JUVENTUS successfully plundered the Premier League for Maurizio Sarri and Aaron Ramsey this summer, but which Serie A stars should attracting the attention of English clubs? Adam Digby details four players who could be worth taking a risk on.
Ivan Perisic has long been a target for Manchester United, the Inter winger coming extremely close to completing a move to Old Trafford just eight months ago. Ultimately he opted to remain in Milan, but events this week have not only reopened the possibility of an exit, but are also likely to have driven down his transfer fee.
Back in January, Perisic was left out of the Nerazzurri squad for a match with Torino, director Beppe Marotta admitting that the player had requested a transfer as talk of a £48 million deal spread quickly in Italy and the UK.
Inter have confirmed multiple times that Icardi & Nainggolan are up for sale, & after Conte said Perisic can't play where he wants him to, rumors are saying all three are up for sale in order to pay for Lukaku & another striker ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/VYY2CzRScJ
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) July 23, 2019
The Croatia international appeared to change his mind, but new coach Antonio Conte had some stinging criticism for him this past weekend. Having watched his side lose to United in Singapore, the former Chelsea man was less than impressed with Perisic’s performance as a wing-back in the 3-5-2 formation.
“I don’t think Perisic is suited to the role I am asking for, so right now the only place he can play is upfront,” Conte told reporters shortly after the match. “There are roles to be respected and you cannot change the characteristics of a player. The sensations I get are negative, so I don't think he can give the team what it needs.”
That has reportedly (and understandably) angered Perisic according to Nicolo Schira of La Gazzetta dello Sport, who also believes Arsenal and Tottenham could reignite their interest to compete with United.
Now 30 years old, Perisic has contributed 37 goals and 26 assists in 141 appearances for Inter, and could be available for as little as €30 million now Conte has made his dissatisfaction so publicly clear.
— DailyAFC™ (@DailyAFC) July 23, 2019
While his manager has not thrown him under the bus the way Inter have with Perisic, events over the past week have conspired to make Daniele Rugani surplus to requirements at Juventus. Once viewed as the most promising Italian defender of his generation, the past few seasons have seen the 24-year-old struggle to make much impact in Turin.
Matthijs de Ligt’s arrival from Ajax and the €18 million acquisition of Turkey international Merih Demiral have pushed Rugani even further down the pecking order of a club who can also call upon Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in central defence.
AS Roma are reportedly interested in signing him and have been told Juve value Rugani at €30 million, which – given his experience in the Champions League and international level – could prove to be a snip for a player in desperate need of a fresh start.
Just as Rugani would suit any club in the market for defensive reinforcements, Dennis Praet of Sampdoria is a midfielder who could suit a plethora of Premier League clubs. The Belgian has previously been discussed as a target for Arsenal, but their move for him and current team-mate Joachim Andersen appears to have cooled over the past few weeks since the latter joined Ligue 1 side Lyon.
Understand #lcfc made another bid which is just shy of Sampidoria’s asking price for D.Praet. Unsure whether it has been accepted or not, but player is keen on move to the the PL, especially to play with Youri Tielemans again. Expect more movement in the next few days.
— LCFC HQ (@LCFCHQ) July 16, 2019
Strong on the ball and extremely comfortable in possession, the 25-year-old is excellent at finding pockets of space, constantly moving around the field to find weaknesses in opposition defences, just as former Samp man Lucas Torreira does. His passing is exceptional, often opening up chances for those ahead of him even if his goal (2) and assist (3) tallies last term were hampered in a much deeper role than he is naturally used to.
Praet also averaged 2.7 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per 90 minutes according to data provided by Opta, figures which hint he could comfortably adjust to the more physical style of play that is seen in England.
Another player who might comfortably make the leap to England is Pol Lirola, the young defender having already told current club Sassuolo that he is looking to move on this summer. “I heard from many sources that he wants to leave, so much that he has already terminated the rent on his apartment in the city,” general manager Giovanni Carnevali told La Gazzetta di Modena earlier this month.
“If a player does not have the right motivation, then he’s not needed at Sassuolo,” the club official continued, and that could well be good news for potential suitors. Able to operate as either a wing-back or an orthodox full-back.
Pol Lirola is set to leave Sassuolo and join Fiorentina reports in Italy suggest. The fee for the Spanish U21 international is believed to be around 10m euros.
— TeamRumorsTransfers 24/7 ⚽ (@rumorstransfers) July 24, 2019
Lirola’s performances on the right flank have already seen him catch the attention of Fiorentina, but talk of a €10 million bid from La Viola has yet to materialise into anything tangible. That fee would represent excellent value for the talented 21-year-old who weighed in with two goals and six assists for Sassuolo during the 2018/19 campaign.
He also averaged 1.5 tackles and one interception per 90 minutes, while his time with Spain’s various youth teams and in the Europa League make him far more experienced than his age would indicate.