Made in Italy: Co-ownership deals

Claudio Villa

Italian clubs have until Friday, June 21 to determine the destinies of players currently co-owned by clubs.

Co-ownership deals figure prominently in Italian football, but are rare, if not non-existent, in other leagues around the world. Although Serie A clubs have until September to finalize transfers, the fate of co-owned players will be decided by Friday.

What happens to a player co-owned by two clubs?

The destiny of all co-owned players will be decided Thursday and Friday, as an intro to the "real" transfer stories of the summer. Co-ownership deals are, as the name suggests, deals in which two clubs own 50% of the economic rights for the player, although wages aren't necessarily payed by both clubs. Now the clubs must decide what happens next - does one buy the player entirely? Or do they attempt to delay the decision for another year?

Clubs have until 8 p.m. CET Thursday to reach agreement. If agreement isn't possible, the process called le buste (which literally translates as "envelopes", and means blind bids) will start Friday at 11 a.m. The clubs involved make secret bids for a player, and the player ends up being fully owned by the club making the higher offer. If both clubs make the same offer, or if both clubs offer no money at all, the player ends up being owned in full by the club he played for last season.

The most interesting deals

Juventus and Udinese have already reached agreement for Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla. Asamoah is now fully owned by Juve, while the co-ownership deal was renewed for another year for Isla.

Perhaps the best player in Inter Milan's disappointing season, goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, is now completely owned by the nerazzurri. Pablo Armero, who joined Napoli on a co-ownership deal from Udinese in January, is now 100% owned by his new club and will likely be an important part of Rafa Benitez's team.

AC Milan and Genoa decided to renew the deal for Kevin Constant for another year. Others in the same situation include Jonathan Biabiany (plays for Parma, owned in half by Sampdoria), Paolo Baretto (Torino/Udinese), Ciro Immobile (Genoa/Juventus), and Alberto Paloschi (Chievo Verona /Milan).

Two very important, although unsurprising new deals were made recently - Juan Cuadrado, who was on loan to Fiorentina from Udinese, is now co-owned by the two clubs, while the same deal was made for Italian national Antonio Candreva, who is now half owned by Lazio where he was on loan, also from Udinese.

Keep an eye on

The most interesting co-ownership arrangement, most likely to be decided by blind bidding, involves Alessio Cerci, likely the best player for Torino last season, but co-owned by Fiorentina. Fiorentina might have to go through the blind bidding process for Nenad Tomovic, though securing 100% ownership of the defender should be simpler than beating out Torino for Cerci.

Another interesting and as-yet undecided deal is that of Vasco Regini (Empoli/Sampdoria), an Italian Under-21 player who has attracted the attention of some of the bigger clubs, including Inter and Milan.

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