Published On: Mon, Dec 31st, 2012

Udinese Club Focus: High School Musical… Chairs

Do you remember the first day back to high school? How eager all your friends were for the fresh and challenging experiences that lay ahead? How excited they were for new notebooks, clothing, and classes? How even though they realize that they would missed the familiar classrooms, teachers, and studies they were used to, they still looked forward to new and rewarding chances for self tests and self improvement.

And do you remember, as they gloated about all these great things about new change, you would sit there thinking, “Are you completely mad? This is the worst, ever.”

That’s a lot like how Udinese fans feel about the January transfer window. As other teams scramble to get new and exciting players, the Zebrette scramble to see who they can unload and for the highest price; it seems that owner Giampaolo Pozzo is on a constant warpath to make a euro.

Unfortunately for Udinese fans, a “euro” in this case is in reference to money, not European titles.

However, transfers are inevitable and there’s no point in trying to ignore them. So, as of right now, here are the changes that Udinese can (maybe) expect for 2013.

Another similarity between high school and the January transfer market is that both are full of rumours; some of them outlandish and made up (“Quags back to Udinese!”), while others slightly more believable (“Pozzo Sells Everyone!”).

Anyway, while transfer rumours have touched nearly every player (except for Antonio Di Natale) on the roster, the following names are a bit more believable.

Antonio Floro Flores: Though technically not currently on the Udinese roster – as the striker is currently on loan at Granada – Floro Flores has all but been officially confirmed as leaving the club. He has made it clear that he has not been happy playing for the Spanish side (including a recent incident, where he claimed to be too injured to play, only to post a picture of himself skiing on Twitter) and is set to return to Italy as soon as possible. Unfortunately for the Little Zebras, Floro Flores has signed with Genoa, rather than returning back to Udine.

Medhi Benatia: Several big names have been after the Moroccan defender from both Serie A and the English Premier League, including Inter, Napoli, Manchester United, and Tottenham. Benatia himself has denied any transfer rumours, however, has said that if the club was happy with a transfer, he would be too. In other words, with a big enough offer, both Benatia and Udinese would be happy with his departure.

Willians: The defensive midfielder, who has not made the impact the Zebrette had hope for when he signed with the club earlier this year, is rumoured to be going back to Brazil. While there have been no confirmed offers so far, it is clear that Willians has not been the player Udinese had hoped for and the club may be looking for a change.

Paulo Barreto: While he has not played much this season due to injury, the Brazilian striker has been linked to a Pescara trade. Though Barreto has not made an impact for Udinese this season, he has been a force in previous teams he has played for, including Bari.

Pablo Amero: The Columbian, who has played two years with Udinese in a variety of positions, is currently being sought after by a few Italian clubs. Originally wanted by Milan and Juventus, Napoli recently showed their interest in the position-flexible player.

Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu: While no specific club seems to be linked with Badu currently, the defensive midfielder has made it very clear that he wants to go to England. Recently, he told Sky Sports, “it is all players’ dream to play in the biggest league in the world” and to Badu, the biggest league in the world is the EPL. However, it would be rather ironic if he was sent to Pozzo’s Watford for the rest of the season instead.

Every other player: including those listed above, may be sent on loan to one of Pozzo’s other two teams, Watford and Granada

Surprisingly, there are also rumoured transfers into Udinese. Of course, depending on the source that the story comes from, it is either a done deal or a wild accusation. However, so far the following may be appearing in black and white stripes come 2013:

Alexander Merkel and Masahudu Alhassan: Merkel, a German midfielder, and Alhassan, a Ghanaian left back, are both rumoured to join Udinese from Genoa in exchange for Floro Flores. Merkel is already rumoured to be in Udine doing a physical with the club and may even play in their first 2013 match against Inter on January 6.

Gianluca Caprari and/or Juan Fernando Quintero: Caprari is a striker who previously played for Italy’s U18 squad and Quintero is a midfielder who has one cap with the Columbian national team. Either, or both, Pescara players are said to be in talks for a trade with Udinese’s Barreto.

Gianfranco Zola: This one may be totally invented by a certain Udinese writer, however there also may be some truth behind it. The current coach of Watford may soon come in to replace the current coach of Udinese, Francesco Guidolin. The swap deal would help Watford make the EPL and help Udinese make a European spot next season. Somehow. While these are unfounded rumours, it must have crossed Pozzo’s mind once or twice.

While there are a million other rumours being posted about the Zebrette, those seem to be the top that may change the structure at Udinese.

Recently, Messaggero Veneto printed an article divulging Udinese financials for the year. According to the article, Udinese’s net profit for 2012 was €8.8M, with total revenue totaling €63.4M, compare to the €54.5M in the previous year.  The increase of revenue was attributed to several things including – but not limited to – contributions from UEFA (€5.3M) and  the sales of Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona, Cristian Zapata to Villarreal and Gokhan Inler to Napoli.

Anyone who calls Udinese a “small club” is wrong. Yes, they are not in the same buying league as Juventus, Inter, or Milan, but they do have the financial means to buy a player that fans don’t have to look up in Wikipedia first to learn who they are.

Udinese could be a great club if its owners would take the transfer window seriously and if they would look at who they could buy as much as whom they are able to sell.

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