The search for a top midfielder has eluded both Liverpool and Milan this season and it seems it will continue to do so as the two clubs lock horns for the signature of Leandro Paredes of AS Roma.
It was only last month that Liverpool and Milan were competing for the signature of Paredes’s former teammate Piotr Zielinski, who has since signed for Napoli. Gianluca Di Marzio reports that Liverpool, Milan and Leicester are among the interested parties after the ex-Empoli midfielder.
To Sell or Not to Sell?
Roma head coach Luciano Spaletti is very adamant about not letting the youngster leave. In fact, Spaletti has gone to the extent of claiming that Paredes is better than the Bosnian maestro they lost to Juventus in the summer – Miralem Pjanic.
“I don’t feel that we are missing something in midfield,” he said ahead of Roma’s Serie A opener against Udinese. “We have Strootman instead of him and I think the Dutchman is stronger. Even Paredes is better than Pjanic. (via Goal.com)
Paredes seems to be most suited to the role that Pjanic played in the club for the last six years. However, Spaletti has also said that there are other factors at play – like what the Roma management wants, what the player wants and more importantly, what the player’s agent wants. Calciomercato reports that a fee of €20 million would be deemed sufficient by Walter Sabatini to let the 22-year-old leave.
The Interest in Borja Valero
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has in fact said publicly yesterday before Milan’s opening Serie A fixture against Torino that Spalletti had poured cold water over his pursuit of the youngster – “I can confirm that I asked Roma for Paredes a month ago, but I was told he is not for sale. The Coach put a stop to any discussion. We are looking for an understudy to Riccardo Montolivo, that is what we must find while respecting the budget we have.” (via Football-Italia)
If Roma really were uninterested in selling the youngster, it doesn’t fully explain the interest in Fiorentina playmaker Borja Valero, another player apparently deemed not-for-sale by his club. Corriere dello Sport believes that Roma are plotting a swoop for the Fiorentina midfielder and are lining him up as a possible replacement for Paredes in case the young Argentine decides to leave.