Sassuolo have signed Alberto Aquilani from Serie A rivals Pescara on loan until the end of the season.
Aquilani, 32, has been drafted in as cover for a side which was decimated by injuries in the first half of the season and will be without their captain Francesco Magnanelli for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
Midfielders Alfred Duncan and Davide Biondini are also out with long-term injuries, while Matteo Politano is on the road to recovery and Domenico Berardi, who has been out since the end of August, is only just taking his first steps back in training.
“We’ve brought Aquilani in and he could be a key pillar of our side,” Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco told Sky Sport, adding that he has been given guarantees that the Neroverdi will not be selling any key players this winter.
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“The club have assured me that [Gregoire] Defrel and [Lorenzo] Pellegrini are not going anywhere,” he said. “If we were to lose a player like Defrel or even [Francesco] Acerbi in a year like this, it really would be hard to take.
“We’ll evaluate things again in June. We’ve got lots of young players and I expected to hear lots of rumours about our lads with the transfer window open, but the club have assured me that nobody will be leaving in January.”
Former Roma and Liverpool midfielder Aquilani featured nine times for Pescara in the first half of the season having joined them as a free agent in the summer.
Ex-Reds boss Rafa Benitez proceeded to splurge £17m on Italian, and he arrived at the club with following ringing endorsement from Francesco Totti:
“He is potentially one of the best players in the world…and I believe he will do really well in England.”
His injury-hit spell with Liverpool saw him restricted to just 18 Premier League appearances in the 2009-10 season.