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Gnoukouri a rising star at Inter

Inter Milan
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Aquilani would have been happy with Reds stay

Alberto Aquilani says he was willing to remain at Liverpool this summer before Juventus offered him a chance he could not reject.

• Reina rues Masch exit

Aquilani has joined Juve on loan for the season and the Italian club have the option to sign the former Roma midfielder on a permanent deal if he impresses upon his return to Serie A.

A combination of fitness concerns and Rafa Benitez's reluctance to place his faith in the player saw Aquilani restricted to only nine league starts last season, but the Italian felt he was getting to grips with the demands of the Premier League.

Though he was prepared to remain at Anfield, Aquilani says he could not refuse a move to the Bianconeri once Juve made their interest known.

"It was really fast, a blitz," Aquilani told Tuttosport. "One day I was speaking with [Roy] Hodgson and we were discussing Liverpool's season and three days later I found myself having a medical in Turin.

"Liverpool counted on me and in the end I would also have stayed because at the end of last season I was getting in gear physically and I had played the last eight games of the campaign.

"The fans had started to show me affection. Then this opportunity arrived and I didn't even need a minute to think about it. Liverpool wanted to only send me on loan, but [Juve general director, Beppe] Marotta insisted to have the option to buy."

Meanwhile, Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt still holds out some hope that he will be able to face his former side Utrecht in the Europa League on September 30. Kuyt has been ruled out for around a month with a shoulder injury sustained on international duty with Netherlands.

"I hope I will make it (for Utrecht) but it all depends on how the injury heals in the first few days," Kuyt said. "I have made a thousand of these moves before without any problems."

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