Alessandro Matri’s €11m transfer from Juventus to AC Milan came through very late in the summer transfer window, providing the 29 year-old Italian a chance to play for his boyhood club in Milan, where he originally started his professional career. The striker’s spot in the pecking order at Juventus became very unclear after the club signed Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente this summer as well, and so the move away from Juventus became increasingly likely for Matri.
Matri was delighted to move back to the club he started his career at: “It has been 10 years and I gained a lot of experience elsewhere,” he said. “It’s a unique feeling to be back where you grew up. There is also a coach I already worked with, so there are many positive factors.” Indeed, Matri became one of Serie A’s leading strikers whilst in Cagliari, under the instruction of his boss in Milan, Massimiliano Allegri. The two will now be reunited at AC Milan and will hope to get results similar to those years ago in Cagliari: “The coach [Allegri] knows me and that will help me to settle in, but I am not in a privileged position because of that or my return to Milan after 10 years”, Matri stated, and assured that he would have to fight for playing time just like everyone else: “I don’t expect to play more at Milan than I did at Juventus. I hope to, of course, but I am at the team’s disposal.”
Matri scored 10 league goals for his club to help Juventus lift silverware at the end of the season. However, despite being impressive on certain occasions, Matri was far from consistent and saw his form go up and down throughout the season. The 10 league goals could be considered disappointing for a striker of his caliber, especially when comparing such number to the season before, when Matri scored an impressive 23 league goals in 2011-12. As a result, Juventus were quick to act to secure the services of two forwards the club have been chasing for a long time.
As briefly mentioned, Juventus have signed Carlos Tevez from Manchester City and Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao, who will look to fill Matri’s shoes. From this perspective, it might have been just the right thing for Juventus to let Matri leave, even if they sold him to a fierce Serie A rival. Not to mention, the €11m fee almost covers the money Juventus spent on the two new forwards, as Carlos Tevez’s fee was reportedly just below €12m euros while Fernando Llorente joined the club on a free transfer.
At 29 years of age, to Matri himself, calling the switch to AC Milan a fresh start might be a slight exaggeration, but after a difficult, yet successful season, it might well be a good breath of fresh air. In Milan, Matri will primarily fight for playing time with Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini, and under the instructions of a familiar coach, will look to establish himself a spot in the Rossoneri’s starting eleven. The man in chargeat AC Milan, Massimiliano Allegri, was pleased as well to have the striker in his squad: “It’s a pleasure to have Matri here. It is really important to already have him at our disposal. He is an extra option for us,” the experienced coach stated after the news about Matri’s transfer became official.
Matri wasn’t the only signing of the summer, as AC Milan also made some other additions, the most notable one being the transfer of Kaká from Real Madrid, who joined the Italians for free. As one of Milan’s key players, Kevin Prince Boateng, packed his bags earlier in the summer to join Schalke, the return of the midfield maestro Kaká will be welcomed with open arms, and the partnership between the two returnees Matri and Kaká will surely be looked forward to at the San Siro.
Whether Matri can find back his immense goalscoring form he partly lost at Juventus last season remains a question for the future to answer, but surely, the facilities support his return to form. He has a coach who knows and trusts him, he’s surely motivated to return to his boyhood club, and last but not least, the competition around him will most definitely work as an extra motivation as well.
Speaking of which, the competition won’t be easy to handle in Milan either, as Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini fight for the same minutes as Alessandro Matri. But a return to his roots might be just what the 29 year-old needs at the current stage of his career, and if given the chance, he could prove to be a good bit of business for the Rossoneri, who look to return to domestic glory after losing out on the Scudetto glory in the past two seasons.
Written by Jen Evelyn