Aquilani has Liverpool future if Juventus choose not to buy

Italian midfielder may join Juventus permanently this summer but could yet be a success at Anfield

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
alberto aquilani
Alberto Aquilani (left) has made 26 appearances for Juve this season Photo: Dennis Knopf

alberto aquilani

The future of Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani remains uncertain as his loan spell at Juventus nears its conclusion.

The Reds allowed Aquilani to join Juventus on a season-long loan last August and the Turin club can make the deal permanent if they match Liverpool’s £14m valuation of the 26-year-old Italian.

But the Serie A club are understood to be unwilling to match Liverpool’s price tag, leaving the door ajar for Aquilani to resurrect his Premier League career despite claims from the player’s agent that his future lies with Juventus.

“On 30 June Juventus will be able to buy Aquilani and they should act now,” said agent Franco Zavaglia last week.

Zavaglia added: “The agreement between Liverpool and Juventus is already there, it all depends on the willingness of Juventus. I think Aquilani will stay at Juventus and there will not be any obstacles.”

The timing of Aquilani’s £17m transfer from AS Roma to Liverpool in 2009 suggested he was a direct replacement for the Real Madrid-bound Xabi Alonso.

But the popular Spain international had built a legacy as Liverpool’s deep-lying playmaker while Aquilani prefers a more offensive role which suits his shorter but dynamic passing game.

In truth, Aquilani would be a more suitable candidate to replace Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard rather than Alonso.

The sizeable fee spent on the midfielder during a period in which former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett restricted Rafael Benítez’s involvement in the transfer market inevitably led to calls for Aquilani become an instant hit and justify his hefty price tag.

But he had undergone a knee operation at the end of his last season with Roma which rendered him unavailable for the start of the 2009-10 Premier League campaign.

Unable to participate in pre-season training at Liverpool, the Italian only returned mid-way through Benítez’s turbulent final year in charge at Anfield.

Benítez used his expensive acquisition sparingly, and when Aquilani was handed a rare start he was heaped with pressure as the Kop craved for the Italian to help save a season devoid of optimism.

As the season drew to a close Aquilani was given a handful of opportunities to showcase his talent and produced a number of eye-catching performances in the league as well as an impressive display in the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

But Roy Hodgson opted to allow Aquilani return to Serie A when he took the Anfield reigns to allow the midfielder to regain match fitness following two injury-plagued seasons.

Since his return to Italy Aquilani has forged a partnership with Felipe Melo in the Juve midfield and has retained a regular starting berth under manager Luigi Delneri.

Any question marks over his fitness have been dispelled. He has made 24 starts in Serie A with two goals, three assists, and boasts one of the best pass-completion percentages in the division.

Aquilani promises plenty for the future and at 26 would fit into Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group’s long-term plans should Juventus opt not to retain his services.

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