Cassano Needs To Return To Roots

James RiggioContributor IDecember 14, 2010

12 MAY 2001:  Antonio Cassano of Bari in action during the Serie A 30th Round League match between Bari and Vicenza played at the San Nicola Stadium Bari. DIGITAL CAMERA Mandatory Credit: Grazia Neri/ALLSPORT
Grazia Neri/Getty Images

Nobody has ever questioned the talent of Antonio Cassano.

His ball skills, vision and ability to make others around him better are something the striker has been known for ever since he made his professional debut as a 17-year-old more than a decade ago.

In just a few days, a panel will determine Cassano’s fate.

He is currently being locked out by Sampdoria, over a fallout with owner Riccardo Garrone.

Garrone joins a long list of people who have shown their dislike for Cassano, which includes former Italy National Team manager Marcello Lippi and England National Team boss Fabio Capello.

If Cassano is given the freedom to become a free agent, he can sign with any club and begin playing for that side in January when the transfer market opens.

Most recently Cassano has been linked with many of the big clubs in Italy—namely, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus and Fiorentina. A couple of other squads are also believed to be in the running for Cassano.

But one of those teams is not Bari.

If Cassano wants to help restore a damaged image, he ought to consider returning to his hometown team.

Certainly, Bari cannot afford to give Cassano the money that some other clubs can afford. But what they can guarantee is to make him the focal point of the squad.

Bari currently sits in last place in Serie A. At this point, it appears that it will be difficult for the club to remain in Serie A unless it turns things around soon.

Cassano can give fans hope that it can happen.

This would certainly be the biggest move in the January window.

Here are a few other possible transfer ideas.

All of the top Italian clubs should be fighting it out to bring back central defender Andrea Barzagli from German side Wolfsburg. Barzagli is 29 and was a reserve defender on the 2006 World Cup-winning side.

Barzagli lost some respect a few summers ago when he snubbed a chance to join hometown Fiorentina from Palermo in favor of a move to Germany. The move earned a few hundred thousand dollars more. But it also cost him a spot on the national team.

A solid veteran defender, Inter Milan and AC Milan should fight it out over Barzagli, who could leave Wolfsburg for free next summer.

Inter certainly needs some help as Walter Samuel is out for the season and Marco Materazzi is not capable of being a permanent starter at age 37. The most logical options are Barzagli or Genoa’s Andrea Ranocchia. Inter co-owns Ranocchia and may be able to bring him to club in mid-season, even though it has been suggested he will join in the summer.

AC Milan could use Barzagli for cover in case Thiago Silva is out for longer than expected. He was injured this past week and after an initial diagnosis suggested missing the rest of the season, he is now expected to miss as little as a month. Perhaps an exchange with Wolfsburg for American Oguchi Onyewu, who has been nothing more than a benchwarmer, would be a good fit.

Shifting over to Bologna, there has been talk that the club’s current financial crisis could lead to some players being allowed to leave in January.

While Bologna does not have a wealth of players that are of interest to others, veteran forward Marco Di Vaio is one that would certainly have several offers. Now in his mid 30s, Di Vaio could be a spark off the bench for a top side. He has never played for AC Milan, a side that is looking to find someone to fill the void for Filippo Inzaghi, who is out for the season. Di Vaio would be a perfect fit for that role.

Cagliari’s Alessandro Matri and Palermo’s Massimo Maccarone are the names most talked about to fill the reserve role. A possible return to Juventus has also been suggested for Di Vaio. The player has stated that he would like to end his career with Lazio, the club he began his career with.

Juventus goalie Gianluigi Buffon is expected back in January, which could make things interesting. Juventus coach Luigi Del Neri was recently quoted as saying that nobody has a guaranteed starting job. However, it would be hard for Del Neri to keep one of the all-time greats on the bench if he is 100 percent.

Veteran Marco Storari has done a nice job filling in while Buffon has been out and has also stated that he wants to start, even if it means leaving Juventus.

The January window is just around the corner and we will soon find out which clubs made the right moves to improve their respective squads.


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