Tuesday, September 26, 2017

No club came close to matching Belotti clause – Cairo

SoccerNews in Serie A 2 Sep 2017

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Torino received a number of offers for star striker Andrea Belotti but none of them triggered his €100million release clause, according to club president Urbano Cairo.

Belotti’s 26 Serie A goals in 35 appearances for Torino last season made him a top transfer target and the likes of Milan, Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly interested in signing him.

Cairo, who has brought stability to Torino since taking over 12 years ago when the club was almost bankrupt, spoke proudly after holding onto his star player for another year – but offered no assurances over Belotti’s long-term future.

“I was never afraid of losing him. The decision was mine to keep Belotti, unless someone came along ready to pay the €100million clause,” Cairo told Radio Sportiva.

“Seeing as nobody came close to it, I was relaxed. He is staying with us for this season and then we’ll see. We kept him and Adem Ljajic, Iago Falque and Daniele Baselli, Antonio Barreca, Afriyie Acquah – even if he had a lot of offers – and of course Joel Obi.

“We had an incredible number of proposals come in, but we kept practically everyone and added important new players.”

Chelsea’s offer for Italy defender Davide Zappacosta – said to be in the region of €28m – proved too much for Cairo to resist, while Fiorentina were also allowed to buy midfielder Marco Benassi for €10m.

Cairo claimed that the club’s transfer activity had been given the blessing of coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.

“With a heavy heart, we parted with Marco Benassi and Zappacosta,” said Cairo. “When it came to Zappacosta, Chelsea made an offer that was simply too good to refuse.

“As for Benassi, it was an issue of the tactical system and what was best for him.

“[Coach] Sinisa Mihajlovic called to thank me for the transfer campaign, now it’s up to us to prove on the pitch that we can aim for Europe. We mustn’t set limits.”

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