Soccer: Matri, Boateng move in frantic end to trading
Juve striker to AC Milan, Ghana midfielder from Milan to Schalke30 August, 17:43
(By Denis Greenan).
(ANSA) - Rome, August 30 - Juventus striker Alessandro Matri moved to AC Milan and Milan's Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng joined Schalke 04 in a frantic end to Italian soccer's summer trading Friday.
Juventus and Milan agreed a deal on Matri Thursday night, club sources said.
Matri, 29, will move to the San Siro on a four-year contract worth 9.5 million euros plus bonuses, with an additional 2.5 million going to the player, they said. Matri scored 27 goals in 69 Serie A matches for Juventus over the past three and a half seasons.
He began his career with Milan, having gone through the Rossoneri's youth system, and made his Serie A debut with the club a decade ago.
Matri, who has scored once for Italy in five international appearances, was born near Milan.
He passed a medical Friday, telling reporters: "It's a special thrill to come back to Milan.
"It's such a great set-up I can only see good things in store". Boateng, whose terms for the move to Germany were not disclosed, said he was "a tad sad, and a bit taken aback (by the deal) but the money's good and Schalke are on the up-and-up".
The Gelsenkirchen-based club finished fourth in the Bundesliga last year and overcame Greece's Paok FC to get into the Champions League group stage.
Boateng said he was looking forward to taking on Spurs' cross-London rivals Chelsea in the Champions League.
"It'll be just like the good old days," he said.
Boateng, brother of Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, joined Milan from Portsmouth in 2010 and scored 10 goals in 74 appearances, including a brace against PSV Eindhoven that helped Milan into the Champions League group stage.
The Ghana star, who gained headlines by leading an anti-racism walk-off at a low-tier friendly in January, helped Milan win the league title in his first season there. He has previously played for Tottenham Hotspur and Hertha Berlin.
Boateng's move came three days before the official close of the summer transfer market on Monday, with nothing however expected to happen over the weekend.
It was a huge surprise to Milan watchers - and likely not to go down too well with the AC faithful, who had taken the all-action and passionate Ghanaian to their hearts.
AC Milan are also optimistic CSKA Moscow will accept their latest bid for Japan midfield star Keisuke Honda, once dubbed a "genius" by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, club sources said.
But the prospect of Brazil forward Kakà coming back from Real Madrid is fading, they added.
The cash for Matri and Honda became available after Milan qualified for European soccer's most lucrative and prestigious club competition, which brings an estimated 30-million-euro boost to any club's coffers.
The six-foot-tall Matri is billed as an ideal foil for Mario Balotelli, currently having to do a bit too much of the grunt work up front rather than latching onto a line-leader's knock-downs to take more pot-shots at goal with his equally lethal feet.
"Matri is the right guy to put Mario into positions where his power-shooting can do the most damage," said Milan CEO Adriano Galliani.
Galliani met coach Massimiliano Allegri, owner Silvio Berlusconi and the media-magnate-turned-political-leader's club-director daughter, Barbara, on Thursday evening to finalise the club's last-minute trading.
If anything does move on Saturday or Sunday, it would probably only be Milan digging into their pockets again, pundits say.
Ajax's midfield starlet Christian Eriksen could arrive to partner Honda and rev up a department where only captain Riccardo Montolivo has stood out of late.
Berlusconi, cash-strapped with legal fees and falling revenue at his business empire, did not spend at all in the summer transfer window and his last significant catch was Italy star Balotelli, who arrived from Manchester City in January.
Another possible target with Champions League revenue in the bag is Cagliari's Italy centre-back Davide Astori, Italian media have reported.
"I'm fully confident the club is behind me in wanting to reinforce the squad," Allegri said.
"There's no two ways about it: we have to compete better if we want to wrest the title from Juve", who are aiming for their third straight Serie A trophy, the coach added. Despite the thumping PSV win, speculation that Allegri's job is lingering Letting off some uncharacteristic steam after qualifying, the seemingly unflappable Tuscan said: "I'm fed up with all these rumours, the season's hardly started yet. I feel like bursting". With the mind of formerly hands-on Berlusconi distracted by moves to avoid being dumped from the Senate, CEO Adriano Galliani is "poised to turn the heat up" if the Rossoneri continue to falter in Serie A after their opening-day loss at Verona, Gazzetta dello Sport said. In other transfer news Friday, AS Roma turned down a 12-million-euro bid for Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi after the Rome native, seen as heir to totemic skipper and fellow Roman Francesco Totti, made it clear he didn't want to leave the Italian capital, Roma sources said.
De Rossi, reportedly restless last season after being underused by ex-coach Zdenek Zeman, has forged a solid rapport with the Giallorossi's new coach, former Lille manager Rudi Garcia, they said.