When Juventus secured the loan signing of Alberto Aquilani in the summer, it was generally accepted that, should he stay fit, he would be a huge asset to the club. However, staying fit has been an issue for Aquilani throughout his career, and the midfielder had only once managed to start over 20 games in a single campaign, all the way back in the 2005/06 season.
This career-long struggle with injury meant eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed £20 million on Aquilani in the summer of 2009, and the same concerns were raised when he joined Juventus on loan.
This campaign, though, has seen Aquilani take a huge step in putting those concerns to rest, and he is enjoying a fairly injury-free season, racking up 27 starts for Juventus already. He has also managed to reproduce some of his best form for the Bianconeri, which has encouraged them to enter talks with Liverpool regarding a permanent transfer. A clause was included in the contract offering Juventus the chance to purchase Aquilani outright for €16 million up until 30 June when the player’s loan expires.
Juve, however, appear determined to complicate the situation. A number of their key first-team players are also currently on loan deals that will require substantial investment if they are to become permanent. This includes the likes of Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Simone Pepe and Marco Motta, and it seems the club are keen to save money wherever they can in anticipation of a summer spending spree.
Specifically, they are rumoured to be holding out for cut-price deal on Aquilani and banking on Liverpool being keen to offload the midfielder to make way for new signings – neither of which appear on the horizon, according to Aquilani’s agent. Indeed, the player’s performances for Juve this season have not gone unnoticed at Anfield, and Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish appears keen to welcome Aquilani back into his squad this summer.
“Nothing is cast in stone and he could be coming back to play for Liverpool. He could be a valuable asset here next season. He’s still our player,” Dalglish commented recently.
Unsurprisingly, Aquilani has, for the moment at least, chosen to distance himself from the tug-of-war, and revealed he would be happy to return to Liverpool should a permanent deal at Juventus not materialise. With Juve rumoured to be enquiring about the availability of Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Pirlo, it’s possible they are already preparing for a future without Aquilani. This, in turn, has led to talk of a possible return to Roma for the Rome-born midfielder, another scenario he is coy about.
Wherever he ends up next season, the primary goal for Aquilani will likely be to continue his good run of fitness and form for his club. Should he succeed, a place in the midfield of la Nazionale could be just around the corner.