So, the transfer deadline (August 31) has passed and the football market is now closed. Closed? Not quite. Indeed, while transfers from one club to another will have to wait until January to resume, teams may still sign players as free agents (and that until March 31, 2009).
And speaking of free agents, Gazzetta dello Sport had the great idea of rounding up all these “Serie A rejects”, and see what kind of a team one could come up with. And the result lies much further from mediocrity than you might think.
The transfer market ended with some big explosions: Quaresma, Milito, Robinho, and with the new Manchester City Saudi owners ready to buy back half of the Premier League (fortunately they’ll have to wait until January to do so).
However, the big “sales” period is only just beginning: all the players out of a contract are looking to be the next “bargain” purchase, and while we probably won’t see them out on the street any time soon, these guys could (if they wanted) form a team of their own. Definitely not Scudetto, Champions League, or even UEFA Cup material, but probably just enough to avoid relegation. How does “Unemployed FC” sound like?
In goal, ex-Parma nº1 Luca Bucci looks like a good choice. For the backline, how about Valerio Bertotto (Siena, once even a hot Azzurri prospect), Fernando Couto (ex-Lazio and Parma Portuguese international), Fabio Galante (ex-Inter, just unloaded by Livorno) and Aparecido Cesar (kicked out Inter Milan’s door, just like his mentor Mancini).
Further up, there should be no shortage of midfield muscle with Stephen Appiah (ex-Juve, just released by Fenerbahce), Alessio Tacchinardi (another ex-Bianconero, released by Brescia), and Giuliano Giannichedda (ex-Lazio and Juve, unloaded by Livorno). And who better than the great Euro 2000 revelation Stefano Fiore (ex-Udinese and Fiorentina, released by Mantova) to fill the trequartista role?
In attack, we are looking at Inter Milan. No really, no joke. A pretty fearsome Nerazzurri duo… circa 1998 that is: Alvaro Recoba (Torino) and Ronaldo (AC Milan). If love handles could score goals, these two would make a killing…
No team would be complete with a bench. So here are the “elected ones”: Cristiano Lupatelli (Palermo) as a backup keeper, Gaetano De Rosa (Genoa), Fabio Gatti (Modena) and Johan Micoud (ex-Parma, released by Bordeaux) are pretty good options too. Oe how about Emanuele Manitta and Domenico Giampà, left out in the street after Messina’s bankruptcy? And who could forget one of AC Milan’s “legends”: Patrick Kluivert (just ditched by Lille).
Finally, who better to pick as manager than this year’s Serie A reject par excellence: one mister Roberto Mancini.
So there you have it: eleven starters, seven substitutes, one manager.
Do YOU have another name to propose? Fire away! (doesn’t necessarily have to be an ex-Serie A player)
Update: Also see my “Top 11 Football Rejects: Ronaldo, Ljungberg, Appiah, Canizares and Davids lead the way” article on Soccerlens.