Alberto Aquilani: A Player Destined For Failure At Liverpool From The Start

Alberto Aquilani's name has now become synonymous with famous Premiership flops. A Serie A expert tell us why his failure should have come as no surprise..
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
2
Alberto Aquilani's name has now become synonymous with famous Premiership flops. A Serie A expert tell us why his failure should have come as no surprise..

404

Mention Alberto Aquilani’s name to any AS Roma fan and they will immediately rub their hands in glee – not in appreciation of the player’s undoubted skills but that Liverpool were ever willing to accept what by any stretch of the imagination was an over-inflated asking price.

Back in the summer 2009, few in the Italian capital expected the elegant but obviously fragile midfielder to pass the medical when Rafa Benitez decided that this was the player to replace the departing Xavi Alsono, but surprisingly he was given a clean bill of health.

The total outlay came to something in the region of 23million euros which Roma would never have dreamt of landing had Juventus taken their initial enquiry any further. The Turin club had seen that despite playing his part for Italy at Euro 2008, the player had only made 14 Serie A appearances coming off the tournament.

A lack of playing time had nothing to do with a lack of a ability but a persistent ankle injury and before that there had been ongoing thigh trouble that sidelined him for most the previous campaign.

Another homegrown talent, Giuseppe Giannini was known as The Prince, but Aquilani only got as far as being crowned ‘The Little Prince’.

Once Liverpool gave him the all-clear those concerns were no longer Roma’s to worry about and Aquilani did something that neither Francesco Totti or Daniele De Rossi would ever do: up sticks and bid a fond farewell to his home town.

All three may be Roman born-and-bred and have red and yellow running through their veins but while Totti and De Rossi have always been hailed as kings in the city – in Totti’s case imperatorial status - Aquilani held mere minor royalty ranking.

Another homegrown talent, Giuseppe Giannini was known as The Prince, but Aquilani only got as far as being crowned ‘The Little Prince’. However, as he turned 25 the early promise that he would form an invincible all-Roman midfield partnership with De Rossi was already waning.

If Roma had to sacrifice one of their own then it was always going to be Aquilani who had always been the most introvert of the three: Totti may have expressed his bitterness at allowing a local boy to leave but for the majority of Giallorossi followers there was little regret.

Everyone seemed to have ended up a winner – in Rome that is: the club could keep the banks off their back for a little longer while Aquilani happily doubled his salary to 4m euros a year.

Never loved or adored in the manner of Totti and De Rossi – or for that matter de facto Roman, Rodrigo Taddei – the 20m Euro transfer fee plus three-and-half million bonus was manna from heaven for the then cash-starved and debt-ridden club.

Everyone seemed to have ended up a winner – in Rome that is: the club could keep the banks off their back for a little longer while Aquilani happily doubled his salary to 4m euros a year.

He may have been sent off with a  heartfelt in bucca al lupo (good luck) but it was done in the knowledge that Liverpool were getting a player who was far from being in prime condition.

What followed was a depressing and endless cycle of ever decreasing returns as the debris within the weak ankle joint kept the player to just eight appearances with suggestions that maybe part of the problem was in his head.

Liverpool had been taken as something of a soft touch as they attempted to off-load the ‘sick-note’ for half the buying price

Weak of body, weak of mind then but whether the issue was psychological or not one cannot get away from the feeling that Liverpool had been taken as something of a soft touch as they attempted to off-load the ‘sick-note’ for half the buying price while Aquilani continued to take home his reported £80,000 a week.

Juventus took a punt on a loan deal but were never going to make a return to Italy permanent for the simple reason that they were not willing to pay £14m and when he arrived at Milan last year - again on loan but with an £6m transfer to be triggered if he made 25 appearances – it was hardly with an air of expectancy.

There has been signs that he could have settled into Milan’s fluid passing style but the Rossoneri had financial problems of their own and unsurprisingly he fell three games short of forcing Milan to make the move permanent: unsurprisingly due to the fact that Milan Lab – the club’s famed medical facility – had a good look at those creaking ankles during a two-month lay-off and no doubt came to the conclusion that as investments go, it was better backing off.

Now 28, and with another two years on his contract, Aquilani could walk from Anfield by handing over 5m euros and straight into a five-year deal worth 2m euros a year at Fiorentina but only if the Tuscans can get the Reds to drop their asking price to 6m euros which is the same amount Milan would have had to pay.

If the deal does go through then we are really talking about value for money and a switch to the Renaissance city may be just what Aquilani needs; for both body and mind. 

If you enjoyed this, check out these:

Alberto Aquilani: Why Xabi Alonso's Liverpool Replacement Failed At Anfield

A Liverpool Fan To Spurs: Avoid Babel Or We Could Catch Up With You

Liverpool Fans: Relax, Joe Allen Is Actually Worth The £13.5 Million

The Gerrard Conundrum – Does The Captain Fit Into The Rodgers’ Revolution?

Click here for more stories about Football & Sport

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook