By Jasmit Jabbal
When Manchester United beat Arsenal to the signing of Rossi from Parma, he and a certain Lupoli (remember him?) where destined to superstardom. Unlike his former Parma strike partner, Rossi is fulfilling his potential.
To put this exciting young forwards ability into perspective, Sir Alex Ferguson insisted on inserting a buy back clause before letting him depart to the Spain. The American-born Italian international, after two solid campaigns with the yellow submarines, lit up La Liga as Villarreal impressed yet again by finishing fourth. His impressive haul of 18 strikes in the league, 15 in the Europa league and 3 in the Copa Del Rey has caught the eye of many clubs across Europe.
So where next for this talented 24 year old who can lead the line, play off the shoulder or as an attacking midfielder?
A much mooted move to Barcelona seems to be off the cards as they chase Sanchez from Udinese and look to the end the protracted Fabregas saga by finally bringing him home. There has been talk that Athletico Madrid eye him as the ideal replacement for the outward bound Kun Aguero, but surely if Rossi is to move to the capital it would be to the white house and not to the mattress makers. An option of course would be to stay at Villarreal. The club has once again illustrated you do not need to spend millions to play a successful attractive style of football, however, considering the resources at their disposal and the unbalanced distribution of television revenue in Spain, it is unlikely they will ever be able to break the Barcelona Real Madrid duopoly.
Also, with financial fair play rules due to kick in, this is Villarreal’s last opportunity to cash in on their star striker, money which would go toward strengthening the squad for the upcoming Champions League campaign. A move back home to Italy could be a strong possibility, as both Juventus and Inter Milan have gone public with their quest for a striker. With the Argentinean pair of Aguero and Tevez seeming out of their financial reach, a move for Rossi would be ideal. An Italian international, who along with the unpredictable Balotelli signals the future of the Azzuri’s attack, would help the clubs two new respective managers win the fans over before a ball is kicked. Also, having come through the youth system, and then spent a year on loan at Parma, Rossi has experience of playing in Italy.
With none of England’s Champions League qualifiers keen on spending big on a striker, a return home to one of Italy’s giants seems on the cards. Whether he goes on not remains to be seen, but what is certain is that Rossi will continue to turn much praised potential into match winning performances.