AQUILANI MATURES

Since his disappointing spell with Liverpool a few years ago, the Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani has matured in recent years. The loan spells with AC Milan have once again demonstrated the ability within the midfielder, who suffered a number of injury problems after his move to Liverpool from Roma.

The midfielder recently secured a permanent move to Fiorentina, and he has been one of the main players in the resurgence of Fiorentina under the management of Vincenzo Montella. Even though Vincenzo Montella does not have a lot of experience, he has managed to get Fiorentina closer to the likes of Inter Milan and Lazio in the table.

The club still have an outside chance of qualifying for the European positions. They are currently sixth in the Italian Serie A table with only two points separating them from Inter Milan and Lazio. Aquilani has been one of the star players for the team this season. He has played 18 matches for the club in all competitions and has scored four goals. The 28-year-old has said that he is confident that he can strike a great partnership with Sissoko as well. Fiorentina managed to secure the signing of Sissoko from Juventus in the January transfer window. Aquilani knows Sissoko extremely well due to his loan spell with Juventus a few years back.

“We have to react after last Saturday's loss to Juventus. We have to absorb the criticism and start again – nothing is impossible at this stage of the season. Sissoko is a massive plus for us. We've already started a good relationship [in training],” said Aquilani after the 2-0 defeat at the hands of the table leaders Juventus. The club had recently brought an end to a poor run of form with the 2-0 win over Parma, and they will be keen to return to winning ways.

MAZZARRI REASSURES FANS

The Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri has assured fans that the club will be back despite the problems faced by them in recent weeks. It was only a few weeks ago that Napoli were challenging for the title along with Juventus at the top of the table.

However, many incidents have happened since then including points penalty for the team. A couple of the Napoli players were found guilty of being involved in match fixing back in the 2009 season, which has led to the club being penalised two points now. This coupled with a poor run of form has meant that they have fallen 10 points behind leaders and are currently in the fifth position.

Despite this, the manager is confident that the club will be back to winning ways once again and will be at least able to finish in the Champions league positions come the end of the season. Mazzarri has questioned the decision taken by the Italian football Association to penalise Napoli by two points for the mistake done by two players more than three years ago. The case will now be going to the tribunal and a decision is set to be announced later in the season. For now, Napoli have the content with the fifth position in the table.

“It’s a difficult moment, but I’m certain that the team will get back on the right path. We’ve identified the reasons behind our dip. We’ll see against Siena if the things we have discussed are applied. I don’t have a magic wand, but I can guarantee that the squad will give everything that it has. Despite the points penalty, we have more points now than at the same stage last season,” said the Napoli manager, whose team has had just two victories in the last five matches.

MONTELLA UNSURE ON AQUILANI

The Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella has refused to reveal whether the former Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani will be part of the starting line-up when Fiorentina take on Genoa in Italian Serie A in the midweek action.

Fiorentina have made a great start to the new season under the new manager Vincenzo Montella. However, it has also meant that the summer signing Albert Aquilani has seen very little first-team action so far. He has started just two matches for the Italian club since completing his move from Liverpool in the summer. The 28-year-old, though, made his return from a long-term injury problem in the 1-0 win over Lazio recently.

In the pre-match press conference, Vincenzo Montella was asked the question whether Albert Aquilani would start the match or not. However, he refused to reveal the status of the midfielder and give an advantage to the rivals. Fiorentina are currently fourth in the Italian Serie A table after having won the last four matches without exception. They have 24 points from the 12 matches played, and they could easily overtake Inter Milan if results go their way in the coming weekends. This is a far cry from the relegation threatening season they had last season.

"I won't tell you whether he will play or not. I don't want to give them any kind of advantage. We are just all happy that a player of his calibre is at our disposal," said the Fiorentina manager ahead of the Genoa match. The next few weeks will be extremely tough for Fiorentina because they will be featuring the likes of Milan and Atalanta in the league. However, because they can only focus on the league without any distractions from European competitions, Montella has said that he does not see a reason why they cannot challenge for Champions league positions.

AQUILANI RULED OUT

The Fiorentina midfielder, Alberto Aquilani, has been ruled out of the team for two weeks due to his Achilles injury. Aquilani has been struggling with this injury since the start of the season, since joining the club for a reported £6m (according to Liverpool news).

He hasn’t started any match for Fiorentina in the current season so far and he came to play as substitute only in two matches. He was supposed to be included in Fiorentina’s first XI for the match against Catania which is going to be played on 16th of September. But, the manager of Fiorentina, Vincenzo Montella, has made it clear that Aquilani would not play in the match against Catania. There hasn’t been any improvement in his injury and he needs to rest for a few days.

As per Montella, The doctors have suggested Aquilani to rest for at least two weeks, otherwise, the injury could get worse. The team management wants him to play in more and more matches, but, he can’t be included in the first XI unless he is 100% fit. He is a terrific player. That’s why the club has invested in him. But, unfortunately, he has had some fitness issues due to which he hasn’t been able to serve the club as much as he would have wanted to do. Hopefully, the rest for a couple of weeks would help him in regaining 100% fitness.

Aquilani himself said that he is gutted after being ruled out for a fortnight. As per Aquilani, when you join a new club, you don’t want to miss too many matches. You want to feature in more and more matches and make a mark. But, unfortunately, he has struggled with injury during his 1 month tenure at Fiorentina so far. Hopefully, it would not take him too long to make a comeback.

Souness: Reds will ease past Hearts

Following Liverpool's horrendous start to the Premier League campaign at the weekend, there have been concerns that Brendan Rodgers' men could continue their struggles in Europe. However, Liverpool legend Graeme Souness disagrees with such views, claiming that the Reds will be far too strong for their opponents Hearts on Thursday night.

It would be fair to say that Liverpool struggled in their first leg tie in the previous qualification round of the Europa Cup, after only managing to scrape a 1-0 victory against FC Gomel. However, they did manage to perform much more successfully in the second leg and after recording a 3-0 win, expectations for the new campaign were high. Still, following the defeat to West Brom at the weekend, some supporters have doubted just how seriously Rodgers will take Europe with the club's league form clearly needing extra attention.

However, according to Souness, there shouldn't be any worries. Speaking to the media, the former Reds captain said, “I just feel Liverpool will have too much quality in too many areas and I think that will decide the tie. Hearts would need more than half the Liverpool team to have two off nights to have a chance. There is a gulf between the Premier League in England and the SPL in Scotland right now. Although Liverpool aren’t the force they were, they’re still arguably the second biggest club in England.”

It is already being reported that Rodgers will rest several players for the tie, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel supposedly not even traveling to Scotland. With Jose Enrique also still injured, Rodgers is likely to turn to some of the club's younger players, while Andy Carroll could also be called upon as the club try and take the advantage to the second leg at Anfield.

AC STLL HOPING

AC Milan has said that they have still not given up hope on the signing of Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who spent one season on loan with the Italian club, according to the Liverpool news website. It was initially thought that AC Milan would not be interested in making the loan move permanent due to the presence of a number of midfielders at the club.

However, the exit of players like Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf has made them rethink their decision over the Italian. Alberto Aquilani has been a major disappointment at Liverpool ever since arriving at the club many seasons ago for around £ 20 million to play alongside Steven Gerrard.

It is thought that Liverpool were interested in cutting their losses by selling the midfielder for around £ 12 million, while AC Milan were preferred to pay only around £ 6 million. AC Milan were looking at the possibility of replacing the players like Clarence Seedorf and Gattuso with Mathieu Flamini.

However, the decision made by the former Arsenal midfielder to leave the club as well has put them in a tight situation. As a result, they have returned with the statement that they will not rule out a move for Alberto Aquilani. Liverpool's new manager Brendan Rodgers recently confirmed that he is prepared to give Aquilani a chance at Liverpool.

"Before August 31, another midfielder will arrive, it could be Aquilani or somebody else. We haven't spoken yet to Aquilani. He is a Liverpool player. The time has expired for Flamini and we have already told his lawyer that we will not wait any longer," said Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani. Mathieu Flamini came to AC Milan on a free transfer from Arsenal back in 2008, but has failed to establish himself as one of the regular first team players. As a result, he has decided to leave the club.

Return to Liverpool could be perfect timing

Aquilani has more than failed to match up to his £17million price tag that brought the midfielder to Anfield.

The Italian was signed with a string of injuries that kept him out of the Liverpool side for some time before being able to make his debut having to wait over 4 months for his first premiership start.

After a slow and disappointing start Liverpool were fast to ship the central Midfielder on loan in hope he would recapture his form. After loans to Juventus and then AC Milan this season Aquilani is set to return to troubled Liverpool alongside returning Joe Cole both who are out of favour at the Merseyside club.

Aquilani who has only made 28 appearances for Liverpool may now return needed more than ever. On arrival the central midfield at Liverpool was flush with talent, such as Xabi Alono, Gerrard and Mascherano, now however, substandard Shelvey and Spearing seem to play and transfer flops Henderson and Adams have also failed to live up to their promise.

It is of no surprise that Kenny Dalglish has been quick to announce that he would welcome the Italian back with open arms should he wish to stay at Liverpool. Milan do have the option to purchase the player for £6million as was part of the Loan agreement, it is likely that ‘The Reds’ will be hoping that the Italians don’t take advantage of this clause.

With some interest from a number of Italian clubs, Liverpool should use this opportunity to introduce the International back into the squad and give him one last chance to prove he is the quality player that he is. If Aquilani is still unable to perform next season then Dalglish should have little problem selling him in January.

AQUILANI WILL JOIN AC

Alberto Aquilani's agent has confirmed that his client will become an official AC Milan player provided he makes five more appearances for the Italian team from now till the end of the season.

The Italian international is currently on a season long loan deal till the end of the season from Liverpool.

However, he is expected to seal his exit from Liverpool once he makes the 25th appearance for AC Milan this season according to the clause inserted in his loan agreement. The 27-year-old was signed by Liverpool for £ 16 million back in 2009.

Aquilani has made 20 appearances for AC Milan this season. Out of the 20, 15 appearances have come in the league, while five have been in the Champions League. As a result, Aquilani needs only five more appearances to confirm his stay with AC Milan.

His agent, Franco Zavaglia, was more keen to stress the fact that Aquilani is very happy with life at AC Milan. Even though the player is currently injured due to an ankle injury – which has kept him out of first team action from January, he is expected to make full recovery and return to the first-team action within one week according to his agent.

"It's all written in the contract. Once Alberto has made 25 appearances for the Rossoneri, he will be a Milan player in all respects. He's progressing very well. I hope he can return in mid-March," agent Franco Zavaglia revealed in a recent press conference. The exact fee agreed between the two clubs should they intend to make the loan deal permanent has not been revealed. Aquilani has already spent a season on loan at Juventus, but they were able to reach an agreement with regard to the transfer fee for the player, who had cost £ 16 million in 2009.

AQUILANI REVEALS BUY-OUT CLAUSE

AC Milan's on loan midfielder Alberto Aquilani has said that he has a £ 5.2 million buyout clause in his contract that would allow AC Milan to purchase the former Roma player for an extremely cheap price.

The Italian revealed that Liverpool had inserted a £ 5.2 million buyout clause should the player make 25 appearances for AC Milan during the season. So far, Alberto Aquilani has played in 13 matches for AC Milan, and considering that there is more than half of the season to go, there is a very good chance that Aquilani will be playing for AC Milan next season.

AC Milan have been extremely prudent in making the signings of in the last few years after running into financial troubles. The recent deals that brought Alexandre Pato and Robinho are perfect examples of it, while the deal that brought Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro is probably the pinnacle of it.

Should it AC Milan sign Aquilani for £ 5.2 million, then it could even compared with the deal for Ibrahimovic given that the 27-year-old Aquilani has been immense for AC Milan this season. Aquilani spent last season and Juventus, but he has been much better this term and the prospect of signing him for less than £ 10 million will certainly appeal to AC Milan.

"There is a buyout fee set at €6 million [£5.2 million] and it is activated after 25 games," he stated to La Gazzetta dello Sport. I feel more assured. You can never say no to Milan. I have always had the hope of becoming a Rossoneri player. I did not expect to be bought by Juventus, the price set by Liverpool [€16 million] was too high. Juve was an opportunity and I have used it well," said Alberto Aquilani in a recent interview given regarding his future.

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