31 August 2006

Time's up! Lazio keeps Oddo, Ternana keeps Jimenez

The 19:00 CET deadline has passed and the summer mercato is officially over. Everyone expected a serious last-minute buying and selling scramble on the part of Lazio. But the biggest news that came out of the final hours of negotiations is that...there's no news. Massimo Oddo, whether he likes it or not, will be wearing sky blue instead of black and red stripes when he takes the field on September 10; and Chilean national team star Luis Jimenez is stuck out of his league with Serie C1 squad Ternana. Let's take a look at the negotiations surrounding these two as well as the deal signed for other players:

Massimo Oddo

As I've written before, talk about Oddo moving to a team that had qualified for Champions League began pretty early this past spring. All the talk was, quite reasonably, put on hold during the early summer months as Oddo prepared for and played in (or, more accurately, sat on the bench) the World Cup. Then the rumors and negotiations started anew. How much would he be worth to Milan, considering their right defense was already pretty solid with Cafu and Nesta? €5 million, €8 million, more? Could they maybe come up with some sort of package deal? The initial offer was €4 million and the rights to Pasquale Foggia, but this was turned down. What did Lotito want then?

That question was finally answered today at the eleventh hour of the mercato. Foggia was not the part of the deal that he didn't like, because today we learned that Foggia had been put on loan to Lazio. He is on a one-year loan for €300,000 with the option to purchase half of his contract for €1.7M more at the end of the season. €2 million for a good midfielder seemed like too good of a deal, so certainly it must be the start of an Oddo package. But Milan denied that there were any related transactions. In fact it was true, and Lazio's only acquisition from Milan for the upcoming season is Foggia. It has been announced that Foggia's primary role will be to replace Valon Behrami, who is injured and out for at least three months.

Luis Jimenez

Nobody is happy with the fiasco that this trade deal turned into. It was almost 20 days ago that the headline was "C'è accordo con Ternana per Jimenez," another loan-plus-option deal with a total value of €7 million. Lazio signed the papers, faxed them to Ternana, and waited. And waited. And waited. Meanwhile people got upset over this seeming deception: Lotito, Lazio, and Jimenez himself wondered what exactly Ternana president Edoardo Longarini thought he was accomplishing by refusing to consummate the deal. When the clock struck 19:00 and it officially fell through, Jimenez released this statement:

Sono davvero dispiaciuto, contavo di giocare in serie anche il prossimo anno. Alla Ternana non ci torno.
"I am really unhappy, I planned on playing again in Serie [A] next season. I will not return to Ternana." He is even threatening the club with legal action for refusing to sign the cartellino they promised him. Whatever comes of that, the Chilean forward will not appear in the biancoceleste maglia this next season.

Other ins and outs

It seems like distant history when Lazio allowed the expiring contracts of two of it's stars, Fabio Liverani and Paolo di Canio to lapse. Liverani was happily snapped up by Fiorentina, and aging di Canio signed on with C1 squad Cisco Roma so he could continue to play in the capital. Liverani's creative and forward-minded midfield play will be hard to replace. It was impossible to find a single midfielder of his caliber, but the 2006-07 midfielder will be fortified with two new acquisitions: Cristian Ledesma from Lecce and Massimo Mutarelli from Palermo. Di Canio did not leave such a skill void, since Rocchi-Pandev is still a strong starting striking team. The only new pickup at forward is Stephen Makinwa, who is only on co-ownership. Hopefully he will provide good backup support for the first squad front two. Also important were the the full purchases of Cribari and Mauri from Udinese, which also took place at the beginning of this summer.

What it leaves Lazio

The results of the mercato have set up a potential first team for Lazio looking like this:


Not perfectly executed, but a good result for Lazio looking forward to the 2006-07 season.


Anonymous said...

Modibo Diakite is actually a Central defender mate. :)

Ed said...

ugh, i didn't line up the columns right when i read my roster. i'll fix that =)