On Fabio Borini, Daniel Sturridge, Italian Co-Ownership, and Chelsea FC

KASSEL, GERMANY - MARCH 29: Konstantin Rausch (back) of Germany is challenged by Fabio Borini of Italy during the U21 international friendly match between Germany and Italy at Auestadium on March 29, 2011 in Kassel, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Many of us were a bit disappointed when Fabio Borini turned down the contract he was being offered at Chelsea and instead elected to join Parma on a (virtually) free transfer. Borini had just completed what was a relatively successful loan spell at Swansea, and instead of fighting for a place at Chelsea, he elected to join Parma. That move would be shortlived, however, as he was quickly loaned to Roma before ever playing a real game for Parma. Roma were impressed by Borini, and in January they entered into one of the true mysteries of Italian football...co-ownership of the player. The theory behind co-ownership is that it both provides more reason for the player to see time on the pitch as well as give the team holding his registration initially an immediate financial boost.

Co-ownership situations usually result with one team buying out the other at the end of a season, but if the situation can"t be resolved to the satisfaction of both clubs the Italian FA have a unique way to resolve the issue. Both clubs submit a sealed bid in the amount that they pay to buy out the other "partner", with neither club knowing the other bid. The higher bid is then accepted, with the player then being owned 100% by the winning team and the losing bidder getting the higher fee immediately.

In the specific case of Fabio Borini, both clubs seem to have differing needs for the player. Roma want to keep Borini, as he was very solid for them last season. Parma seem to have different motives, as it appear they would be open to selling Borini elsewhere. Enter Liverpool, a club who are now managed by Brendan Rodgers who has worked with Borini both at Chelsea and at Swansea. Liverpool are rumored to have reached a substantial deal with Parma for the services of Borini already, but if Parma do not own the player then that rumored deal goes in the toilet.

Tomorrow will bring us the announcement of who had the winning bid, and that could have all sorts of implications for Chelsea. If Borini stays at Roma, Liverpool would seemingly still be in the market for a new striker. They've been rumored to be high on Daniel Sturridge, who is in the last year of his Chelsea deal. Parma acquiring Borini would seemingly lessen Liverpool's interest in our young striker/winger. That would likely have 2 major implications for Chelsea and Sturridge. First, It's one less "desirable"* place for Sturridge to end up, as Liverpool would seemingly be out of the race to sign him. That would potentially increase the odds he extends at Chelsea. Shrinking the market for Daniel could be a negative as well though, reducing our leverage if we are actually trying to sell him. Less leverage generally means a smaller fee, and that's clearly bad.

*Anfield is clearly not all that desirable anymore, but they "have history" (albeit mostly ancient) and could seemingly afford both his wages and transfer fee.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day for Chelsea, and how you feel about Daniel Sturridge should go a long way in deciding what you hope to see happen with Fabio. One thing is certain though...Borini wouldn't be in this mess where he has no control over his own future if he had just stayed at Chelsea. Who knows, he might even be on top of our depth chart if he had stayed. Regardless of who wins tomorrow though, it looks like Parma is going to make a decent profit on a guy that never played a game for them. Well played Parma...well played.

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