7 Things to Watch Out for on Transfer Deadline Day in Serie A
The exchange is never fair in Italy. Stars leave, and lesser ones come.
Ciro Immobile, Mario Balotelli and Mehdi Benatia have left the stage, a couple of the best attackers and a top defender gone. Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal could be next.
But it's OK. Fernando Torres could be on his way to Serie A, joining former Premier League full-backs Ashley Cole, Patrice Evra and ex-Arsenal and Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia—although the latter has now been forced to retire after a heart defect was discovered during his medical at Cagliari, per The Telegraph. All of them picked from the unwanted bin.
Of course, there are exceptions. Lazio made a fantastic purchase when they acquired Stefan de Vrij, the 22-year-old centre-back who impressed with the Netherlands during the World Cup. (How a team like Manchester United missed out on a player like that is incomprehensible.) And Juventus paid €20 million for Alvaro Morata, the mobile 21-year-old forward from Real Madrid.
Yet there is still business to be done. These clubs have months to secure transfers, but many—we're looking at you, AC Milan—tend to make the most significant moves right when the window is closing. It's annoying, but it's true.
Let's look at some last-minute deals that could materialize.
Fabio Borini Has No Home
Fabio Borini could spend a whole season on the sidelines if he does not find a way out of Liverpool within the next few days.
There is simply no way he will get playing time under Brendan Rodgers unless Daniel Sturridge or Mario Balotelli both get injured.
Sunderland reportedly made a £14 million bid for the 23-year-old Italian, per Squawka, but the player declined, instead hoping to fight for a spot at Anfield.
Then Balotelli arrived, and those chances vanished.
Milan reached out to Liverpool to see if they could acquire Borini on loan, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Daily Mail). Borini apparently likes the idea of a loan too.
The striker has a tendency to succumb to injury, and he has not set the Premier League on fire. He scored seven goals in 32 league appearances last season with Sunderland, but did net big goals against Newcastle, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Javier Hernandez Needs an Escape
Mexico's coach said it a few months ago: Javier Hernandez has to leave Manchester United.
"I believe it'd be in his interest to leave so he is taken into consideration to play," Miguel Herrera told Sky Sports in May.
Chicharito made only six starts in the Premier League last year. He did score a few crucial goals off the bench—some of them game-winners—but he said he is not happy as a substitute.
"I’ve never seen myself as a sub and I don’t like being one,” Hernandez told reporters during the World Cup (h/t Goal.com), "and, believe me, I am tired of a lot of people seeing me that way, as a super sub."
Juventus could offer him the escape the 26-year-old needs.
Gianluca Di Marzio reports that the Bianconeri want to get Chicharito before the transfer window closes. From his website:
In the last hours, there have been new contacts with the agent of the Mexican forward, who would like to convince United to let him go on loan with option. There is some hope, Juventus are lurking.
Even still, Juventus have Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez as options up front. It is unclear whether Chicharito would get that much more playing time. But Juventus are indeed competing on three fronts, and there would be time to rotate.
Fernando Torres a Stop-Gap Solution for Milan
Fernando Torres wants a permanent solution to his future, while AC Milan continue to look for a Mario Balotelli replacement. Call it a marriage of convenience.
CEO Adriano Galliani confirmed discussions with Chelsea over Torres, calling him "a great striker," per the Daily Mail. But the problem is not with Chelsea: The 30-year-old wants to leave for good, not on any loan deal, the Daily Mirror reports (h/t The Independent). His wages—currently at £170,000 a week—are also tricky. Milan would need Torres to take a huge pay cut.
AC Milan's official TV channel reported earlier on Wednesday that Torres and Milan are €2.5 million apart (h/t Football Italia).
Torres scored just five goals in 29 Premier League appearances last year, but he has scored much more often in Europe, which, coincidentally, Milan are not a part of.
Marco Van Ginkel Joining Torres at Milan?
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani told Milan Channel (h/t the Daily Mail) he was "confident" of signing 21-year-old midfielder Marco van Ginkel on loan. But it's up to the player, and he doesn't seem too keen.
Van Ginkel's agent apparently told Milan that the Dutchman has no intention of leaving Chelsea, according to Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia).
He is a strong box-to-box midfielder with a great shot and quick feet. Last season he suffered an ACL injury and only managed to play in four competitive games for Chelsea.
Van Ginkel is exactly the kind of mobile midfielder that Milan need. Nigel de Jong apparently recommended the player.
Milan Channel reports that De Jong also has recommended Milan to sign Van Ginkel. @NDJ_Official— AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 26, 2014
Or maybe Van Ginkel would even replace De Jong in the lineup, should he go to Manchester United. It's still silly season.
Arturo Vidal Is Still a Juventus Player
The eternal question is Arturo Vidal.
Has he signed for Manchester United yet? That is the running gag. Papers in England continue to report on a possible late move for Vidal. Manchester United just completed the British record signing of Angel Di Maria, and United have already spent £200 million since Sir Alex Ferguson left his post as manager. The money is there.
Louis van Gaal has dropped Vidal's name a few times in press conferences. It is no secret that United admire the 27-year-old, even if his right knee is "a cause of serious concern" for the Red Devils, per Ian Herbert of The Independent.
Vidal would cost around £30 million, according to the Daily Mail, and there is still time. After all, it was Van Gaal who told reporters that "you can buy a player in 24 hours, believe me, that’s not a problem.”
But there is still an argument that United have never made an offer to begin with.
Papers in England, notably Metro, have jumped the gun before.
We'll see if this saga ever ends. Help us all if it drags through the winter.
Alessio Cerci Still on the Market
Alessio Cerci was not included in Torino's Europa League squad once again, per Football Italia, and that did not stop the rumours about the 27-year-old winger.
"He has not been called up because the transfer market ends in five days," said coach Giampiero Ventura (h/t Gianluca Di Marzio). "Papers always talk about him and he wouldn’t [have] been focused on the game."
He is a longtime target of Milan, but La Gazzetta dello Sport seemed to believe earlier this week that the club put him on the back-burner as they search for a striker (h/t Football Italia).
Cerci had 13 goals and 10 assists in Serie A with Ciro Immobile, creating one of the best partnerships in Italy. But Immobile is gone, and Torino president Urbano Cairo told Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) that he will not hold Cerci back.
Arsenal are also looking at options following Olivier Giroud's foot injury, and, according to the Evening Standard, they decided to enquire about €20-million man Cerci (h/t Football Italia).
Juventus Thinking About Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri scored a hat-trick at the World Cup and showed why he is no one's substitute.
But he started the Bundesliga on the bench. "The coach has decided it so you have to accept it," the 22-year-old told Blick (h/t Goal.com). "I have to deal with it and try to impose myself [on the team]. Clearly you're disappointed if you are not in the starting line-up."
Enter Juventus. Gianluca Di Marzio reports that they are "still after Shaqiri, but they have not decided to push for him yet." Preliminary news at the very most.