Sydney FC close in on Del Piero deal
In a potential major coup for the A-League, Sydney FC are hopeful of having done enough to convince Italian great Alessandro Del Piero to join the club.
Following three days of talks with the former Juventus forward, the Sky Blues appear confident they’ve landed their man despite interest from several European, Middle Eastern and United States-based clubs.
An initial statement from the A-League club said Del Piero had “agreed to finalise details” on a reported $2 million, six-month marquee deal.
But following comments by the 2006 World Cup winner’s agent and brother Stefano Del Piero, a second statement from the club clarified no agreement had been reached and discussions were ongoing.
Stefano Del Piero told the ANSA news agency that while Sydney’s offer was being looked at, nothing had been decided by the 37-year-old.
“We are still seriously analysing Sydney’s offer, but we haven’t decided anything yet,” he said.
“And it’s too early to say we will have decided by Monday.”
The comments forced Sydney to retract their earlier statement and issue an updated comment late on Friday.
“Alessandro Del Piero has not signed a contract with Sydney FC as yet,” chairman Scott Barlow said.
“The two parties have agreed to have a meeting in Turin early next week to confirm the possibility of signing a contract.”
Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata is the man who will head to Italy to try to seal the deal with Del Piero, who would be the biggest name to join the A-League if he does sign.
The denials of an agreement from Italy are bound to unsettle Sydney FC however, with Champions League participants Celtic and Sporting Braga reported to be among those chasing Del Piero.
None of the A-League’s previous big name signings, with the possible exception of Brazilian striker Romario – who had a disappointing guest stint at Adelaide United in 2006 – would hold a candle to Del Piero’s record.
In two decades with Juventus, Del Piero won six Serie A titles, the 1996 Champions League crown and finished as the club’s leading all-time goal scorer and appearance record holder.
He also was a member of Italy’s squad at three World Cups, including the successful 2006 campaign in Germany.
It’s a profile that puts those of former big-name A-League signings such as Socceroos Harry Kewell and Jason Culina, ex-Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and Liverpool great Robbie Fowler in the shade.
Del Piero is believed to have been convinced to head Down Under after the Sky Blues highlighted Sydney’s lifestyle and the chance to promote the game in the country.
The response to Sydney FC’s original statement that Del Piero had agreed to join the club showed just what an impact and exposure his signing could bring to the A-League.
Within minutes of the release the news was splashed on several European football websites including leading Italian sports newspaper Gazetta Dello Sport.
The story also set social networks ablaze with several A-League figures including Sydney FC’s coach Ian Crook and former Socceroo goalkeeper turned commentator Mark Bosnich and several players expressing their delight at the news.
Whether those celebrations are premature remain to be seen.© AAP 2013
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