Imagine how different this season could have been. Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles and Alberto Aquilani lining up in one of the strongest and certainly one of the most creative midfield’s in the premier league, all the while allowed to strut their stuff as Lucas patrolled behind them, just in front of the back four. With Fernando Torres leading the line, many Liverpool supporters thought this was a side good enough to finish in the top two before the change in managers brought about a down-turn in Liverpool’s fortunes.
For reasons known only to himself Hodgson decided it was a good idea to loan out our most creative player to Juventus. In Hodgson eyes, Aquilani was deemed not good enough to don the Liverpool shirt and Christian Poulsen was brought in as his replacement.
In August last year Hodgson said,
“For Aquilani this year it’s very important that he plays regular football, every week as the number one man on the team sheet. I can’t promise him that here so if a loan move to Italy could help him in that respect it might be good for all parties.
It would certainly be what he needs, it would certainly protect the value of the player and when he does return to Liverpool no doubt we will see the Aquilani that we signed before he came here injured last year.”
I, like many of you was hugely disappointed upon hearing this news. Aquilani was one of the few positives for me in an otherwise dissapointing 2009-2010 season. He has great vision and creativity and he plays excellent one touch football. The fact that Hodgson thought he wasn’t good enough to make the team really was baffling. I knew, even then that he wasn’t likely to come back.
Unfortunately, he was loaned out to Juventus for a year with an option to buy for around £10m, Liverpool originally paid £17m plus add ons to acquire his services from Roma and for those of us who’ve been watching him at Juventus, we’ve seen him become the player we all knew he could be.
Now that his loan is coming to end, there are reports swirling that Juventus are reportedly only willing to pay as low as £5m due to financial troubles. However, I believe Juventus value him too highly to let him return back to Merseyside and the boss Guiseppe Marotta has publicly stated his desire to keep him.
“Aquilani is a player of value and is doing very well, we’re happy. In due time we’ll meet with Liverpool and we will do everything to keep him with us.”
Aquilani too has said,
“I like the team, I like Turin. I have found a house. I am happy.”
So it appears that if a deal can be reached between the two clubs, Liverpool will lose a huge talent and Juventus will gain one. Alternatively, if by some miracle these reports claiming Juventus aren’t willing to meet the buy out clause turn out to be true, I’d be willing to take ‘Aquaman’ back in a heartbeat.
Aquilani would fit perfectly into Kenny Dalglish’s pass and move style of play. Imagine the prospect of Meireles, Gerrard, Aquilani and Suarez linking up in attack. That surely, is a combination for attractive football if I’ve ever seen one. We already saw the partnership he was beginning to build with Steven Gerrard before he was prematurely removed from the side, and I can only imagine the things we could see if he were to come back.
A lot of fans were angry that he was constantly injured, but towards the end of the 2009-2010 season he played a lot more games and he’s currently played almost an entire season for Juventus. So I think now that he seems to have recovered it would be great to have him back.
Kenny Dalglish is a good enough manager to see Aquilani’s talent and I’m sure that it would be a selection headache the Scot would gladly welcome should negotiations break down.
The buy out clause is quite low for such a talented player and if the deal does go through it will be a substantial loss to Liverpool both financially and in terms of the quality we’re losing. It would also be an addition to a long list of players who have been sold by Liverpool for less than they were bought for: Cisse, Kewell, Pennant, Keane and Babel to name a few.
I would love to see him back and I’m still holding out for a miracle, but he’s done well for himself at Juventus and doesn’t seem to fancy a return to the Premier League, so it doesn’t seem fair to keep him against his will.
All that’s really left to do is wish him well and hope that the money received for his transfer will be wisely reinvested in younger, talented players. Liverpool will be fine without him, but it’s sad to see him go.