x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

David Trezeguet can end on a high note

The France striker's most determined suitors in Europe will probably be clubs short of goals, worried about meeting targets such as a place in Europe for next season, or avoiding relegation.

David Trezeguet moved to Baniyas in the summer, but has regretted the decision and is trying to sever ties with club.
David Trezeguet moved to Baniyas in the summer, but has regretted the decision and is trying to sever ties with club.

There are clubs in three or four of the major leagues of Europe who will still pause and open discussions within their boardrooms when it is suggested a short-term deal to take on David Trezeguet in January might be a good idea.

His scant record of recent goals in the Pro League is in such sharp distinction to the rest of his career that his short but troubled time so far with Baniyas need not count as an indelible stain on his reputation.

That reputation is of a finisher of the highest class: 34 goals in 71 internationals in a career for France which took off from his sharing in a World Cup triumph, made him a key contributor to victory at a European Championship and included a World Cup silver medal.

His record in the top division of Italian football, during some of which he could claim to be poaching goals in the hardest domestic league on the planet, is outstanding.

For Juventus in Serie A he struck 123 times in 214 matches; he was just as prolific during the season he spent with Juve in Serie B. In France's Ligue 1, where he played for Monaco from his late teens until he was 22, he scored 52 in 93 league appearances.

Even in his injury-interrupted campaign with relegated Hercules in 2010/11, Trezeguet answered the Spanish club's big investment in him with respectable overall figures: 12 goals in 29 matches.

At Hercules, there had been some curiosity to see whether Trezeguet could adapt his game, after a decade at Italy's most aristocratic club. But unlike his start in UAE, he began his spell in Alicante impressively. After 13 matches he had contributed eight goals.

After that, his form started to fade. Between the new year and Hercules ending up in the drop zone into Spain's Segunda Division, Trezeguet featured in just three victories and scored four times in 17 outings.

So 2011 has not been a good a year for the Frenchman. At Baniyas, some of the frustrations of his Hercules experience seem to have clung to him. He arrived amid high expectations but suffering niggling injuries.

At the time Swansea City, just arrived in the English Premier League, were said to have considered elevating their salary ceiling to accommodate Trezeguet's high expectations; Napoli had thought about taking him on to strengthen their squad for the twin challenges of a first Champions League campaign and a tilt at the Serie A title.

He chose Baniyas and now, evidently, wants to draw a line under a decision he regrets.

At the beginning of this week, AC Milan were being linked with a possible move for the forward, although not very plausibly.

His most determined suitors in Europe will probably be clubs short of goals, worried about meeting targets such as a place in Europe for next season, or avoiding relegation, rather than seizing championships.

He has the advantage of not being cup-tied for Champions League or Europa League football.

Above all, Trezeguet will need to assure those who gasp at his wage expectations that the poaching instincts have not dulled, the 34-year-old physique is not carrying chronic symptoms of wear and tear, and that the misadventure at Baniyas was just a blip.