Raise your hand if you remember Giuseppe Rossi. (If you actually physically raised your hand, please admit it in the comments, I want to know.) Born in New Jersey to Italian parents, Rossi is now 31 and is known in the footballing world for two things. First, for rejecting the country of his birth in 2010 and opting to play international football for Italy instead of the United States at a time when USA could’ve really used him, earning him the nickname “Benedict Rossi,” and second, for having lots and lots and lots and LOTS of injuries.
Well, Rossi is without a club since he left
Girona Genoa at the end of last season, and has spent the past while training with Manchester United, a club he spent three seasons at in the mid Aughties. With the transfer rumor machine being what it is, and with Harry Kane out for the next few weeks with a bum ankle, Rossi is being linked with a return to football with Tottenham Hotspur by Tuttosport (as reported by Sport Witness) and the Manchester Evening News.
Crazy, you say? Well, yes. BUT!
The Tuttosport report says that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been “impressed” with Rossi’s fitness while training with United, and while Solskjaer has no interest in adding Rossi to the United roster, it would make a strange kind of sense if he were to come to Spurs. Tuttosport suggests that Spurs have approached Rossi in the past day or so to feel out whether he’d be open to the idea of coming to North London — Rossi just wants to play football, and might be tempted by a “pay-as-you-play” contract where he only gets paid if and when he gets onto the pitch.
Say what you will about Rossi, but when he was healthy he was a pretty good player. He’s a few years removed from his best years at Villarreal, but he scored 13, 15, and 17 goals his first three seasons in Spain, and broke open in 2010-11, scoring 32 goals in all competitions. The string of injuries pretty much derailed him from ever becoming a global superstar, but he managed to carve out a decent career in Italy. Last season, his only one at Genoa, he (you guessed it) missed a bunch of games with a hamstring injury but came back to play a string of matches as a substitute at the end of the season, scoring a goal.
Look, nobody’s saying that Rossi would be the signing that saves Tottenham’s season. However, he could potentially fill that Kane-shaped hole in Tottenham’s front line in the short term, and the only-pay-him-if-he-plays thing is a pretty good deal. Sure, it’s quite likely he’ll spend some time on the physio’s table, but would he be worth it if he comes in as a late sub when chasing a game and plonks home a couple of goals? I say yes. At the end of his career, Swedish international Henrik Larsson had a half-season loan with United that was a bit similar to what’s being discussed here — Larsson played in seven matches for United and scored a goal, but was praised by Sir Alex Ferguson for his professionalism and his work-rate.
I can’t see Rossi coming to Spurs as anything but a “break glass in case of emergency” signing, and the sourcing is about as bat-country as it comes. He wouldn’t be anywhere close to my first choice in this transfer window, but there would be worse things. And honestly, the idea of Giuseppe Rossi becoming Tottenham’s Henrik Larsson is intriguing.