Osvaldo to Southampton, Astori to Napoli Highlight Serie A Weekend Transfer Roundup
With about two weeks left in the summer transfer window, Italian clubs are keen on adding even more talent as they gear up for the 2013-14 Serie A season, which is scheduled to begin on August 24th.
Below, you'll find this weekend's top transfer rumors, involving some of the peninsula's best clubs, as well as some of world football's most sought after players.
Pablo Osvaldo to Southampton
English side Southampton have been tracking Roma centre-forward Pablo Osvaldo for a while now and a report from Football-Italia (h/t Corriere dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia) states the Italian international will agree a switch to the Hampshire outfit.
Roma will receive €18 million for their mercurial forward and the deal looks like it could pay dividends for both clubs. The Giallorossi previously agreed a deal for Arsenal winger Gervinho, who could slot into the starting eleven, with Francesco Totti moving to the centre-forward spot that Osvaldo's departure will void.
Another option would be for new manager Rudi Garcia to give the highly-touted Mattia Destro a run in the first team. Destro, 22, has already won four senior international caps with Italy and is said to be one of world football's brightest centre-forward prospects.
For Southampton, they'll have another striker to pair with the talismanic Rickie Lambert. Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino prefers a 4-2-3-1 so the Argentinian may need to institute a change in system should he wish to start Lambert, a recently capped English international, alongside Osvaldo.
Napoli Close to Signing Cagliari's Davide Astori
The 26-year-old Astori is set for a move to Napoli, who continue to spend loads of cash following the departure of star striker Edinson Cavani, via reports from Football-Italia (h/t Sky Sport Italia). The move will cost the Naples outfit anywhere between €13 and €15 million.
Rafa Benitez will move away from the 3-5-2 that Walter Mazzarri used during his time at the helm, as Benitez plans to institute a four-man back-line. The Partenopei already signed Real Madrid's Raul Albiol, presumably to start, and a deal for Astori would give Benitez a bit of a selection conundrum as the club's captain, Paolo Cannavaro, is also a centre-back.
Napoli is also continuing its pursuit of the out of favor Martin Skrtel, and while a move for Skrtel would give the Sao Paolo outfit four very solid centre-backs, it would be very difficult to keep each player happy, as all would be expecting significant first-team action.
Astori, an Italian international, was previously linked with switches to Serie A rivals Milan and Premier League giants Manchester United.
Lazio Reportedly Have Deal in Place for Galatasaray Star Burak Yilmaz
According to Sabah Spor (article in Turkish), Lazio are close to signing Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz. The 28-year-old was previously a target of Liverpool and Arsenal, and should reports be true, Lazio have completed a massive coup.
Yilmaz is a prolific centre-forward who scored 32 goals in 39 matches last season, including eight strikes in the UEFA Champions League. As to the fee, there are conflicting reports that have Yilmaz joining Lazio from anywhere between €10 and €15 million, which seems low considering figures around €25 million were being tossed around amidst interest from the Premier League duo.
If the report is true, Lazio are going to have a very formidable attacking corps, highlighted by Brazilian maestro Hernanes. Italian international Antonio Candreva will also be looking to leave his mark and the move for Yilmaz will give German veteran Miroslav Klose some top quality competition.
It remains to be seen if Yilmaz and Klose could play together, but should the two carve out a cohesive partnership, look for Lazio to make a run at the Champions League places.
Inter Tracking Bologna Starlet Saphir Taider
Taider, a target of Manchester United, is being linked with a switch to Inter, as new boss Walter Mazzarri looks keen on adding another promising youngster. Having already brought in Mauro Icardi and Ishak Belfodil, and with Mateo Kovacic and Juan Jesus in place, adding Taider would give Inter one of the most talented, young contingents in world football.
He's a very well-rounded player with composure well beyond his years. The 21-year-old Algerian international is capable of putting in a crunching tackle, threading a defense-splitting pass, as well cap off a surging run or strike from distance.
After struggling mightily last season, Inter may not be able to contend for a Serie A title as they currently stand, but after a couple more years of development, this squad will be one to watch, especially if they can seal the Taider signing.
Discontent for Mamadou Sakho Fuels Milan Interest
French international Mamadou Sakho has requested a transfer from French giants PSG, after falling behind Alex and Thiago Silva and the addition of Marquinhos.
Milan, who have expressed interest in Sakho on multiple occasions, are set to rekindle their interest in the 23-year-old centre-back, but will face competition from Liverpool.
The Rossoneri won't be able to compete with the Anfield club financially so if the interest from the Reds is concrete, Adriano Galliani will have a very difficult time striking a deal.
Liverpool currently have Kolo Toure, Sebastian Coates, Daniel Agger and the out of favor Martin Skrtel on the books, while Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom are also capable of deputizing as centre-halves.
Milan have Philippe Mexes, Cristian Zapata, youngster Jherson Vergara, the injured Daniele Bonera, veteran Cristian Zaccardo and Inter loanee Matias Silvestre at centre-back. Sakho would challenge, and could probably win, a first-team role at the San Siro and would be a top quality alternative to Philippe Mexes when he's struggling with his bouts of inconsistency.
One caveat that could tip the scales in Milan's favor is that Massimiliano Allegri's side is involved in the UEFA Champions League, while Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool find themselves out of Europe.
Other Transfer Rumors
Atletico Madrid will rival Milan for Fiorentina second-striker Adem Ljajic.
Christian Chivu wishes to terminate his contract at Inter in order to facilitate a move to Dynamo Moscow.
Fabio Quagliarella could be the next accomplished star to head to Qatar, following interest from Al-Gharafa.
Milan youngster Kingsley Boateng, who enjoyed a solid preseason, has joined Catania on loan in search of first-team football.
Milos Krasic, a former Juventus player, could be given a chance to revive his Serie A career by Bologna.
Sampdoria has loaned Argentina's first-choice keeper, Sergio Romero, to nouveau-riche Monaco, with the Ligue 1 outfit having the option to buy Romero at the end of the loan spell.