New Italy go gung-ho and Wenger targets a new diddyman

Out with brawn, in with flair. Italy may not be able to defend any more but who cares, let’s get all Brazilian and go on all-out attack.

“A swashbuckling Azzurri,” trumpeted La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Wednesday evening’s World Cup qualifier with Georgia. The Pink’un added: “Maximum points are needed but the time is here to start building a new and exciting side for the future.”

Marcello Lippi had already indicated that he was set to make changes following the last-gasp win in Cyprus. According to all three sports dailies – Gazzetta, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport – it’s an all-dancing 4-3-3 from now on, which means Mauro Camoranesi and the weekend's two-goal-hero Antonio di Natale providing support for beanpole Luca Toni in attack.

Camoranesi and Di Natale: "Look, Luca!"

Not only that but the future starts now with the previously under-employed Alberto Aquilani lining-up alongside AS Roma team-mate Daniele de Rossi and Milan’s Andrea Pirlo in midfield. Defence, who needs it? Anyway, Gigi Buffon can look after that by himself.

On a side note, Italy will spend one half of the game attacking a goal with a giant stage as the backdrop. Udinese’s Friuli stadium is the venue and it just happens that the country’s biggest-selling rocker Vasco Rossi is playing there on Friday. The man is like U2 and Coldplay rolled into one, so it has taken three days to construct the 70m-high stage. “I hope the stage brings the Azzurri good luck and doesn’t distract them,” quipped the 56-year-old, who once threatened to cancel a gig because only 80,000 tickets had been sold.

No doubt the Italy U21s were listening away to Vasco ahead of their crucial European Championship qualifier in Croatia. The young blues are through to the play-offs for the finals in Sweden following a 1-1 draw and in no small measure to another breathtaking performance from Sebastian Giovinco. However, be warned, screams Tuttosport: that thief of up and coming talent, Arsene Wenger, has got his beady eyes on the pocket-sized dribbler.

Skilful, young, tiny and foreign: just Wenger's type

Rest easy though, Juve fans: sporting director Alessio Secco has claimed that he had a contract in his pocket ready for the 21-year-old to sign by the end of the week. In fact, according to Secco the deal would have been done and dusted a few days ago if Claudio Pasqualin, one of Giovinco’s agents – for some reason he needs two – hadn’t fallen off his bike and couldn’t make the meeting.

On second thoughts, Juve fans, don’t rest easy until the little man actually signs.

By the way, Giovinco wants €1m a season, no doubt small change for Arsenal and certainly no problem for Chelsea who are reportedly ready to nap Seb’s even littler brother Giuseppe who is a carbon-copy of his older sibling. As Giovinco junior is only 17, he cannot sign professional forms in Italy until he turns 18 so Chelsea could spirit him away for zero with an offer of a tasty little contract.

Well, we started in swashbuckling fashion, so why not end with pirates?