The Rams have, well almost have, announced that young Italian striker Arturo Lupoli will join Fiorentina at the end of the season.
The 19-year-old, who signed for the Gunners in 2004 from Parma, struggled for first team appearances – making just one Premiership appearance for North London side. He is a free agent in the summer, and has agreed a five-year deal with the Serie A side.
Lupoli is midway through a season-long loan spell Pride Park, has stated on a number of occasions his wish to return to Italy to play. He was linked to a move to Napoli and even spoke of staying with Derby if they were to be promoted to the Premiership.
The Rams are in limbo has they haven`t been officially told of the transfer to Fiorentina. What a disgrace, were paying his wages aren`t we – haven`t they heard of telephones in Italy?
A Derby club spokesman said: “While we haven’t had any official notification from Fiorentina, there is no reason that we would, as Arturo is an Arsenal player and he has publicly stated his inclination to move back home to Italy when his contract in this country ends, so we are not surprised by today’s news.”
In his time at the Rams Lupol has earned international recognition – Italy Under-21`s – scoring on his debut for Pierluigi Casiraghi’s men in their friendly against Luxembourg in December. He has scored six times in the Championship for the Rams and four in the cup, including a third-round FA Cup hat-trick against Wrexham.
It`s a distraction Billy Davies doesn`t need at this time of the season, but the pocket rocket is expected to see out the remainder of his loan spell at Pride Park Stadium.
The rumour mill has started already with another Arsenal youngster reportedly heading to the Rams to replace Lupoli. According to today`s reports, Derby have made enquiries about the availability of Jeremy Aliadiere. At this stage, Arsenal is thought to be weighing up their options. As they say, ‘Watch this space!!`