3 Jan 2017

Done Deal: 'Quality' £17m Liverpool flop seals January transfer; deal officially 'completed'

Serie A minnows Sassuolo have sealed a deal to sign one of Rafa Benitez's most ill-advised transfers.

According to the club's official website today:

"Sassuolo has completed the signing of Alberto Aquilani on loan from Pescara until June 30, 2017. He will be presented to the media tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4, at the Ricci Stadium press room".

Like many Liverpool fans, I was against Aquilani's signing, and weeks before the deal was finalised, I posted an article bemoaning the transfer, mainly due to the Italian's injury history. Here is a snippet from the article:

"It’s utterly ludicrous that Benitez is considering replacing Alonso with a player with this kind of injury record. To make matters worse, Aquilani is injured *at this very moment*, which means the chances of him being properly fit for the first stage of the season are practically nil. It really is beyond belief that of all the players Liverpool could sign, Aquilani is the best Benitez can come up with. Even if he passes the medical, the probability that he will get injured again is extremely high.

Well, Rafa proceeded to splurge £17m on Aquilani, and he arrived at the club with following ringing endorsement from Francesco Totti:

"He is potentially one of the best players in the world...and I believe he will do really well in England.”

Talk about the proverbial kiss of death. In a shocking turn of events, Aquilani spent most of this time at Anfield on the treatment table, something that was impossible to foresee (!) Sods law, though - after leaving Liverpool, Aquilani's injury problems dramatically decreased:

* 2009-2012 (LFC): 39 games missed through injury (including loan deals)

* 2012-Present: 17 games missed through injury.

Just like at Anfield, though, Aquilani's goals/assists ratio remains distinctly unimpressive (though I've seen worse):

* 2012-Present: 35 goals/assists in 146 apps (One every 270 mins)

Aquilani is 32 now, and after an injury-ravaged career, retirement must surely be near...?

* Sep 2016: Described by Pescara boss Massimo Oddo as a 'quality' midfielder


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