The liberation of Goran Pandev in December set an interesting precedent for the treatment of players going out of contract in Serie A. In previous years if a player had been in unsuccessful contract negotiation or was requesting a transfer chairmen in Italy effectively put the player on the naughty step.
Antonio Cassano has been effectively excluded from the Sampdoria squad since the Genoese squad tried to offload the once upon a time reckless striker to Fiorentina in the January transfer window. Fees had been agreed but at the final hour the player pulled out. This transfer had come after a public falling out between the player and the Sampdoria manager Del Neri.
Since this public spat Cassano has been out of favour with Del Neri and hasn’t featured for the club. However they haven’t missed his presence, their first loss came at the weekend in a 1-0 defeat against Parma. the defeat only coming from a very generous penalty decision.
If this situation persists it will be interesting to see if this case pans out in a similar manner to the Pandev case. Arguably, Cassano is past any semblance of prime he ever had, more occupied with filling his face with pastries and having as much sex as he possibly can. I find it difficult to believe that he would make the impact transfer that Pandev has achieved at Inter. The precedent certainly suggests that further player’s have been handed further power, in a world where they already have the ability demand extortionate wages, this disrupts the player-club balance. To what extent the balance has been shifted, we will have to wait and see.
It also seems that the boat has sailed for both Cassano and his supporters, the 23-man squad was announced a few days ago. However there was a greater chance of a 2 legged horse winning the Grand National, than Antonio Cassano being called up to the Azzurri under Marcello Lippi. Their spats have been well publicised and Lippi recently produced a big fat ‘I told you so’ over Cassano’s bust up with Del Neri.