With a verdict soon due on Sampdoria's attempt to cancel Antonio Cassano's contract, Scott Fleming wonders where the enigma should go
Sampdoria's civil war seems to be drawing to a close, and not a moment too soon considering the Blucerchiati's group stage exit from the Europa League with a round of fixtures remaining.
Soon we will discover if the club's attempt to rescind Antonio Cassano's contract has been successful. In a way the verdict is irrelevant, unless you're Samp's accountant. President Riccardo Garrone seems so determined to rid his club of its best player that even if the court rules against him he'll simply put FantAntonio up for sale once the January transfer window opens.
With a departure looking more than likely, the question becomes...where next? Who needs him, and where would he fit in best?
Already a host of potential suitors have been ruled out by Cassano's insistence that his new club has to be within commuting distance of Genoa. The player has previously admitted that he needs to be the centre of attention, to be a big fish in a small pond, so the likes of Fiorentina and, whisper it, Genoa, could actually be in with a chance. That might be the last thing El Pibe de Bari needs at this stage however.
At Milan, Inter or Juventus, where he isn't the only star in the sky, where he has to fight to earn his place in the team, he might be less inclined to unleash the infamous Cassanata. Having struck the right balance only recently, after months of struggling to form an effective unit from their array of attacking talents, Milan aren't likely to risk throwing Cassano into the mix at this point.
It's a different story at Inter, where Diego Milito is underperforming and Goran Pandev, Jonathan Biabiany et al are unreliable.
Nonetheless, I would suggest the best location for Cassano to plant his flag is Turin. Joining Juve would mean a reunion with Gigi Del Neri and Beppe Marotta, two men who have witnessed the Cassanata firsthand and know how to negate Cassano's negative tendencies.
Therefore it's a good move from the player's perspective, but the club would also benefit. They desperately need a top class attacker, as Alessandro Del Piero is ageing and Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta are becoming a comedy double act.
Then again, this is Serie A, never say never. Maurizio Zamparini was absolutely, definitely going to sell Palermo wasn't he, and we know how that ended. Garrone still has the chance to win back the trust of Samp's dismayed fans, and score a few PR points while he's at it, by taking pity on a man that wants nothing more than to stay close to his pregnant wife Carolina Marcialis.
For all his faults Cassano's stance is an honourable one, prioritising the needs of his young spouse above all else.