Working his way back from knee surgery, Italian international Giuseppe Rossi is looking for employment, and has hinted at a possible return to Serie A. Who, if any, will offer it?
By now, we’ve all heard the story of Teaneck, New Jersey star Giuseppe Rossi, his controversial decision years ago to represent Italy over the United States, and the list of unfortunate injuries that have plagued his playing career over the years from reaching its full potential.
Along the way, the former Manchester United and Newcastle striker has missed out several times on the chance to play for the Azzurri at the World Cup, European Championships, and most importantly, play the game he loves with regularity and with freedom from fearing additional setbacks.
In January 2016, the Italian international returned to La Liga where he enjoyed the most success of his career during his days with Villarreal, this time, inking a short-term deal with Levante for the remainder of the season – an attempt for increased minutes and an opportunity to make then-Italy boss Antonio Conte’s Euro 2016 roster. Unfortunately, the 30-year old missed out on a call-up by the current Chelsea coach, despite scoring six goals in 17 games for the Spanish side. However, it was through these performances that Celta Vigo showed confidence in him, offering a one-year contract (with an option for the second) that same summer, providing him top flight football and some security for his waning career.
On 3 April 2017, Rossi showed signs of a revival, netting a hat-trick in a 3-1 home win over Las Palmas in the league. Days later, however, his misfortune continued against Eibar, as he suffered yet another ACL rupture in his left knee – his fifth major injury of his turbulent career. Shelved indefinitely for at least six months, his employer Fiorentina allowed his contract to expire last July. Since then, the once-prolific Parma ace has remained upbeat, determined to return stronger than before by rehabbing tirelessly in preparation that someone, some club out there, will take a chance on the striker-for-hire currently on the employment line looking for work.
Today, in an interview with Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia), Rossi explained his intentions are to return to Serie A, hinting at a possible comeback to the top-flight with league leaders Napoli whose style of calcio under Maurizio Sarri impresses him.
“My desire is to come back to Italy. Naturally, I’d love to play for a side like Napoli, as they play some of the best football in Europe, and I think my characteristics would fit well.”
Rossi also expressed his delight in possibly reuniting with Vincenzo Montella from his days at Fiorentina, saying “his football is built for strikers and he has a very attacking-minded approach.”
Surveying his options, it’s unlikely neither Napoli or Milan would take a flyer on Rossi. Dries Mertens is the main man up front for Sarri, and will be even when injured striker Arkadiusz Milik does make his way back from ACL surgery. Let’s assume that once the Pole is ready to resume play around January, when the transfer window is open for business. President Aurelio De Laurentiis could likely send Milik out on a short loan for minutes and allow the former Ajax star to find a club granting him regular minutes ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Even then with a bench role perhaps on the table, there is a possibility Napoli call Chievo Verona striker Roberto Inglese prematurely as a safety net and backup, leaving Rossi with no way into the picture. Meanwhile, Milan currently have three strikers fit and ready to play for Montella: Nikola Kalinic, Patrick Cutrone and Andre Silva, meaning it wouldn’t make much sense for both Rossi and the Milanese giant to link up.
Even though these two destinations seem unlikely, there are several clubs in Serie A who surely could use some attacking grit and a scoring threat up front, including Benevento, Hellas Verona and Genoa as a few that come to mind.
Rossi’s best bet would be to seek out a club who could just give him the opportunity of minutes in a role that won’t be taxing and require him to be the main man for goals – playing freely without the burdening pressure to produce. Regardless of what his next move is, we are all in support of him and his journey back to his playground – the football pitch.