In the best traditions of the calciomercato, it's a been a long drawn out saga. First suggestions that he might be looking at a move overseas were first heard in Autumn 2006. Not that he was unhappy with where he was, just that he was looking for a new challenge, he wanted to stretch his horizons, better himself, experience new styles of play... and that maybe he should move overseas. Initial contacts with a couple of possible destinations in the early months of 2007 came to nothing, however. Was he likely to stay in his existing location? Hard to say; he seemed unsettled by the discussions which had taken place. In late 2007 a new and more determined round of negotiations was opened, and this time with much more dramatic results.
After a long period of suspense a definite offer at last came in from a side playing in blue (never a good sign, I think, with all due apologies to CB). Then a flurry of offers came in from big names in the North East... but he was clearly hanging on for the right place and the right time. And last week it finally looked like a choice had been made in favour of an option which combined professional fulfilment with personal satisfaction (the WAG element, always important). A quality outfit with a decent symbol (the Bears). But at the last moment a dramatic new offer came in - and from their local rival, no less. Not only offering the chance to play with some of the biggest names in the field, but an extremely attractive financial package besides, both in terms of regular wage and a generous signing on fee (I joke not). And a nice crimson-red coloured jersey besides, almost a giallorosso type red.
So the latest word is, probably Stanford.