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.


Have your say...
I imagine he'll sign for us at Inter. Conte has never met someone who's no longer fit or fast enough to play in Serie A, that he didn't want to give a hugely expensive long-term contract to.

I'm just hoping our finances are such, Conte will have to look to younger, cheaper, hungrier (fitter!) players, tho i know that's not really his 'thing'
on the 30th March, 2021 at 2:49pm
Ferban, as usual, you hit the nail on the head. Serie A should not be accepting ageing Premier league players. Those were the days of Gullit, Vialli, Zola, etc. We should command players in their peak, damn it.. Juve needs young, hungry players. Stop with the tactic of trying to get good deals alla Pirlo, Ronaldo, etc (though it’s questionable whether Ronaldo was actually a good deal.....)
on the 30th March, 2021 at 2:23pm
No, of course not. Focus on youth, not players who are past their prime. You can't afford the best players on the market? Well, very simple, your best players are actually the youth playing football in your own country. Italy want to start wining Euro and World competitions again? Then I suggest the lazy crud at the FIGC and coaches in this country start actually coaching and create systems to develop the youth in this country instead of retirees from overseas.
on the 30th March, 2021 at 1:11pm
There's far too many has-beens arriving from England.

All it shows is how hopeless the clowns "running" these Italian clubs are, and their short-term, lazy way of thinking.

Aguero could be a success, but it'd probably wouldn't be for long, and his wages and injuries are both huge issues.

Signing over-the-hill players from England is making a mockery of Serie A, making it look like a retirement home.

20 years ago, Serie A used to dump their has-beens in England - now it's the opposite
on the 30th March, 2021 at 11:47am
Absolutely not, especially not Aguero who will command huge wages. The only way either of these two would be viable signings would be if they were on relatively low wages and short term deals no longer than 2 years, ideally 1. Aguero going to Inter would just cause an unnecessary headache for Conte and reduce Martinez game time at best, and at worst force him out. And going to Juve is the worst thing they could possibly do. Juve need pace and energy up front not an ageing, slow striker
on the 30th March, 2021 at 10:33am

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