Monday July 4 2011
Rossi more value than Aguero?

With Kun Aguero's value threatening to price out Italian sides, Giuseppe Rossi is perhaps unfairly cited as a plan B, writes Rob Paton.

Giuseppe Rossi is part of a select group of high-cost European-based names currently available on the market, alongside the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Kun Aguero and Carlos Tevez as game-changing footballers available for the right price. With 32 goals and nine assists last term amid a growing influence on Villarreal's successful playing style, Rossi has risen to prominence, but for a third successive summer, speculation surrounding the former Manchester United man has risen and fallen.

However, there are reasons likely to bring Rossi back into market focus, particularly for Serie A sides who covert the Parma youth product. With Atletico Madrid deliberately holding on to Aguero until his Copa America involvement in an attempt to boost the Argentine's valuation – that could prove successful if his cameo against Bolivia is followed up with an offer from rivals Real – it places Rossi as a potentially more realistic investment for those in Italy after a more competitive marquee signing.

Juventus' Beppe Marotta, for instance, recently spoke of the only reason the Bianconeri would lose out on Aguero would be financial offers they could not compete with, such as tax breaks incentivising him to stay in La Liga, or higher bids coming in for the Atleti star. An increase in valuation would also almost certainly push him out of reach, and bring Rossi in, as a forward currently in the same price bracket Juventus are bidding for Aguero in. Villarreal's President Fernando Roig has also already confirmed that where the player has a €40m release clause in his contract, clubs can enter negotiations for Rossi with an offer of €30m.

As well as this, one of the key competitors for Rossi's signature – Barcelona – are confirmed by both Roig and Rossi's agent Federico Pastorello, as having withdrawn interest after failing to agree a price with Villarreal, amid commitments to priority Cesc Fabregas and potentially Udinese's Sanchez. Another Spanish side to have contacted the Madrigal team for Rossi is Atletico, who in preparation of Aguero's departure have enquired, but like Barca, view the Italian's asking price as too high.

Should Juve find themselves priced out of Aguero and towards Rossi, they are likely to face competition from Inter, with an interesting sub-plot that new Coach Gian Piero Gasperini has openly coveted the 24-year-old in recent seasons. Consecutive summers of 2009 and 2010 have seen Genoa linked with the youngster, with Gasperini one of those pushing for a move for the Italian.

At the moment though, nothing has moved beyond the valuation stage, with Roig confirming an unnamed Italian club has approached him already this summer, but that an inability to agree on price, again as with other interested parties, saw talks end before they began.

Whilst Rossi's stock is at a career high that clubs are keen to re-negotiate down, it is worth mentioning he still represents greater value than the players he is sharing transfer gossip columns with. For Italian teams in particular, beyond his nationality presenting an advantage for adapting, compared to Aguero, Tevez and Sanchez, he is the only one with proven credentials in more than one of Europe's top three Leagues.

Importantly, the player's first choice was Barcelona, and he has also expressed, unlike previous summers, a happiness to remain with Villarreal for another year should no-one come in.

With this in mind alongside the fact his price has perhaps unfairly been subject for discussion with suitors so far, the aspect that could now prove the difference in negotiating both with player and club may be through showing he is not just a high-price alternative. Rossi arrived at Villarreal in 2007 not as the Yellow Submarines' first, second or even third choice signing, but for a third successive summer, his is the first name they do not want to lose.

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