into his own over the last season and a half with Sporting KC, emerging as a regular starter for manager Peter Vermes at defensive midfield. Busio has seven goals and eight assists in 61 career MLS matches (39 starts) since signing with SKC in August 2017. At the time, he was the second-youngest signing in MLS history behind Freddy Adu at 15 years and 89 days.
“Gianluca has embodied all of the core values we look for in a player,” Vermes said in a statement. “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.”
His final game at Children's Mercy Park wound up being for the U.S. national team, with Busio playing 74 minutes in the U.S.'s 1–0 win over Canada to close the group stage of the Gold Cup. He came off the bench in the final after having started in the quarterfinals and semifinals vs. Jamaica and Qatar, respectively.
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