Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is reportedly considering several new defenders – having recently said he didn’t think Argentinian Gabriele Hienze would come to Newcastle – and he was not interested in Frenchman Franck Queuedrue.
Sam was said to be interested in pursuing other targets and the Evening Chronicle reports that Sam might just test Palermo with a bid for Andrea Barzagli their 26 year-old 6’1″ center-back. Barzagli is thought to be worth around Â£11M.
Let’s take a look at Andrea’s playing career and the chances that he may end up at Newcastle.
Andrea Barzagli was born May 8, 1981 in Fiesole, Italy and currently plays for Serie A side Palermo. He is highly regarded in his homeland and his first club was Rondinella Firenze – whom he joined in 1998. He has since played for Pistoiese, Ascoli and Chievo, before being signed by Palermo in the summer of 2004.
He has 13 caps for the full Italian side. During last year’s World Cup he was a starter for the quarter-final against Ukraine – after an injury to Alessandro Nesta and the suspension of Marco Materazzi â€“ who were the starting center-backs for Italy. Materazzi is the unfortunate player who was head-butted by Zidane during the World Cup final last summer.
Barzagli also won a bronze medal with the Italian Olympic team in 2004 and was a consistent member of the Italian Youth sides playing 8 times for the Italian Under-20 team and 15 times for the Italian Under-21 side.
Last season there was constant speculation in Italy about his future – with Juventus tipped to sign him either during the January transfer window or at the end of the season. So far he is still at Parma and despite Barzagliâ€™s insistence he is happy at Palermo – both newly promoted Juventus and Newcastle are said to be monitoring his situation. His plea to stay at Palermo was thought to be designed to appease the often hostile Sicilian clubâ€™s supporters (the mafia?).
The player talked last weekend about his future:
â€œI can say that barring any shock developments, I will stay at Palermo.”
â€œHaving said that, with at least another 10 years of my career left, I need to look at all aspects, including the economic one.”
â€œIn the past, only Juventus were truly interested in me, but the coach preferred to look towards other options.â€
Palermo Sporting Director Rino Foschi talked last week about Andrea:
â€œAndrea Barzagli seems willing to leave Palermo.”
â€œAfter all, itâ€™s better to have someone in your squad who is dedicated rather than with his mind focused on other things.”
â€œHeâ€™s been on the transfer market for a while now. However, itâ€™s his decision to leave the club.”
â€œThere are players who join Palermo and shine, and afterwards when they get a spot among the Azzurri, they want to plump for a stint in a bigger club.”
â€œBarzagli is one of such players.â€
Fabio Cannavaro, also rumored to be on Newcastle’s radar screen – but denied by Sam last night – is a big fan of Barzagli and has tipped him to become the next great Italian defender. However, as we’ve pointed out in the past, it’s unusual for Italian footballers to leave their homeland.
Sam Allardcye has already said he is interested in Barzagli:
“He’s a very good player but it’s whether that money (Â£11M) could be spent better on someone with Premiership experience,”
“Barzagli’s a top player but a top player with Premiership experience is more important to us.”
“We’ve already got David (Rozehnal) in and if I put him in with someone else from another country, plus Steven Taylor and Stephen Carr, if he stays fit, there isn’t a lot of Premiership experience there.”
“You could have difficulties in the early part of the season.”
From this statement it seems that Sam would prefer a player with more proven Premiership experience, which may rule out the Italian. It does seem a bit of a risk to go after Barzagli for Â£11M – when our defensive squad seems so short on experience.
Let’s know what you think about Barzagli – comments welcome.