Following a season long loan at Juventus, Alberto Aquilani has found him self back in Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool pre-season setup. Since the start of the transfer market the central midfielder has been one of the hot topics of conversation among English and Italian football fans.
Juventus had the option to make his loan permanent, and throughout the season it looked as though they would cough up the additional £14 million required. Instead the Old Lady's owners decided to try and haggle the price down, and eventually did, bringing it down to £10 million . Yet following lengthy disputes 'Aquaman' was sent back to Liverpool.
Since then transfer speculation has been rife of a move back to Italy, despite the fact that Dalgish and club owner John W Henry have made it clear that the Roman has a future at Anfield, as he has impressed so far in friendlies. Captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out until September with injury, and so hanging on to Aquilani will be a priority. Even though midfielders such as Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson have been brought in, he is seen as a more defensive player, who improved his defensive game immensely while in Turin.
Since the move to Juve broke down, Aquliani's agent has been sending mixed messages regarding his clients future. The most persistent claim has been that he would like to stay in Italy, which meant rumours in the Italian press lingered.
Fiorentina were the first to be linked, and it was mainly a potential move to replace ex-captain Riccardo Montolivo. Although there was a fault in La Viola's plan: Montolivo hasn't left yet. Another stumbling block was the price, with Aquilani's agent saying they were a few million short. It looked as though Liverpool and Fiorentina had agreed, but personal terms were off.
Italian Champions AC Milan were the next to express their interest through their Vice President Adiano Galliani, who said that any player that is a left sided midfielder would be of interest to Milan. Aquilani fits that description and would not cost nearly as much as Brazilian playmaker Ganso. He also has ten years of experience in the Italian leagues.However, it now looks as though Milan will go for Montolivo instead. Though Rossoneri fans would like that, neither Montolivo or Aquilani would be the big signing they were promised, Mr X.
Another possible move would be to Juve on the last day of the transfer window, when Aquliani's price would have fallen. There is no doubt he prefers Italy, it's only a question of whether Juventus can pay the money and Liverpool can agree to let him go. Since the arrival of playmaker extraordinaire Andrea Pirlo from Milan there hasn't really been a place for the Roman. There are complex systems that both players could fit into too, but at the end of the day the midfield is too crowded with two playmakers.
Many Italians were wondering why Aquilani's boyhood club Roma would not make a move for him, when in fact they inquired but his wage demands would not be met.
So it looks as though no Italian side is really 100% interested in taking in poor 'Aquaman'. At the age of sixteen, Arsenal and Chelsea offered him contracts, but he declined, instead deciding to continue playing at Roma's youth club. He has represented the Italian National side at every level since under-15s. His pin-point passing and elegant way of moving around the pitch is a joy to watch.
Speaking to many fans of Juve and Liverpool, they both believe Aquilani would be in the starting eleven and would be a vital component of their upcoming seasons. I believe he will stay in Liverpool, but I do see the possible Juve swoop on the last day happening too. He is a great player and deserves to be playing football at a high level. Aquilani will return to Italy, whether it's sooner or later remains to be seen.