‘I will make use of the Pozzo link’ says Di Natale
The Pozzo family have achieved huge amounts of success already with their three clubs
Antonio Di Natale has publicly announced he will be taking full advantage of Udinese’s link with English side Watford and Spanish side Granada, both in loaning out players to receive full match experience, but also bringing in some of the stars from these clubs. Many suggest this could have a negative impact on the two feeder clubs, whose best players could be poached away, but Di Natale insists that his aim will be to let those clubs grow as well.
The Pozzo family first bought Udinese in July 1986, and helped them recover from betting scandals and low finishes to their current position, fighting for European places. With the success in their home nation of Italy achieved, the next target was Spanish side Granada. Lurking in the Spanish lower leagues, with the help of the newly established link, they were soon promoted in La Liga, where they have remained since. Most recently, they chose to buy English Championship side Watford in 2012, and have so far invested heavily into their stadium, as well as bringing lots of players from their other projects over to England.
Under the rules of the agreement, Udinese, as the parent club can buy any of their feeder club’s players for free, while those clubs can loan Udinese players without a cost. Examples of this included Allan Nyom and Abdou Sissoko, both loaned to Granada, while players such as Matej Vydra, on a temporary basis, and Fernando Forestieri permanently making the switch to Watford.
Giampolo, and his son Gino Pozzo have come under some criticism for their business-like approach to the sport, shifting players as just mere utensils of the biggest picture. Despite this, no-one can argue with the results it has produced with the clubs involved. Udinese are now one of the largest clubs in Italy, are all able to secure young talent, develop them through feeder clubs, before selling them on for a huge fee. A prime illustration of this model is Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean winger coming through the Udinese ranks before being sold for £25 million to Barcelona. Now at Arsenal, Sanchez’ career was built by Udinese and the Pozzo family, and the basis for many others to follow suit is in place. However, whether Udinese will always be a selling club, just another cog in the Pozzo machine, or whether under the guidance of Di Natale, they can elevate themselves to the top level, it is still to be seen.