Roy Hodgson’s reshaping of his new Liverpool squad is gathering pace, with news that midfielder Alberto Aquilani is on the verge of completing a season-long loan switch to Juventus. And reports in Italy and Holland also claim that Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt could be poised to follow the Italian out of Anfield, with European Champions Inter Milan interested.
Hodgson confirmed, after Liverpool’s 1-0 Europa League play-off win over Trabzonspor last night, that Aquilani was on the verge of completing a loan move back to Serie A, and it has emerged today that Juventus are on the brink of sealing his signature.
“At the moment we are considering possibly loaning him to an Italian club, but nothing is sure about that yet so I don’t have anything to report.”
“I didn’t want to use him [against Trabzonspor] just in case the loan goes through because 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.”
The 26-year-old has struggled to establish himself following a £17.1million move from Roma last summer. An ankle injury hampered the beginning of his Anfield career, whilst a number of knocks and illnesses further restricted his appearances in the second half of last season.
Despite featuring only sporadically, Aquilani did show flashes of quality throughout his 23 appearances last season, scoring two goals and creating a further six. Hodgson had claimed in pre-season that the Italian was back to 100% fitness, but believes some time away to rediscover his confidence and form may be in the best interests of 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.”
The deal with Juventus, who were linked with the player earlier in the year, is believed to be a one-year loan deal, with an option to make the move permanent at any time during that period. The Italian giants will pay up to 50% of the player’s £65,000 per-week salary.
And additional reports coming out of both Italy and Holland today suggest that 30-year-old Kuyt could also be set for a move to Serie A, with Inter Milan, managed by former Reds boss Rafa Benitez, leading the chase for the Dutch international.
Kuyt’s agent, Rob Jansen, has opened the door for a potential move to the San Siro, telling the Press Association:
“Yes, there is real interest from Inter, but Dirk has not yet decided if he wants to leave Liverpool.”
“This is also a complicated transfer. Dirk Kuyt is a key player for Liverpool; he has an ongoing contract and was recently in the World Cup final. Of course he has a strong relationship with Rafa Benitez.”
“He may move to Inter or just stay at Liverpool. There is also the possibility that a player from Inter could be included in the deal with Dirk Kuyt.”
Kuyt was left out of the Reds’ side last night, with rumours surfacing that Inter had asked Liverpool not to cup-tie their potential new signing. Reports today stated that the Italians are readying a bid for the former Feyenoord man. Inter’s board are expected to meet in Milan today to discuss the deal, having shelved plans to sign winger Giuseppe Sculli from Genoa this week.
The deal for Kuyt is said to be in the region of €16m (£13.1m), though it is believed that Inter are hoping to use either midfielder Sulley Muntari or winger Mancini as a makeweight in any transfer.
Liverpool, naturally, would prefer a cash-only deal, and are also bracing themselves for a bid from the same club for midfielder Javier Mascherano, who has told Hodgson he would prefer a move away from Merseyside this summer.