This summer could prove pivotal if Italy under-21 captain Patrick Cutrone is going to start realising his potential.
After bursting onto the San Siro scene as a tenacious 19-year-old in 2017, Cutrone netted 13 goals in the next two seasons with the Rossoneri.
He has represented his country in all age-groups and also has a single senior cap to his name.
However, a disastrous move to Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers and frustrating loan spells with Fiorentina and now Valencia threaten to derail his progress.
At Wolves, he was quickly appreciated by the fans thanks mainly to his workrate from the bench.
That wasn’t the case for boss Nuno Espirito Santo, though, who stuck with Mexico star Raul Jimenez as his main striker.
That pivotal link-up role was not suited to Cutrone’s style, and opportunities quickly became limited. In truth, it was a move away from a front two early in his first season at Molineux that impacted the Italian the most.
Wolves had ended the campaign before Cutrone’s arrival with Jimenez and Diogo Jota up front as the manager looked to add extra legs in central midfield.
There’s an argument that Cutrone was bought to add competition to that system and may well have thrived being able to form a partnership with Raul.
However, once Nuno reverted to his favoured 343 formation just a few weeks into the season, Cutrone found himself competing with Raul for the only central striker role rather than partnering him.
The bigger issue for Cutrone since that spell at Molineux has been his lack of game-time out on loan.
Failure to break into the Fiorentina team back in Serie A raised even more doubts, as has a frustrating lack of action in La Liga with Valencia.
Once compared to Filippo Inzaghi for his ability to sniff out a goal-scoring opportunity, Curtone must now get his next move right if he is to restart his stalling career.
While in the wilderness at club level, he now skippers the Italy under-21s and seems to be at his best when pulling on the famous blue jersey of his homeland.
It is those showings for the Gli Azzurrini that offer hope for the now 23-year-old hitman.
He recently netted twice against Slovenia as Italy booked their place in the Uefa Under-21 European Championships and will be a key part of their plans to lift the trophy.
They can still be backed at 8/1 with popular sportsbooks like LeoVegas and could be seen as a good outside bet for glory as the competition reaches the knockout stages. Reading up on different LeoVegas review resources offers more information and bonus codes for betting with them.
How Italy and Cutrone perform in the latter stages of the tournament could also have a big impact on his options ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
“My season hasn’t been lucky as unfortunately I’m not getting the playing time I want,” he told RAI Sport after his brace against Slovenia.
“But I will always give my best, because this is the best sport in the world and I know my moment will come.
“I thank the coach, as he always believes in me, puts his faith in me and that means a great deal. I am convinced this is a great team and we can go far.”
Wolves are looking to find a buyer this summer but reports suggest that Valencia aren’t prepared to make the move a permanent one.
It means Cutrone must find a new home, new opportunity and somewhere he can feel more settled before time runs away from him.
There could be a host of clubs in the hunt for forward reinforcements this year, not least Torino should they lose talisman Andrea Belotti after the senior Euros.
After stuttering spells in England and Spain most recently, a switch back to Serie A might be the best way for Cutrone to again show the abilities that made him a top prospect at Milan and are still in evidence for his county’s under-21s.
It would be no surprise to see the Como-born striker back in Italy next year looking to make up for lost time.