On again, off again, on again, it now seems that Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani ’s move to Juventus may well be off for good because of Juve’s new Head Coach Antonio Conte . Of course, one of the first things a new coach will want to do is to make his own mark, and with players such as Andrea Pirlo and Reto Ziegler already signed for the Old Lady even before his appointment this summer, it will come as no surprise that Conte will look to halt all current negotiations so as to assess his own options and shape a squad in his own image.
Conte was a surprise choice for Juve after replacing Luigi Del Neri who was sacked at the end of the season after the club only finished seventh in the table. Conte was formerly Siena coach last season, plying his trade in Serie B, and helped the club to promotion. It now seems that he wants to pull the plug on the protracted deal for Aquilani.
So where does this leave Liverpool? For sure, Kenny Dalglish has already stated that he would welcome the Italian to return to Anfield. After all, it is felt by many he wasn’t given the opportunity to adapt to English football. Added to that, the 26 year old has gone through a season without injury and has stated that he has improved the defensive side of his game:
“I am now more of a central midfielder. Before I was further forward in the offensive phase, but I have to have more balance and be careful also in defence. Del Neri has changed me, I can now defend”
Whether such an improvement would benefit the Reds in the Premier League, it remains to be seen. It could be said Aquilani could be the ideal deep lying playmaker the Reds have desperately been seeking since the departure of Xabi Alonso. Some have even said he would be a better option than Charlie Adam. That would be unfair to the Scot though as the pair are a completely different style of player.
It is certain however, that the Reds could do with Aquilani’s excellent passing range, combined with either the forward runs of Steven Gerrard or Raul Meireles , or perhaps the added threat of two wingers. Still, the choice will not be down the clubs, it will be down to the player himself, on whether he returns.
Aquilani and his agent have stated on more than one occasion that the preferred option is to stay in Italy. With Juventus less likely to bid for the player, it will perhaps be down to the two Milan clubs to fight it out, unless Aquilani can be persuaded to return. At least the Reds will not be held to ransom by one club’s apparent declaration of poverty in Juve, and they can at least get a good price for Aquilani if his departure is the only viable option.
Of course, it goes without saying that the Reds should not go anywhere below the 16million stated in the previous agreement with Juventus. There was talk of an £8million deal being in progress with Juve before Conte’s arrival as manager, and hopefully this deal is now dead in the water. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but I would probably put a bet on Aquilani playing in the red and black of AC Milan next season.
Read more of David’s articles at Live4Liverpool