Little Prince ups sticks for shiny lights of Liverpool

Alberto Aquilani has done something neither Francesco Totti or Daniele De Rossi would ever do... up sticks and bid a fond farewell to his home town.

All three may be Roman born-and-bred and have red and yellow running through their veins, but while Totti and De Rossi have always been hailed as kings in the city â in TottiâÂÂs case imperatorial status - Aquilani holds mere minor royalty ranking.

Another home-grown talent, Giuseppe Giannini, was known as The Prince, but Aquilani only got as far as being crowned The Little Prince.

If Roma had to sacrifice one of their own then it was always going to be Aquilani: Totti may have expressed his bitterness at allowing a local boy to leave but for the majority of Giallorossi followers there is little regret.

Never adored in the manner of Totti and De Rossi â or for that matter de facto Roman Rodrigo Taddei â the â¬20 million transfer fee plus three-and-half million bonus is manna from heaven for a cash-starved and debt-ridden club.

AquilaniâÂÂs injury problems are now LiverpoolâÂÂs concern â an ankle injury limited him to just 14 Serie A appearances last season, and before that there was ongoing thigh trouble that sidelined him for most the previous campaign.

Having said, at 25, he now has a new challenge ahead, not to mention a doubling of his salary to â¬4 million a year, so it would be churlish not to wish him a heartfelt in bucca al lupo.

If he remains fit then his style and physical attributes are well-suited to English football: excellent short and mid-range passing, sure first touch and an eye for goal from long range as well as well-timed runs into the opposition area.

Marcello Lippi has welcomed the switch and will no doubt be a regular observer alongside Fabio Capello at Anfield in the months to come.

Meanwhile, back in the Eternal City, AquilaniâÂÂs departure is just the beginning of an August clear-out, which may put the club on a more solid footing heading into the new season.

Two of last summerâÂÂs ill-judged signings, Julio Baptista and Jeremy Menez, should be on their way although the French winger may receive a reprieve after impressing in pre-season training.

It now seems that it will take a major offer â something around â¬15-18 million - to prise Mirko Vucinic away from the capital, so suddenly things are looking more positive for coach Luciano Spalletti.

The 7-1 drubbing of Genk in the Europa League - where Totti grabbed a hat-trick and De Rossi a brace - is a well-timed morale-boost with just over a fortnight to the new season.  

The Sensi family can sleep a little easier as well, although if that is a good thing is open to debate.

An investigation by the financial regulators into movement in the clubâÂÂs share price seems to have petered out and for now the takeover bid from a Swiss conglomerate fronted by Vinicio Fioranelli has been repelled.

Whether the current owners will see out the end of the year remains uncertain, but in the short-term there is at least an opportunity to delve into the transfer market.

Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo heads the list of targets to fill the big-strapping central, striking role, while Dusan Duric of FC Zurich is seen as a potential replacement for Aquilani.

The Eternal City may have said arrivederci to one its own, but the pay-off will dry any tears of regret.

---------------------------------------------- More to read...

NEWS: Aquilani - I will always be Roma fan
NEWS: Liverpool agree fee for AquilaniNEWS: Giannini - Aquilani perfect for Liverpool

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