Del Piero worth the gamble

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Alessandro Del Piero could lower the curtain on an illustrious career with Juventus by leading the Turin giants to a domestic double, which would be just reward for 19 years of service from the Italian legend.

Juve claimed a first Scudetto triumph since their return from the wilderness with victory over Cagliari on Sunday and, should they avoid defeat against Atalanta next weekend, will become the first side ever to remain unbeaten for an entire Serie A campaign.

The following Saturday, Juventus will meet Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico in the final of the Coppa Italia, and victory for the former will represent the 16th major honour during Del Piero's time with the club.

It also represents what is expected to be the 37-year-old's final appearance for the Bianconeri, with Del Piero's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

This, however, will not be the end for Del Piero, and he appears set to leave Turin for pastures new this summer, rather than end his career altogether.

A move to the Premier League could seemingly beckon for the Italian World Cup winner and, according to talkSPORT, both Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers are interested in acquiring his services.

An attempt to sign Del Piero would appear to contradict the recruitment principles of Arsene Wenger, with the Arsenal manager oft seen to ignore the talents of any players aged over 30.

The Frenchman has, however, shown he is willing to bend is own rules somewhat, as the second comings of Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry have proven, although each of these deals came only on a short-term basis.

Del Piero, meanwhile, will surely be looking for a least a one-year contract after leaving Juventus, but would it be worth Arsenal, QPR or any other Premier League club for that matter, taking a relative gamble on the Juventus veteran?

Well, in a word, yes. Although he is far from the player that scored 32 goals during his most potent season for Juve, Del Piero has proven over the course of this season that he still has a significant contribution to make.

Experience is an invaluable commodity and one that Del Piero possesses in abundance, while his class and composure have been evident when Juve have required it most this season.

Two decisive goals in four games, including the winner against Lazio in early April, helped Juve overturn a four-point deficit and propel themselves above AC Milan with hardly a month of the campaign remaining.

The strike versus Lazio was something special too, as Del Piero caught out the Rome giants with a piece of quick thinking from a free-kick some 25 yards from goal.

It was an ideal example of both the technique and nous Del Piero has demonstrated throughout a long career and, as ever, proved to be vitally important to his team's cause.

Del Piero's talents are unquestioned, while he still remains fit enough to perform at the highest level, should he be provided another opportunity to do so.

However, the problem remains for Arsenal, or any other potential suitors, that Del Piero may reject the rigours of one of Europe's most high-profile leagues in order to play out his days in a less demanding - and more financially rewarding - environment.

David Beckham and Thierry Henry have both previously shunned European football for the riches of the MLS during the twilight of their careers, while Raul is expected to do the same after running down his contract with Schalke.

Del Piero would enhance any team in the Premier League, and it is foolish to think the likes of Manchester City or Manchester United would not even contemplate acquiring his services.

A move to Liverpool or Chelsea may be a little far fetched owing to the want for more youthful squads at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge, but it would come as no great surprise if Harry Redknapp managed to bring Del Piero to Tottenham.

Del Piero will have no shortage of suitors this summer, but a potential move to the Premier League will hinge more on his ambitions, rather than those of the teams courting him.

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