BLOG ITALIA
Tuesday March 30 2021
Do Serie A need Aguero and Giroud?

Sergio Aguero and Olivier Giroud have been linked with moves to Serie A, but Lorenzo Bettoni wonders whether Italian clubs really need them.

Sergio Aguero will leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer after 257 goals in 384 games over 10 seasons. And he still has time to add more to his tally.

Odds on soccer and transfer predictions suggest the Argentinean could join Barcelona, but reports in Italy and Spain are also linking El Kun with a move to Juventus or Inter as both sides are looking to reinforce their attacking departments for the 2021-22 campaign.

Juventus are likely to sell Paulo Dybala as the club haven't reached an agreement to extend his contract, which is expiring in June 2022.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future is up in the air, with rumours of a return to Real Madrid, while Alvaro Morata can remain in Turin on loan for one more season at the cost of €10m. Making the Spaniard's move permanent for €45m doesn't look like an option for the Bianconeri at this stage.

Many think Aguero's potential move to Juventus would be similar to Carlos Tevez's switch to Turin in 2013. Well, El Kun's compatriot was 29 when he moved to the Allianz Stadium from the blue side of Manchester and when he left, he was one year younger than Aguero now.

At the same time, Antonio Conte is on the lookout for a centre forward who can back-up Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, who form one of the best attacking partnerships in Europe.

There has been a lot of debate about the competitiveness of Italian clubs in Europe of late. The Nerazzurri have been eliminated from the Champions League group stage, while Juventus, Lazio and Atalanta have been knocked-out only two games later, in the round of 16.

Roma are the only Italian club still involved in European competition as Milan and Napoli faced a Europa League exit. There are many reasons for the failures of Italian clubs in Europe, one of them is their chronic inability to plan and believe in youth's talent.

The problem with Italian clubs is that they've been signing older talents, hoping to find a shortcut to success, but the strategy hasn't quite worked, most of the time. Look at Milan with Mario Mandzukic or Roma with Pedro. The Croat has only played a few minutes since he joined Milan in January. He then picked up an injury which is still keeping him on the sidelines.

It must be said, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a remarkable impact at Milan, but the Swede has been helping Milan's youths on and off the pitch, thanks to his unequalled charisma. Ibra is a unique case and is quite incomparable to the others.

Pedro signed with Roma as a free agent from Chelsea in the summer. Despite a solid start to the season, he has been struggling with injuries and the Giallorossi are now unable to find clubs willing to buy him. His €3m-a-year contract is an issue for any potential suitor and his contract at the Stadio Olimpico expires in 2023.

Economic implications must be considered when analysing why Italian clubs have been relying so much on over-30 players. The so-called Growth Decree is helping Serie A clubs sign foreign footballers thanks to a tax discount of 50 per cent on the gross salaries of players and coaches who haven't lived in Italy for the last five years.

That would also apply to Aguero and Giroud, but even though Italian clubs get a discount on their salary, why do they think the strikers will not become a weight for them in the coming years?

As has already happened in the past, over-30 players are likely to be valuable short-term options, but their long-term impact would affect the clubs technically and possibly economically. The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by Juventus may be the most relevant example of that.

The Bianconeri's image has dramatically changed since the Portuguese talisman arrived from Real Madrid in 2018. Ronaldo has had an extraordinary impact in his first two Champions League campaigns in Turin. He was the only one capable of scoring in the knock-out stages before Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot this term and has 95 goals in 123 games across all competitions with the Serie A giants. It would be crazy to say he didn't have an impact at Juventus. But there is more than one truth.

The pandemic has undoubtedly complicated the Old Lady's plans, especially because they must deal with CR7's €31m-a-year contract. However, even without COVID, Juventus had to sell Moise Kean to Everton for €30m to keep the books in order in 2019.

They also had to retire from the race to sign Erling Haaland in January 2020 because they could not afford to pay the commissions for his agent Mino Raiola and his family. Therefore, Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund. One would say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but would you prefer this Juventus side with Cristiano Ronaldo or with Kean and Haaland?

Aguero and Giroud are phenomenal strikers who would surely have a good impact in Serie A, but that's not the only thing that matters. Serie A clubs have been looking at immediate success without planning for too long.

Lack of vision has been affecting the development of the game in the peninsula. A different strategy is needed if Serie A sides are to once again succeeded in the European stages. It would indeed be interesting to see two top strikers like Aguero and Giroud in Serie A, but this strategy hasn't quite worked of late.

Also, this is one reason why Inter's Champions League triumph in 2010 was the last European success of an Italian club. We need vision, ideas and courage, not to wait for players to be old enough to come to Serie A and save on their salaries and price-tags. With all respect, Italian football needs a new Renaissance that can't take place with two more players in their 30s coming to Serie A.

@lorebetto

Have your say...
@Maldini’s Heir : The worst thing you can be in football is cheap? the worst thing you can be in soccer is stupid with your money! If you spend 115 million of Joao Mario, Kondogbia and Gabi-one-gol then obviously you will be forced to sell because that's money flushed down the toilet !
on the 1st April, 2021 at 7:08pm
3 wins for the National Team in their pursuit to qualify for WC'22. I must say, terrific start as the future looks bright. Thumps up to Mancini, he is doing good job so far! So, hoping the Euros20' will be a success and much more to come. However, sad to realize that Ziolo & Cutrone will no be part of the team @ euros'20! I must say, they add spice to the Azzurri if one is playing more & the other lacks fitness due to injuries. I believe Azzurri will win it, the quality is there.
on the 1st April, 2021 at 11:32am
Why not keep Kean, or find a player 23 and under who has potential to be developed and can stay at the club for years to come. Liverpool bought Mane, Firmino and Salah, none of them were considered world class at the time and look what Klopp did with them. That's the approach Juve should be taking.
on the 1st April, 2021 at 9:44am
where they have expensive strikers who are not performing on the pitch and have no resale value so are let go for free to get their crippling wages off the books. And then what? Juve all of a sudden need to find a replacement for both Ronaldo and Aguero but have little money to do so yet want to get a top class player so what will they do? Find the next 32 year old on a free they can get, maybe Lewandowski when he's 34?
on the 1st April, 2021 at 9:40am
What i'm reading this morning about Juve offering the contract they would give Dybala to Augero because they'd save £5mill on the balance sheet is exactly the sort of shortermism that ruins Italian football. Aguero is 6 years older than Dybala. Lets say Ronaldo stays until the end of his contract and you bring in a 33 year old, injury prone Aguero alongside him on big wages. WHat do you think will happen in 1-2 years time? Guess what Juve will be in the same position they were with Higuain...
on the 1st April, 2021 at 9:37am
Serie A teams would be better spending the bulk of their $$$ on players that can grow with their clubs. For the right price I guess you take them, but otherwise would be wise to invest elsewhere.
on the 1st April, 2021 at 1:54am
@ Anonymous Buckled? He was still 20 years old! And as a 20 year old he had stepped up where the likes of Kalinic and Higuain had failed, not to mention the likes of Çalhanoğlu who was given nearly 2 years to prove himself. This is a common theme. If a player is a youth player that cost the club nothing they have to prove themselves immediately whilst players who cost money are given numerous opportunities. The worst thing you can be in football is cheap.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 11:57pm
Keep them away Seria A will become known ad a retirement home.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 9:03pm
The problem is when you sign junk on Free transfer like Vidic or Podolski and expect them to win your trophies when they are one foot into retirement and that becomes an issue. Aguero and Giroud are still good players - it's not like they are rubbish like Diego Forlan or Fernando Torres !
on the 31st March, 2021 at 7:35pm
@maldini's heir

great point about useless transfer activity! But Cutrone? Yes he showed some potential, then buckled badly at the first sign of pressure. 13 goals in 63 for Milan and 6 in 38 since he left. Ok if he offered anything in general play, but he doesn't. I know he is young and, as a Milan fan, I hope he comes good but he wasn't good enough for them. Even Locatelli probably wouldn't have developed as he has done, but a buy back/sell on clause seems like a good idea now.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 12:04pm
@ FERBAN I like those ideas. Loans are the main area I’d like to see fixed especially the loans mid-season where players are moved every few months.

@ LucaC Fair point. It was sort of relevant to this article plus it makes a change from blaming foreigners!
on the 31st March, 2021 at 10:25am
@Saba, "There should be a rule to ban signing players above the age of 30!" How on earth can you consider ageism as being progressive? That's the trouble with group think, you strip away nuance, numerous variables and tar everyone with the same brush. There are many veterans who are in terrific shape and can still offer a great deal to a club, the team and its younger players. Everything should be carried out on a case by case basis and be left to a clubs judgement, good or bad.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 10:08am
Aguero = No
Giroud = Yes
Aguero is more prolific goal scorer, but his style as a striker relies on pace, which is hard to sustain when you're 33 years old and just had major injury.

Giroud is a unique striker. He's more known of his hold-up play and his ability to get the best out of his teammates. He's not as explosive as aguero, but his style might enable him to maintain his performance when he's older.

Giroud would be good for Inter. Ashley, Alexis, Darmian, Lukaku, Eriksen are doing good.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 9:23am
@FERBAN - Very well said. Juve, in particuular, seem to have a transfer policy that revolves around..wait until they are 35, burnt out, injury plagued, nothing to prove any more, lost their appetite for the game and..of course are cheap..and sign them!! What a joke this league has turned into!!
on the 31st March, 2021 at 8:55am
No! We have enough foreigners in the ever aging league. It's like a old peoples home in Serie A these days. If we had no real choice and had to take one I would take Aguero. Giroud is rubbish. If Juve get rid of Ronaldo (which I absolutely hope they do) then Aguero would be good a good poster boy.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 8:38am
@ACM Completely correct, you'd think if Serie A teams don't have much money they'd try and find youngsters on the cheap and then develop them into top class players. Like Inter did with Martinez for example.

@Maldinis Heir. No matter what article is posted you always talk about too many transfers being the issue. We all get your point, some agree, some don't, but we don't need to hear it on every article.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 8:09am
When they join, let's all look forward to trolls who are going to say how overrated Serie-A as a league and in particular its pride upon catenaccio/defence/tactics when oldies like Ibra, CR7, Klose, Dzeko, Giroud, Aguero etc kept banging 15+ goals per season.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 6:36am
@CG Cheers!

@Maldini's Heir - caps might be a good idea. Especially for loans.

Say a limit of 2 season-long loans for long-established clubs, then say 5 max for promoted clubs, which slowly decreases after a decent length of time, till they too are established.

That way, it evens the playing field a bit, theoretically making the promoted teams stronger without having to spend a fortune, and also gives an outlet for the big clubs to loan out their best youngsters for experience.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 6:29am
if im juve i am trying to get pogba at all cost. juve has a superstar in attack, they need a superstar in midfield. this aguero deal makes no sense. i rather juve go get someone like milik who ronaldo can play off of. pogba, locatelli is what juve needs
on the 31st March, 2021 at 5:53am
An entire BS article which posits a question answered with one word: NO.
on the 31st March, 2021 at 5:27am
Look at the utter tragedy that is Cutrone. He’s going to (not) play for three clubs this season - THREE. What exactly did he do wrong at Milan? He managed to score more goals than Higuain, Silva and Kalinić but it was never enough. Milan just kept piling more and more strikers on top of him. Piatek was the final nail in Cutrone’s coffin and he didn’t even last. How were any of these players especially Cutrone going to reach their potential in this environment?
on the 31st March, 2021 at 12:38am
are too disruptive to squads and constantly moving players including and especially on loan will undermine their development as they move around like seasonal workers. Serie A desperately needs to get on top of the number of transfers which is why I think we need caps. It’ll at least force the clubs to focus on quality over quantity.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 9:27pm
The most common excuse for this is that Italian teams have no money. That’s right, no money means you sign more players not less. The actual reason for this is corruption. When nothing makes sense it’s probably best to look for backhanders. Agents and directors are making a fortune out of the transfer merry-go-round. It’s got nothing to do with football. It doesn’t really matter what type of players teams sign as long as there’s some vaguely tactical reason for doing so. Also too many signings
on the 30th March, 2021 at 9:25pm
I don’t have an issue with Aguero coming to Serie A. He’s quality and it’s not like Serie A is the paciest of leagues. The issue is not one or two signings, it’s the thousands that will happen in the next transfer window. Taking a normal transfer window (19/20) there were 374 departures and 346 arrivals at premier league clubs, 292 and 294 in the Bundesliga, 84 and 77 in La Liga, and 865 and 375 in Serie A. Serie A regularly has at least double the number of transfers as other top leagues.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 9:18pm
Pt2 regarding investing in youth accompanying long term planning then yes this is absolutely the way to go for a lot of Italian clubs, considering their lack of financial resources. It baffles me how a lot of Italian clubs don’t follow the Atalanta model. It’s there for all to see that it works. Not all clubs may have the same degree of success but it’s better than signing bang average players and getting very little return in terms of performance and sell on value
on the 30th March, 2021 at 8:31pm
Pt1 If teams could get these players for 1 year then they would be worth a punt as both know how to score goals and their goals could be the difference for a club like Roma for example getting into a champions league spot. So in those circumstances it would be worth it. However we all know high profile free transfers demand 3yr contracts at least and huge wages so overall, no, Italian clubs should not.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 8:27pm
depends on aguero wage demands if they are reasonable why not the guy is one of the stand out striker of his generation. considering the lack of quality strikers in italian football at the moment there is a lot of teams which could use his talents.

as for giroud hell no not even if he getting paid a euro a week. at best he was a decent striker in his prime at worst he was temperamental and inconsistent bench warmer at best for a top 4 side.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 4:30pm
It must be sad very sad to realize that Clubs are managing their organizations in such utterly ridiculous manner! I am afraid that there has to be regulations to regulate football in Italy with most professional terms. If you ask me, the German League and their people whom are managing it sets the appropriate way for progressive football. So, I ask why are Serie A Clubs so selfish? And What is really going on? I answer; Traitors are ruining Italian Football. I call for complete investigation!
on the 30th March, 2021 at 4:23pm
No, Serie A need young promosing talented players. There should be a rule to ban signing players above the age of 30! Plus Serie A clubs should & must invest in Italian talented players mainly. Compare the ‘90’s where the Italian Clubs ruled Europe due to the fact Italian players more than others, and now a days the presence very weak! due to many unuseful foreign players. Stop the Clubs greed in bringing players such as Aguero & Giroud to sell KITS over quality of play & harness football.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 4:14pm
I'd have him at Juve in a heart beat if the move is possible. Serie A would suit his game at this stage of his career, he'd score for fun. Dybala has run his course at the club for me, he's not really kicked on and he could probably do with a new challenge, time to move on and pick up a big transfer fee for him. Aguero would more than fill the gap left by Dybala.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 3:27pm

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