Adelaide United CEO Michael Petrillo says the club’s pursuit of Luca Toni is a “long shot” but believes he’d be an excellent fit for the Reds.
Reds chairman Greg Griffin confirmed this week that the club were looking into a marquee deal with the former World Cup winner who turned 38 on Tuesday.
Despite his age, the former Fiorentina, Juventus and Bayern Munich striker’s quality clearly remains, currently sitting atop the Serie A goal scoring charts with 21 strikes for Hellas Verona.
Griffin said Adelaide’s play for Toni was “serious”, but Petrillo added that negotiations were still preliminary and a deal was a long shot.
“It’s at a very early stage,” Petrillo told FourFourTwo.
“We don’t want to get too carried away, we’re looking at it, it’s not something we’re pinning our hopes on.
“It’s a really long shot, but it’s something we feel it would be remiss of us not to have a look at it.”
The bulk of Adelaide’s squad is contracted for next season meaning they are fairly settled, but Petrillo said they still wanted to add another three players; a central defender to replace Nigel Boogaard, a midfielder and a forward.
Toni fits the bill for the latter and Petrillo confirmed the Reds will have one visa spot available, with import Miguel Palanca set to return to Spain.
“Any club would want a player of that ilk, especially if they’re going to make a positive commercial impact on the club and more importantly a positive impact on our results,” Petrillo said.
“There’s a decent Italian community in every capital city and Adelaide is no different, but he goes beyond that having played at Bayern Munich and being very successful.
“He’s a proven goal scorer. He’s scoring a lot of goals still at Serie A, which is one of the top four leagues in the world playing with a club in the bottom half of the table.
“He’s certainly a quality player. He could make a difference to any team in the A-League.”
The Reds don’t have a history of signing high-profile marquee players. Shengqing Qu, Paul Agostino and Dario Vidosic are previous marquees, while Romario was a guest signing.
However, during Alessandro Del Piero’s time in the A-League, his appearances in Adelaide regularly saw improved crowds.
In order to accommodate Toni’s signing, Adelaide would need to move current marquee Marcelo Carrusca’s wage under the salary cap.
“There’s no doubt we’ve always been a club that said we’re not in the market for a really high profile marquee type player,” Petrillo said.
“The chances of being able to bring someone of that ilk to Adelaide at the present time is really difficult.
“Having said that, it would be remiss of us not to look at the opportunity and see what’s presented and if there’s any way we could get the deal over the line.”