Thursday November 14 2019
Percassi: 'Atalanta can't afford Zlatan'

President Antonio Percassi said Atalanta are too “poor” to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Bergamo, but claimed they are “expecting to qualify” for the next phase of the Champions League.

La Dea have rocketed to the top of Italian football these last few years, but the President said they are still “grounded” and yet ambition, despite picking up one point from the first four Champions League games.

“We expect to advance in the Champions League,” Percassi told news agency ANSA at the inauguration of the Mino Favini Academy. “The second half against Manchester City was amazing, that’s why we believe in it.”

The news about Ibrahimovic leaving MLS has sparked an interest from a host of Italian clubs, linking Napoli, Milan and Bologna to the player. Percassi won’t entertain any rumours of the Swedish star moving to Bergamo, though.

“Ibrahimovic is a great player, but we can’t afford him,” the 66-year-old added. “We are mere paupers…

“We don’t have the revenue of the big clubs, although miraculously we get the results and remain a provincial reality keeping our feet on the ground.

“We can’t compete with certain figures. We’ve got clear ideas regarding the stadium and have to complete the Zingonia training centre. We still need some millions and we have already spent €4m on the Bortolotti Center."

He might free up some spending money if he decides to sell Dejan Kulusevski, who has been attracting interest after his performances at Parma this season, but the President doesn’t seem to be in a rush.

“We will evaluate at the end of the season, and we will do it on our own terms.”

Before facing Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, Atalanta must prepare to face Juventus in Serie A when they are back in action after the international break.

“They will be two great matches, since they are two great teams,” he said. “It’s important to have [Duvan] Zapata back, we have missed him.”

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