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Tuesday Kickoff: Arsenal lining up Dybala move; Sacchi defends controversial racial comments

PauloDybalaPalermo1-Genoa2014 (Getty)


Even with Olivier Giroud playing at the top of his game, Arsenal are still looking at some possibilities to partner up top with Giroud.

According to reports out of Italy, Arsenal are set to meet with the agent of 21-year-old Argentine forward Paulo Dybala today in London, to discuss what it would take to complete a transfer for the player this summer. Dybala has taken Italy by storm this season, scoring 11 goals in 21 Serie A matches with Palermo.

While Palermo’s front office has recently denied reports that Napoli’s sporting director met with Palermo to hash out a transfer, Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini was quoted recently as saying that his club will likely have to sell Dybala this summer with the player’s contract ending in June 2016.

The reports in Italy state it would take around €40 million for Arsenal to sign Dybala.

Here are some more stories to start your Tuesday:


Famous AC Milan and Italian National Team coach Arrigo Sacchi claims that his controversial comments about the racial makeup Italian club youth sides were misinterpreted.

On Monday, Sacchi was reported by numerous outlets in Italy as claiming that there were too many black players on Italian teams he watched played at the annual Viareggio Youth Tournament. After receiving plenty of criticism from across Europe, Sacchi took a half step back on Tuesday, claiming his comments about Italy losing their national pride and importing too many foreigners were misunderstood.

“I have been misrepresented,” Sacchi told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “How could I be racist? I just said I saw a game featuring a team who fielded four coloured boys. My history speaks for itself, I always coached teams with different colours and I bought many, both at Milan and at Madrid. I just wanted to point out that we are losing our national pride and identity.”


Osasuna are under investigation for allegedly taking part in a match-fixing scheme. (REPORT)

UEFA have confirmed that Liverpool forward Lazar Markovic will have to serve a four-match suspension for his red card last Dec. 9 against FC Basel. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund have sent scouts to Valencia to watch German World Cup squad member Shkodran Mustafi. (REPORT)

Parma reportedly still have not played the players and staff’s wages, even after a new ownership group came in earlier this month. (REPORT)

Bologna have been docked one point and former president Albano Guaraldi was banned for not paying income taxes. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you see Dybala moving to Arsenal? Which clubs do you feel can afford him? What do you think of Sacchi’s comments?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Zamparini: I didn’t mean to say anything racist! I was just trying to say that there are too many blacks on the team.

    Does that sum it up?

  2. He means what he says. He thinks that there too many black players on the Italian team. If there were a lot of Indians on the team, he would say that he thinks that there are too many Indians etc. He does not want too many immigrants on his national team especially if they do not “look” Italian. I am not surprised by this sentiment in Italy.

    • I think his full statements say everything (

      “‘Italy has no dignity, no pride. It’s not possible that our teams should have 15 foreign players in the squad.’
      Sacchi later tried to clarify his remarks, saying: ‘I’ve been misinterpreted, you think I’m really racist?
      ‘All I said was I saw a game featuring a team who fielded four coloured players.
      ‘My history speaks for itself, I’ve always coached teams with great players from every colour and I’ve brought in a lot, whether to Milan or Madrid.
      ‘I only wanted to underline that we are losing our national pride and identity.’ ”

      I know that Italy is not a country with a great deal of non-European immigrants or immigration in general as much as emigration (outward), but this statement does not sit well.

  3. I don’t see Sacchi comments as racist. Remember Italy isn’t U.S.A.

    Italy is mess in nationalist pride because Italians are regionalism with each other. I saw it with my grandparents: my nono from Padania and my nona from Emila Romagna had insults for each other, but both immigrants were in Uruguay.

    • True…but there was nothing said of Brazilian Amauri Carvalho de Oliveira (or Amauri) who became a Italian citizen after he married an Italian citizen and does not have Italian lineage. Listen, I have a lot of Italian friends. While I agree there is a lot of regionalism in Italy (and Spain and Germany), this just look like this is a situation of these guys don’t look Italian enough.

      I am not even bringing up Camoranesi because although he was clearly Mestizo, (or looked entirely Native American), I did know that 1 grand-parent or great grand-parent was Italian (just one …Lol).

      • Camoranesi is 1/8th Italian. He had never been to Italy before playing there professionally, didn’t speak the language, and he didn’t even know he national anthem (he admitted that we he was caught not singing it). Nothing was said about him. Listen, I know about Argentina and the large Italian influence there. I have quite a few friends who are Argentinean. However, you cannot tell me that a kid born ad raised there, speaks the language is less Italian than Camoranesi.

        Is some kid that is 1/8th Italian, doesn’t speak the language or know the anthem, but grew up in heavily Italian city like Boston/Chicago/Philadelphia/New York more Italian than the kid who was born and raised in Rome?

  4. I always coached teams with different colours and I bought many, both at Milan and at Madrid. I just wanted to point out that we are losing our national pride and identity.

    Buying people of other colors? That’s never racist. But, not wanting to see them as full-fledged countrymen? That is.

  5. When you equate national pride/identity to a specific color, that is the very essence of racism. I could maybe understand if these players weren’t born in Italy, but I don’t think he complained when guys from S. American or G. Rossi signed up to play for Italy.

    • +1 Very good point about not being said about the Rossi, Amauri and others. (can’t think of the name of the other guy I was thinking of…short guy had the nice ponytail haha, played for Juventus)

    • The guys you mentioned have Italian heritage and were probably brought up culturally Italian. I think there is a big difference between an Italian-American or Argentinian Italian, then with a 1st generation Italian of African parents.

      • Yea, I can see your point about them being culturally Italian (although Amauri is just Brazilian and a naturalized Italian), but then the original poster’s point still stands about equating national pride with a specific color. For all we know some of the black Italians could have more national pride than a “real Italian”.

        I guess my question is if someone like Balotelli, adopted by an Italian family, keeps his roots in Italy, a generation or 2 down the road has a kid/grandkid who pridefully suits up for the national team, would he qualify as being Italian enough for Sacchi?

        P.S John this isn’t really directed at you or against your comment (which I think brought up a valid point) just an honest question 🙂

      • I think this all comes down to Italian football culture.

        The more African-Italians on the team, the less technical the side becomes. It becomes more reliant on speed and strength and moves further away from the total football Italian sides of the past. The team would have to evolve into something else and I think that is what Sacchi is referring to.

      • I can definitely appreciate and respect that thought…

        When you think of an African team you think of a Ghana or Ivory Coast, who do have great technique in some of their top players, but their style is complete opposite of an Italian team. They are about pace and power with a more flashy technical skill in comparison to the classic Italian/Pirlo style.

      • John,

        My experience is that the typical Italian team is more tactical (defensively organized/making mid-game strategic adjustments) than technical (traditional Brazil, Argentina, recently Spain, Belgium as examples) and play a defense first mentality.

        That being said, why wouldn’t those players be tactical. They would be taught in that system. You select those who can play tactically. Unless, of course, you are saying that black players are genetically faster and stronger. I don’t know…I saw USA play Nigeria and the Nigeria team was not bigger and stronger than we were.

      • I think US athletes are always better physically conditioned then other countries due to Sports Medicine and Strength & Conditioning in this country being the best in the world. Our guys might not be the best, but they sure will be in the best shape.

        But compare your Nigeria with a European Team and they will have physical advantages.

        Seeing how Balotelli is pretty much the only case study, time will tell if Italy will produce a black Prilo or not. If they do, then Sacchi has nothing to worry about.

      • John,

        Again, I am not attacking you. I actually really like that you are having this discussion.

        That being said, a Pirlo or anything of the kind is exceedingly rare. That beg said, Clarence Seedorf, Yaya Toure & Patrick Viera could play that position (deep laying playmaker) at a world class level. Even Claude Makelele played that position for a bit.

        Balotelli, by himself, would be a specimen on most teams in the world. He’s a 6’4″ center forward who can play the ball, but so is Giroud.

        As far as your Nigerian example is concerned, frankly, I think that you are speaking using generalities which do not apply here (“compare your Nigeria with a European Team and they will have physical advantages”). Nigeria would not be physically superior to Germany, Netherlands in terms of size and speed. It really comes down to what qualities you develop and accentuate in a large enough sample size.

      • “The more African-Italians on the team, the less technical the side becomes. It becomes more reliant on speed and strength and moves further away from the total football Italian sides of the past. The team would have to evolve into something else”

        John, no offense, but I don’t think you know what you are talking about. I think that you are repeating old cliches and using them in an argument. Any one who has watched the Italian team over the years would have seen (as Anthony stated) that they were never know for great technique as much as being very defensively tactical (Catenaccio). France is a team that focused on technique even when they play 4 or 5 black guys. Netherlands is still very technical and tactical. In case you did not watch them, Ivory Coast is very technical.

        Guess what? It is far easier to teach defensive tactics than technique. You are far more potent if you combine speed and technique and defensive tactics. If you want to look at a team that did that traditionally in Europe, look at Netherlands except they focused on offensive tactics (the Barcelona way is based on Dutch tactics).

        Btw, in Europe, they are referred to as Black Europeans (here Black Italians). Not all Africans are Black.

      • John,

        Not all of them had Italian lineage. Amauri does not have Italian heritage. All he did was marry a woman who had Italian citizenship. Camoranesi had 1 great-grandparent who was Italian (1/8th). In fact, he looks completely Native American ( Most who have lineage are like Thiago Motta who had 1 Italian grandparent. Are those guys REALLY Italian as compared to a guy who grew up there? This is a different situation from someone like Christian Vieri who grew up in Australian to Italian immigrants.

        Btw, I am not attacking you, but I kinda like this discussion. In part, because I hate how frequently Europeans lecture me, as an America, on the racial or ethnic problem we have but fail to admit their MAJOR issues with race, ethnicity or religion or blame it on the immigrants.

      • I don’t understand why someone of Italian heritage growing up in Argentina or the US his whole childhood can be considered more Italian than someone who is born and has grown up in Italy. You’ve lost me on that argument. Unless you’re a supporter of the grandfather clause, which is about as racist as it gets.

  6. Hahaha that comment got a laugh out of me…definitely not saying the guy or his comments were racist because I think these days that accusation is thrown around way to frequently and to easy, but the comment “I just said I saw a game featuring a team who fielded four coloured boys”, sounded a little odd. Sounds like a comment you would hear during the Texas Western vs. Kentucky basketball game back in the 60s haha.


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