After a preseason during which his chances with the squad were again highlighted by a new manager, his composure and class on the ball once again on display, and hypotheticals about how he'd fit with the squad moving forward, we're once again faced with saying goodbye to Alberto Aquilani.
This time it looks to be for good--multiple outlets are reporting that the midfielder didn't travel with the club back to Liverpool, instead heading to Italy in hopes of brokering a deal that would send him back to Serie A. Ben Smith, who's been our go-to source for actual information for most of the year, responded to a question about Aquilani on Twitter earlier:
Aquilani is in Italy tonight putting the finishing touches on a permanent move to Fiorentina. Opens way for Allen.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) July 29, 2012
If true, and ignoring the implications for the capture of Swansea's Joe Allen for the time being, it'll be Aquilani's third Italian club since joining Liverpool, and the fourth since starting his career with Roma. There's not much discussed in the way of pricing--there's no doubt that in terms of sale price the club will be taking a decent hit, but offloading his wages, which are among the club's highest, will free up some space. And, at the current moment, freeing up space on a bloated payroll is a priority for a club that's paying the likes of Joe Cole, Stewart Downing, and Charlie Adam thousands upon thousands of pounds per week to be poor at their job.
Obviously everything has yet to settle, and Aquilani's agent, Franco Zavaglia, has continued to insist that his future is on Merseyside. Everything seems to be pointing in the opposite direction, however, and it looks like Alberto Aquilani will end his Liverpool in much the same way he started it--loads of potential and possibility, just without ever actually following through. Whose fault that is is probably up for debate, but what's for certain is that we'll never find out what he could have done in a Liverpool shirt.