Man Utd and Man City apparently head the front of the queue for lanky Italian centre half Giorgio Chiellini in the summer, even after the player stated his own preference to stay with the Old Lady.
Chiellini has seemingly held the Italian national back four together at times during qualifying all on his own and he’s one of the few players to emerge from his club Juventus’ dreadful domestic campaign with any credit.
At 6 ft 2 he cuts an imposing figure and as you can imagine, he’s dominant in the air although he is prone to lapses in concentration and does need to be partnered with a more experienced centre half. He could cost upwards of £20m and for both Manchester clubs he could prove pivotal to their plans next season both at home and in Europe.
With rumours of Nemanja Vidic’s desire to ply his trade aboard in Spain refusing to go away, a move for Chiellini makes sense and represents a sound back-up plan. Despite the Serb’s protestations, it seems even Ferguson thinks the centre half may be thinking of pastures anew. With Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown injury prone, and young Chris Smalling signed from Fulham and due to arrive next season relatively untested, even without a Vidic departure, Chiellini may be pursued to add some backbone to a frail backline.
For Man City though, Chiellini would represent quite a coup, not only would they rejoice at pinching a player from underneath their neighbours’ noses, but he’s a centre half they could seriously do with.
Vincent Kompany when given the chance at centre half this term has been excellent, but the form of duo Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott has left a lot to be desired and at times you could park a bus between the two so large is the gap.
Mark Hughes spent the money poorly in that respect and the City defence has lacked an authoritative leader since Richard Dunne’s departure to Villa in the summer. Chiellini could offer this, and although the language barrier may prove a problem at first, the way he marshals his backline at international level bodes well for the future and any possible transition.
Chiellini is also remarkably good on the ball considering his awkward looking frame and at 25 years of age comes with a great pedigree of European and international football behind him. His purchase would be a sound investment and could reap dividends immediately. His age means he could be around for some years to come and with Ferguson showing no signs of leaving us just yet, he’ll surely want to add to an ageing squad Chiellini’s relative youth.
One potential barrier to any transfer is Chiellini’s reluctance to move away from Juve, with his agent stating “His will is clear. He will stay quiet and continue to fight for the objectives of Juventus” and that “the intention is to remain at a great and glorious club like Juventus”.
But with the Juventus squad in some serious need of reshaping, an overhaul is required to make it more balanced and the fee they could fetch for Chiellini could go some way to helping this and he could be sacrificed. With world-class centre halves few and far between at the minute, Chiellini certainly has the potential to be one and although his price may go up in the ensuing bidding war, whoever gets him is investing in a potentially excellent defender.
Written By James McManus