Bosnian striker Edin Džeko is set to be the biggest transfer story of the summer, which is quite some achievement given that World Cup winners David Villa and David Silva have already left Valencia in pursuit of club glory.
Unlike those two deals, wrapped up as they were with a minimum of fuss or fanfare by Barcelona and Manchester City, the Džeko situation looks set to be a much more drawn out affair. His buyout clause—believed to be €40 million—expired on June 1, with no club willing to part with such a fee.
What makes the chase for the prolific Wolfsburg striker's signature so intriguing is the difference between the two main protagonists, Manchester City and Juventus.
Since the enforced relegation of 2006 Juventus have struggled to remain competitive, culminating in last year's seventh place finish. Despite spending €50 million on Diego and Felipe Melo last season, the club's fans grew increasingly despondent with the direction La Vecchia Signora was headed.
This summer has seen a revolution in Turin already. A new President, Andrea Agnelli, has been appointed in a move designed to restore the reputation of the club both at home and abroad. The Agnelli name is a byword for success, never more so than when L' Avvocato , Gianni was running Juventus.
His nephew has appointed widely respected football men in key positions at the club to ensure the swiftest possible return to the summit of Italian football. Beppe Marotta arrived as Sporting Director, with Fabio Paratici as Chief Scout and Gigi Delneri as coach. The trio are responsible for securing Champions League football for Sampdoria last season, and have proven to be a formidable combination.
Ironically it is against another former Doriani they now compete for Džeko, currently European football's hottest property. Roberto Mancini is charged with making Manchester City one of the continent's foremost clubs.
He obviously has the almost limitless spending power of Sheikh Mansour behind him, but a distinct lack of footballing men between manager and Chairman to complete the deal. While the failed attempt to land Kaka made most people sceptical of their ability, but this summers captures of Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng have quickly dispelled this myth.
City are undeniably a club going places, and going there quickly. Champions League football will be the bare minimum Mancini must achieve this season to prevent his club becoming the biggest white elephant in English football since Wembley stadium was rebuilt.
If it becomes an auction, the Italian club has no way of competing with a club essentially backed by an entire Gulf State, but Juventus will hope Marotta's vast experience, plus the club's willingness to include any of a high-profile list of players in part exchange (Diego, Felipe Melo, Momo Sissoko, Amauri) can be a winning combination.
Wolfsburg seem to have indicated they want a cash-only deal, but Juventus have yet to back away, leaving fans to wonder if the new President has authorised his Sporting Director to give the fans a "present" to ensure his reign starts in the best possible manner.
As a Juventus fan I would have to say I hold reservations over the move. I don't doubt he could come in and score more goals than Amauri, Trezeguet and Iaquinta did last season, but if the club can find this serious amount of money for DžekoI would suggest it might be better spent elsewhere.
The squad is in desperate need of a left back, and another winger. My main concern with the whole situation is that two weeks ago Juventus were arguing over a €1.5m difference in the Milos Krasic deal, yet now Marotta has "found" €30m? Doesn't add up in my view, especially when the CSKA Moscow man was so eager to move to Turin.
For a player who has scored 48 league goals in the last two seasons, and has a stellar International record (26 caps, 15 goals) Džeko, is free to pick and choose which offer(s) he wants Wolfsburg to listen to, and the player will ultimately make the decision on where he plays his club football next season and beyond.
Right now that looks like a choice between two very contrasting situations, and the football world will look on intrigued by his dilemma; established elite or nouveau riche. Edin, over to you.
This article first appeared at Il Tifosi