Yesterday marked the last gasp of an outdated transfer system in Italy: as of 1900 ECT, co-ownership deals are a thing of the past.
For years, the Italian leagues imitated Portugal and South America in sharing a player’s rights (cartellino, literally “card”) between two clubs.
The advantages were that a club could procure the playing rights of a player without having to cough up his full price, while retaining more power and permanence than a loan spell.
The abolition of the practice was declared last summer by incoming FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio, whereupon all clubs were given a year to redeem (riscattare) their co-owned players. The federation’s aim was to increase financial transparency, improve players’ career security and bring Serie A up to date with the top leagues of Europe.
At the time there were an estimated 164 such deals in Serie A alone (statistic: IlPost.it); heading into the final day, 69 players were still to be redeemed. Here’s the five most important deals of the day:
Pity Pay for Parma
Parma were recently relegated to the amateur league Serie D having been declared bankrupt, which – as well as leaving all of its players free agents, its staff unemployed and its possessions up for auction – left ten young co-owned players (half) without a home.
One of these players was Cesena’s discovery of the season Gregoire Defrel, the 24 year-old striker whose nine goals and six assists were not quite enough to save his side from relegation but enough to garner interest from several other Serie A sides including Milan.
Despite the fact that the striker was all theirs for the taking, Cesena’s management decided to make a €51,000 ‘bid’ for the second half of the Frenchman’s playing rights, the half owned by Parma. The intent is for the money to go towards the bankrupt club’s unemployed staff as redundancy payoff, provided Serie A’s legal department accepts the transaction.
Now that’s sportsmanship.
Last-Minute Rush For Roma
Roma has spent the last few weeks on the hunt for the resolution of some highly significant investments, culminating in a €20m deal for star midfielder Radja Nainggolan and attacker Victor Ibarbo from newly relegated Cagliari. A further €8.5m went into buying out Andrea Bertolacci from Genoa.
This took up a lot of sporting director Walter Sabatini’s time, leaving the fate of five more youngsters unresolved on deadline day, only one of whom ended up heading towards the capital.
Luca Antei will continue to ply his trade at Sassuolo and Gianluca Caprari will remain at Pescara, while Adrian Stoian and Federico Barba have been bought by Chievo Verona and Empoli respectively. It is understood that a clause has been inserted into Barba’s contract which allows for a future buy-back option for Roma.
Only Matteo Politano, another Pescara ‘graduate’, was bought out by the capital club but is likely to join Antei at Sassuolo on loan next season.
Juve Looks To The Young, Sassuolo Still Smiling
Among a whole host of young players variously bought or sold yesterday by Juventus – including Thiam, Boakye and Barlocco – the highlight has to be the exciting young attacker Domenico Berardi, despite the fact that Sassuolo now own him completely.
29 goals in two seasons have made Berardi the most exciting attacking talent in Italy today, his statistics comparable to those of Lionel Messi at a similar age. Juventus, having bought out team-mate Simone Zaza, will wait until next summer to activate a near-certain buy-back clause worth €18m on Berardi.
Sassuolo’s bank account receives a healthy top-up; Juventus’ attack rejuvenated; smiles all round.
Torino’s Cross-City Give & Take Game
Meanwhile, Turin’s other top-flight side was doing dealings in a different city – Milan – to resolve the ownership of Marco Benassi and Simone Verdi.
The former is an Italy U21 who only the day before scored an impressive brace against a strong England side in the European championships. Inter’s bid of €2.8m was trumped by the more determined Torino’s €3.5m, to be paid by the end of the week.
Verdi, meanwhile, was half-owned by Inter’s arch-rivals AC Milan. In a loan spell at Empoli, he impressed Milan’s owners enough for them to stump up a reported €450,000 – but did not impress Luigi Di Biagio enough to join Benassi in the Azzurrini.
On the balance of it, then, Torino have done quite well out of their trip across the North.
Sampdoria’s Silver Lining
With the crushing news of De Silvestri’s six months on the sidelines, Sampdoria fans needed a spot of good news, which came in the form of the confirmation of his full purchase from Fiorentina.
On the same day it was announced that former Arsenal stopper Emilio Viviano would join the blucerchiati on a loan deal with compulsory purchase, though Palermo’s announcement of the sale did not reveal the price the Ligurians would pay at the end of the season.