Chelsea and Roma battling for Palermo star


Josip Ilicic of Palermo (Wikimedia Commons)

In 2010 Italian Serie A side Palermo stumbled upon two young Slovenian star midfielders. The first being Armin Bacinovic and the second being rising starlet Josip Ilicic. The two moved to the southern Italian island in the summer of 2010 from Maribor and have been on the books for the Rosanero.

While Bacinovic at the age of 23-years-old has been loaned out to hone his defensive midfield skills to Verona, Ilicic has been on an ever advancing track.

When he was first with the club he was partnered with now PSG starlet Javier Pastore. The two combined for 19 goals and 12 assists during the 2010-11 campaign for Palermo and were much  reason for the club’s ability to maintain a place in the top ten of the league after a fifth place finish in 2009-10 as well as earn another qualification place for the UEFA Europa League.

Pastore’s departure from Palermo in 2011 saw Ilicic left without the player that had been his primary partner in attack. The loss of Pastore had a major impact on the club and his partner as they finished 16th place just avoiding relegation and Ilicic only managed two goals and five assists in a frustrating campaign.

However, the Rosanero campaign this season has seen Ilicic find his scoring stride again with some stunning efforts much like the goal he scored against Sampdoria on April 7, 2013 embedded below.

Despite his 6’3″ frame, Ilicic has grown into an around threat on the ball having been pushed to grow his skill set over the last season in Italy. However, the issue has been that despite his skills, this has been a long campaign for the Sicilian club, and with a current place in the relegation zone threatening their Serie A stature, this summer could see another star going out the transfer window if they fail to maintain promotion.

Reports from TalkSport have linked both Chelsea and AS Roma to the player. Roma are believed to be in the driving seat for the player currently according to comments made on AS Roma Radio by his agent Amir Ruznic  whom believes his client is likely to stay in Italy:

“Negotiations with Roma are well advanced ahead of next season. That’s the most likely option now.

There were contacts with English clubs, but they were not successful at this time.”

Chelsea have been gobbling up the most talent they can over the last few seasons and that trait could be hurting them in the pursuit of Ilicic. A move to Roma would be a step up for the Slovenian but he would not have quite the competition with places for first team action. While the Blues could provide potential Champions League action, the chances of the Wolves achieving UEFA Europa League action is also highly possible.

Potential interest in Roma starlet Erik Lamela could also push a move for Ilicic to the Roman club through quicker as the loss of Lamela would require a new attacking midfielder.

Lamela could move for a high price tag, easily in the excess of €10,000,000.  A move for Ilicic is expected to be in the range of €5,000,000 to €7,500,000 easily seeing Roma pick up a profit if they chose to make a move.

It will be an interesting final month in the Italian league as Palermo face an uphill battle to fend off relegation with their five remaining matches against top six competition starting with Inter Milan on April 28 and to be followed by matches with Juventus, Udinese, Fiorentina and lastly mid table side Parma.

One or two loses more could see the Rosanero succumb to their relegation fate and see Ilicic become a much more highly sought after target.

2 Comments on "Chelsea and Roma battling for Palermo star"

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  1. Arne says:

    Lamela easaly leave for €10m? Are this website serious? They bought him for more than that and he has developed a lot. Roumers say Roma has been rejected offers from Man U for over €20m. Roma could sell him, but I guess they will not let him go for less than €30m and probably not for that sum either..

    • Thomas Atzenhoffer Thomas Atzenhoffer says:

      It says leave for, “easily in the excess of 10m.” No he will not leave for 10m or less, Rumours are Rumours no one knows a price until it is agreed upon and even then only if it is announced.

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