Aquilani set for return to Anfield as Milan go cold on permanent deal
Published 11:29 24/04/12 By David Maddock
Kop flop Alberto Aquilani is on his way back to Liverpool.
The Italian made just 14 starts for the Reds after being bought for more than £20million by then-boss Rafa Benitez in 2009, and was eventually loaned back to his native Italy.
After a spell with Juventus he has spent this season at AC Milan, who committed to paying a binding £7million transfer fee for the midfielder once he'd appeared in their starting XI 25 times.
But it is becoming painfully clear that Milan chiefs will not allow the 27-year-old to reach that figure.
The y still have enough games left in their season to allow him to reach that figure, but despite appearing in every one of their last eight matches - including the Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona -Aquilani has started just once, giving him 17 starts in total.
The Italians have been casting their net elsewhere in search of a central midfielder, and have been linked with the highly-regarded Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina in recent weeks.
There seems no chance now of a move back to Italy for Aquilani, because Juve last summer also wriggled out of a potential agreement to sign the player.
The news will come as a massive blow for Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish, who is lumbered with several players who are on massive wages that he can't find buyers for.
Joe Cole has been out on loan all season with French side Lille, but that deal also has little chance of being made permanent because of the England international's huge salary - which is still being largely paid by Liverpool.
Aquilani is thought to be on almost £100,000 a week, and still has two years left on his current contract, which means Liverpool will have to pay almost £10million just to get rid of him in the summer.
Their only hope is that Milan have reached a decision to prevent the midfielder reaching the 25-start figure to ensure they are in a strong negotiating position when they try to knock down the agreed £7m fee.
Liverpool would be likely to let the player go for a nominal fee if they didn't have to pay his wages off, and Milan may use that to their advantage.
The Reds, meanwhile, have announced they will kick off their summer tour of North America with a game against Major League Soccer side Toronto FC on July 21 at the Canadian city's 47,000-seat Rogers Centre.