Chievo Could Be More Proactive With New Signings in 2017/18

With some of the new signings at the club, Chievo could play more attacking style of football in the 2017/18 Serie A season.

Coach Rolando Maran has been conservative in his methods despite occasionally implementing pressing tactics and he has been over-reliant on veterans in defence.

Whether he was using the 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 formation, the now 54-year-old has often fielded workhorse midfielders more than creative players in the middle of the park and the strikers were more known for their work ethic than their flair.

Slovenian attacking midfielder Valter Birsa has often had the responsibility to create play but some of the new arrivals should take the workload off him and provide the Flying Donkeys with more creative spark.

Two forwards that have been acquired from Serie B club Cesena are Luca Garritano and Alejandro Rodriguez.

Garritano is a versatile player that has been used as a support striker and a winger but he was used as a creative central midfielder in the second half of the 2016/17 Serie B season. This season he is likely to feature as a box-to-box midfielder in Maran’s 4-3-1-2 formation and should offer more guile than the hard-working Perparim Hetemaj.

Rodriguez possesses Serie A experience, having played for Cesena when it was last in Italy’s top flight and spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan at Sampdoria. Although he is unlikely to take a starting position away from Roberto Inglese, the Spaniard is better suited to a substitute’s role.

Another striker that has joined Chievo in the summer is Manuel Pucciarelli from Empoli, who has been relegated from Serie A. Barring a spell at Gavoranno in 2012, the 26-year-old has spent his career with the Azzurri but the Flying Donkeys purchased him for a reported figure of €3.75 million.

He will play in a support striker role as he did with Empoli, and despite not being a prolific goalscorer, his dribbling ability as well as comfort in drifting to the wings should benefit Ceo‘s attacking play.

In addition to these new arrivals, there are two young forwards that are returning to Chievo from loan spells. Mehdi Leris is a support striker who spent last season in the Juventus Primavera team while Kevin Yamga played for Lega Pro team Arezzo in the 2016/17 campaign.

It remains to be seen if Maran does use Leris and Yamga in 2017/18 but at least the Flying Donkeys have more options in attack than in previous years and he has the opportunity to be more diverse with his tactics.

Since Maran became Chievo coach in October 2014, he has often started with the industrious Riccardo Meggiorini alongside an out-and-out striker. First it was Alberto Paloschi playing as the centre-forward and then Inglese has taken that role while club stalwart Sergio Pellissier has featured in cameo roles. With the new signings though, Maran has the opportunity to create a team that plays in a more modern style.

Instead of grinding out wins, he has players that possess the characteristics produce expansive football, and even a provincial club like Chievo can and should believe that it is capable of dictating the play.

 

Hellas Verona Dodged Bullet with Cassano

Hellas Verona should count itself lucky that Antonio Cassano wanted his contract terminated before the 2017-18 Serie A season commenced.

The Gialloblu has returned to Italy’s top flight after a season in Serie B and the 35-year-old free agent was among the club’s new acquisitions but he had not played competitive football for over a year.

Cassano’s final Serie A match was at Sampdoria, when the Blucerchiati lost 3-0 in the Derby della Lanterna in Round 37 of the 2015/16 season, and despite remaining at the club to train, he was frozen out of the squad and then had his contract terminated in January 2017.

He had been training by himself but he would have lacked in match fitness and match experience. To return to competitive football after a year out in your mid-30s and be successful is an improbable task and stamina was never a huge feature of his game so succeeding with the Gialloblu would have been a miracle.

Hellas Verona coach Fabio Pecchia already has to work with a few veteran strikers and it would have been a tougher challenged if Cassano honoured the rest of his contract. Captain Giampaolo Pazzini is 33 years old while Alessio Cerci, who joined on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid, turned 30 on July 23.

Cassano would have been reunited with former attacking partner Pazzini and the duo formed a great partnership at Sampdoria but Pecchia’s methods are different to Walter Mazzarri’s and Luigi Del Neri’s. Mazzarri and Delneri usually had two strikers up front in their formations at Il Doria while Pecchia often implements the 4-3-3 formation.

Aside from the current Mastini coach’s system, it has been seven years since “Pazzo” and “Fantantonio” were working their magic with the Doriani so replicating that form or anything near it would have been a mammoth task for them.

While Pecchia still has to work with the experienced duo of Cerci and Pazzini in attack, he does have Daniele Verde, who arrived on loan from Roma during the transfer window.

After unsuccessful spells at Frosinone and Pescara, the 21-year-old winger spent last season on loan at Avellino, scoring eight goals and assisting five others in 32 Serie B games.

With Cassano gone and Juanito Gomez also terminating his contract, Verde should have more of a chance to prove himself and he would add pace as well as youthful energy to Verona’s experienced attack.

French winger Mohamed Fares has featured in the Verona senior squad sporadically in the last two seasons and will probably remain as a bit-part player but it does not mean that Fares and Verde will be the only youngsters in the Butei attack.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Veronese team is linked with Felipe Avenatti, Ricardo Kishna, Sadiq Umar, and Patrick Cutrone so the search for more youth in attack should continue until the end of August. Balancing youth and experience, particularly up forward, should be vital to the Mastini’s survival hopes.

Hellas Verona will commence the 2017/18 league campaign at home against Napoli, which coincidentally was the same fixture that opened the Mastini‘s 1984/95 scudetto-winning season.

Although the current Gialloblu team is unlikely to hit the lofty heights of the great 1980s side, they should be glad that they have one less veteran than what they need.

 

New Investors Must Acquire Fiorentina from the Della Valle Family Quickly

It has come to the point where Fiorentina supporters have become fed up with the lack of ambition from club patrons Andrea and Diego Della Valle and now the Florentine side needs someone to purchase the club fast.

Since 2002, the Della Valles have owned the Tuscan club but aside from building the club up after it went bankrupt, their reign has not produce silverware domestically or internationally.

This summer the Gigliati have had an exodus of playing personnel such as Federico Bernardeschi, Borja Valero, Ciprian Tatarusanu, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Cristian Tello, and Matias Vecino, who were important footballers for the club.

General director Pantaleo Corvino has replaced those players with youngsters like Nikola Milenkovic and Rafik Zekhnini as well as unknowns such as Vitor Hugo and Bruno Gaspar but it will be a massive challenge for new coach Stefano Pioli to make them fit into the Fiorentina side quickly.

There are other footballers returning from loan spells such as Andres Schetino, Matias Fernandez, Jaime Baez, and Ante Rebic but it is doubtful that these players aside from Mati Fernandez have the quality to improve the side.

This has turned out to be a case of poor timing for Pioli, who has to work with limited resources. He might have to promote youth academy players like he did at Parma in 2006/07, when the likes of Luca Cigarini and Daniele Dessena featured regularly for the Ducali.

The Della Valle family have put the club up for sale but nobody has showed any serious interest so far.

It would be ideal to sell the club to foreign owners because an Arab, Chinese, or Russian investor would likely increase the club’s transfer funds. Inter and AC Milan have been bought by Chinese businessmen in the last year or so and perhaps more Italian clubs could follow that trend.

For those who want to maintain a bit of tradition and keep the club Italian-owned, it is unlikely that any Italian businessman is willing to spend millions of Euros on players so implementing a youth policy would be convenient.

Fiorentina’s squad has been dominated by foreign players in recent seasons so focusing on Italians might be the way to go. Youth product Federico Chiesa had a breakthrough campaign in 2016/17 so maybe he should be seen as an example and the Viola should grant other kids opportunities to gain valuable experience.

Unfortunately patience is lacking in Italian football and there is often demand for instant success. The clubs that have scouted players from obscurity and placed faith in young talent are teams that have been playing in Italy’s lower divisions.

Regardless of who takes over from the Della Valle family, new ownership is needed immediately. A passionate football city and place with the history of Florence needs and deserves a competitive side but the current administration is destabilising Fiorentina.

The Viola needs direction, leadership, and investment and the Della Valle family won’t provide that anymore.

Italy v Brazil in the 1982 World Cup is the Greatest Football Match Ever

July 5 marks 35 years since Italy and Brazil played against each other in a classic encounter at the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

The Azzurri triumphed 3-2 over the Selecao in a match considered to be one of the best football matches ever but I will go a step further and say that it was the greatest game played in the history of the sport.

Two matches are often rated higher. In one particular list by Planet World Cup, Italy v West Germany from the 1970 World Cup and West Germany v France from the 1982 tournament are considered to be better than Italy v Brazil but I do not believe that to be the case.

Italy’s 4-3 victory over the West Germans after extra time in the Mexico 70 semi-finals is referred to as the “Match of the Century” but as great as it was, there were substantial amounts of the game that were boring. If Karl-Heinz Schnellinger had not equalised, the clash probably would have been labelled as a boring 1-0 win to the Italians.

When West Germany drew 3-3 with France before beating them 5-4 on penalties in the España 82 semi-finals, it was considered to be a dramatic game to watch. Watching it in hindsight, viewers do not get the same adrenalin as viewing it live, and then you realise that for all the drama, there were some dour spells during the game.

Italy v Brazil in the Second Phase of the 1982 World Cup was an exciting game from start to finish. Both teams had technically gifted players and they could have and probably should have scored more than five goals at the Estadi de Sarrià in Barcelona.

On paper it was meant to be a contrast of styles. Italian football at the time was synonymous with catenaccio, the defensive tactic which involved defending in numbers and going to play for a 0-0 draw or 1-0 win, and Brazil was known for its jogo bonito. The Selecao played a cautious style of football in 1974 and 1978 but the 1982 team played in the same manner as the victorious 1970 World Cup side.

Italy qualified unconvincingly for the Second Phase, drawing all three matches in Group A and progressed ahead of Cameroon because they had scored one more goal. Brazil had flourished in the First Round, winning all three games in Group F and scored 10 goals in the process.

Both teams were drawn in Group 3 with reigning world champions Argentina, with the Azzurri defeating the Albiceleste 2-1 and the Selecao beating their South American rivals 3-1. Scoring the extra goal was vital because it meant that Brazil only needed a draw and Italy had to win.

Although Italian football was largely considered to be defensive, the main thing the national team had in common with the clubs was the formation. Coach Enzo Bearzot used the zona mista, which was an asymmetrical 4-3-3 formation, otherwise the Azzurri tactician had encouraged a more attacking style since he became coach in 1975.

At the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Italy had impressed in the first group stage with its proactive approach – the 1-0 win against the hosts was an exception – but the team faded as the tournament progressed and finished fourth. At the beginning of the 1982 edition, the Italians were unconvincing and although improvements were seen against the Argentines, a third World Cup looked unrealistic.

Once Italy v Brazil started at 5:15 pm local time, those pre-match predictions counted for little. Both teams attacked each other and it was the Italians who opened the scoring after five minutes.

The ball was played out of defence and Bruno Conti went for a run in midfield. He crossed the ball with the outside of his left boot to Antonio Cabrini, who advanced from left-back. His curling cross found Paolo Rossi, who made a late run into the penalty area and headed the ball into the net.

Rossi had been suspended for two years after the 1980 Totonero match-fixing scandal and looked underwhelming in the previous four World Cup games but he had suddenly came to live.

Francesco Graziani nearly made it 2-0 after Rossi back-heeled to him but he ballooned his shot over the bar. If Graziani was like future Italian stars Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, or Gianfranco Zola, he could have curled that shot into a top corner instead of blasting high into the sky.

Serginho missed a sitter for the Brazilians before Socrates beat Dino Zoff at the near post in the 12th minute. In the 25th minute, Cerezo played a casual pass in defence, and Rossi reacted quickly to race towards goal and shot inside the semi-circle to make it 2-1.

Brazil pushed hard for an equaliser but 40-year-old goalkeeper Dino Zoff was in inspiring form. The Azzurri could have made it 3-1 in the second half but Rossi shot agonisingly wide after receiving a through-ball from Graziani.

The Selecao did get their deserved equaliser in the 68th minute, when Socrates dribbled past Conti and passed to Falcao, who calmly took five touches and struck a thunderous left-foot shot past Zoff.

Tele Santana encouraged his team to keep attacking but the Brazilian coach probably did not expect the Italians to have any more energy left inside of them. Bearzot’s team chased for the winner and duly got it.

Italy got a corner in the 75th minute. Conti’s corner from the right was headed down by Socrates but Marco Tardelli managed to swing his left leg at the ball and Rossi deflected the ball into the net to get his hat-trick.

Surprisingly enough, the Italians went for a fourth goal and they thought they had got it. Giancarlo Antongnoni started the counter-attack and his long pass found Rossi, who then passed to Gabriele Oriali. Oriali switched the ball across the penalty area and Antognoni side-footed the ball into the net.

The Italian playmaker was onside but the goal was controversially disallowed. If Brazil had equalised, that moment would have been heavily scrutinised. The Selecao thought they had equalised when Socrates dribbled around Zoff and scored from a tight angle but it was correctly ruled offside.

Zoff had one more save left in him and he displayed cat-like reflexes to deny Oscar from a header in the final minute. After he kicked the ball away, Israeli referee Abraham Klein blew for the final whistle.

Italy progressed to the semi-finals, beating Poland 2-0, and then defeated West Germany 3-1 in the final to win the World Cup for the third time and it was the first one since 1938.

Brazil had lament on what could have been. Some Brazilians had seen it as the day football died but it was proof that football was not just about attacking and aesthetics. You need to practical too.

Not many people talk about it, but it was a match in which Italian football showed that there was more to it than just defending. The Azzurri were confident on the ball and arguably created more dangerous chances than the Selecao.

There might have been matches with more drama and controversy but Italy 3-2 Brazil was match where the football smarts, artistry, and technique were on show. For those reasons, I rate it as the greatest game ever.

 

Sampdoria Start the 2017 Calciomercato Early

With the transfer market officially opened on Saturday, Sampdoria has been active and the club has seen some players leave as well as few others arriving.

There were a few deals completed prior to Saturday and the Blucerchiati fans should expect to see a different squad to the 2016/17 one.

Here is an update some of the completed deals and rumours concerning the Sampdoria squad position by position.

Goalkeepers/Defenders

The goalkeeper positions look unlikely to change but Udinese goalkeeper Alex Meret was linked with Samp at one stage. The 20-year-old impressed on loan at SPAL last season but Napoli is the favourite to lure him.

Slovakian centre-back Milan Skriniar has not been officially sold to Inter but he has reportedly completed his medical examinations and a deal is apparently going to be worth €20 million plus performance-related bonuses.

Captain Vasco Regini was linked with Zenit St Petersburg, SPAL and Cagliari but has recently revealed a desire to stay at the club. That has not stopped the Doriani from purchasing a natural left-back and Nicola Murru has arrived from Cagliari for €7m.

Midfielders

The acquisition of the 22-year-old has meant that Sampdoria will send players to the Sardinian club and central midfielder Luca Cigarini is one of them. The former Atalanta midfielder only lasted one season and he has joined Cagliari as a part of the Murru deal.

Attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes has signed for Portuguese giants Sporting CP for a reported figure €9m plus €1m in bonuses. Il Doria initially bought him from Udinese for around €6m so the club has made a small profit by selling the 22-year-old.

There is more speculation on who will replace Fernandes in the trequartista role. Dutch international Wesley Sneijder had emerged as a potential candidate but Samp tactician Marco Giampaolo is not interested in signing the Galatasaray playmaker and a deal for Fiorentina midfielder Josip Ilicic is near completion.

Strikers

Patrik Schick has signed for Juventus for €30m, with the Bianconeri paying that sum in instalments, and he completed his medical while he was representing the Czech Republic at the European Under-21 Championship in Poland.

Colombian striker Luis Muriel has been linked with Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid, Valencia, and Sevilla, EPL side Everton, and Lazio.

Los Che were willing to pay his buy-out clause of €28m that rumour has died down and now the Rojiblancos are preparing an offer worth €18-20m plus €3-4m in bonuses. Samp though want €22m plus bonuses from the Andalusian club.

With Schick gone and Muriel likely to depart, Sampdoria has found a replacement in Gianluca Caprari. He scored nine goals in 35 Serie A matches on loan at Pescara last season and he has been acquired from Inter for €15m.

A couple of other Italian forwards have been linked with Sampdoria as well. Sassuolo centre-forward Diego Falcinelli could bolster the attack as well as Empoli winger Manuel Pucciarelli.

Falcinelli had a great season on loan at Crotone, scoring 13 goals in 35 league games for the Calabrian side, but Pucciarelli struggled for the Tuscans.

The latter is a player that Giampaolo knows from his time with the Azzurri so he would be more familiar with his coaching and the 26-year-old should be cheaper to purchase now that Empoli is in Serie B.

Loyalty Ended When Totti was Forced to Quit Roma

After AC Milan announced on Thursday that prodigious goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was not going to sign a new contract, it made football fans question if loyalty still is existed in world football.

As far as I am concerned, loyalty ended when Roma legend Francesco Totti played his final match for the Giallorossi in the last round of the 2016/17 Serie A season.

When the 40-year-old appeared as a second-half substitute in the Lupi‘s 3-2 victory on May 28, it was the closing of a chapter in the history of Italian and world football. Totti made his senior debut for Roma in 1993 and gave great dedication to his hometown club.

He was showing great signs of decline in the second half of the 2014/15 season and he was perhaps fortunate to play this season after some excellent performances as a super-sub nearly the end of the 2015/16 campaign.

Admittedly I believed that it was time for the Roma forward to accept that he was a shadow of the player he was in the 1990s and 2000s and he should have acknowledged that his ageing body could not handle playing in Serie A on a weekly basis.

Despite that, the Giallorossi hierarchy and Coach Luciano Spalletti should have handled the situation better. They should have given him greater clarity before the 2016/17 season about how long his playing contract would be and how much playing time he would be allocated.

When the final whistle blew after the match against Genoa, it marked the end for one of Roma’s heroes. Totti was a sublime talent and a Roman. The die-hard fans of the club identified with him because he wasn’t an outsider and instead he was a man who was immersed in the club.

It is easy to say that he earned plenty of money to remain at his hometown club – he reportedly earned as much €8.9 million a season – but his loyalty to the supporters and love for his city should not be questioned. It is doubtful that he would have felt more comfortable outside of Rome or have that admiration from fans at another club.

Donnarumma could have been in similar situation to Totti at Roma or like other recent  bandiere in Serie A like Javier Zanetti at Inter, Paolo Maldini at AC Milan, or Alessandro Del Piero at Juventus. With the new Chinese investors at the Rossoneri, they would have enough capital to keep him at club but he is demanding more than what they are offering.

It seems that remaining faithful to a club is a thing of the past. Players like Luigi Riva and Giancarlo Antognoni staying loyal to Cagliari and Fiorentina respectively are not footballers or human beings that you should expect to see in this day and age. There is a greater focus on money and agents have greater power and influence than they did in the past.

Even if you look at non-Italian examples, Steven Gerrard remained loyal to Liverpool for many years and so did Pele at Santos, Uwe Seeler at Hamburg, Raul at Real Madrid, Xavi at Barcelona, and several other greats. Even if they played at other clubs, they are still remembered for playing at one particular club.

It is understandable that players want to be paid what they are worth and if a person is going to be loyal to a club or a group of people, that loyalty needs to be rewarded and not abused. By the same token, footballers should be grateful to those who granted them a chance in the first place.

Donnarumma’s decision to not sign a contract extension has become symptomatic of world football today and there will be countless others like him. Even staying at a club with history of AC Milan is not enough to persuade him to stay.

Loyalty means close to nothing to modern footballers. The epitome of a loyal player seems to have disappeared once Totti had to leave the Stadio Olimpico.

 

Five Things to Learn from Italy 5-0 Liechtenstein

Italy maintained its fight for top spot in Group G by defeating Liechtenstein 5-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday evening at the Stadio Friuli in Udine and the Azzurri are only behind Spain on goal difference.

After a sluggish opening 30 minutes, the Italians were more fluid in possession and created numerous chances against the Liechtensteiners. Although Giampiero Ventura’s side faced one of Europe’s minnows, it was great to see his players take control of a game.

Even in a match like this, there were still a number of things to take from this encounter, particularly the individual performances of some players.

Insigne is Important for the Azzurri

A great creator and scorer for Napoli at club level, Lorenzo Insigne showed that he can be an important contributor for the Italian national team.

The 26 year-old left-winger opened the scoring with a sensational side-volley, he assisted in the second goal which was finished-off by Andrea Belotti and he also played a part in the fifth goal scored by Manolo Gabbiadini.

Wearing the #10 jersey for Italy can either be a burden or an honour and Insigne demonstrated that he can provide the spark to unlock defences.

Spinazzola is a Future Left-Back for Italy

Giampiero Ventura can count on a number of options at left-back and Leonardo Spinazzola was outstanding in his third senior cap for the Azzurri, running tirelessly down the left flank.

Due to the lack of quality Liechtenstein possessed, the Atalanta full-back acted as an auxiliary left-winger for nearly the entire match, and he assisted in the goals scored by Insigne and Gabbiadini.

With Mattia De Sciglio lacking fitness and consistency and Matteo Darmian struggling for regular playing time at Manchester United, Spinazzola has the opportunity to cement his spot in the Italian team on a regular basis.

Emerson is not Required

Italy has historically had an unhealthy obsession with selecting oriundi for the national team, especially from South America. Emerson Palmieri, or Emerson for short, starred for Roma in the 2016/17 Serie A campaign and the Brazilian-born defender made himself available for the Azzurri.

Ventura has not granted the Giallorossi full-back his international debut because of an injury and it has proven to be a mixed blessing. Spinazzola was a threat with his marauding runs from defence and the likes Antonio Barreca and Nicola Murru are yet to make their senior debuts.

When Italian clubs are producing home-grown starlets, there is no need for players who will probably team the Azzurri as a consolation prize or last resort.

Candreva Could Eventually Lose His Spot

Although he had a goal incorrectly disallowed, there were not many things to be impressed with when assessing Antonio Candreva’s performance.

The 30-year-old has been a solid contributor for Italy in 47 internationals but his speed and energy were the only attributes to be impressed with against Liechtenstein. A majority of his passes and crosses were inaccurate and the Lichtensteiner defence dealt with them comfortably.

He was replaced by Federico Bernardeschi after 60 minutes and the Fiorentina forward was far more dangerous than Candreva, scoring the fourth goal of the match. Bernardeschi is a more modern winger who can cut-in and might turn out to be more productive than the Inter winger in the long-term.

Italy Can Put Teams to the Sword

Generally Italy is a team that does enough to win matches without exerting too much energy, even against the minnows of world football.

On May 31 an Azzurri squad with youngsters and debutants thrashed San Marino 8-0 and an almost full-strength Italian team netted five times on Sunday so it proves that they can score an abundance of goals when the desire is there.

With Spain leading Group G with a goal difference of 18, Italy needed to score with a florish and beating La Furia Roja in Madrid in September looks unlikely so winning convincingly against weak opponents is essential

Three Sampdoria Weekly Stories April 7

The “Three Sampdoria Weekly Stories” posts will be about news stories concerning Sampdoria on and off the field.

This blog post will talk about the Doriani’s latest Serie A victory against Inter, the removal of Massimo Ferrero as club president, and the on-going rumours regarding star attackers Luis Muriel and Patrik Schick.

Il Doria Register Shock Victory at San Siro

Sampdoria defeated Inter 2-1 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Monday night CET and the Doriani demonstrated their ability to compete against the bigger teams under Marco Giampaolo.

The Nerazzurri dominated possession and opened the scoring thanks to Danilo D’Ambrosio after 35 minutes but Fabio Quagliarella and Bruno Fernandes both hit the posts.

In the second half, Samp drew level thanks to a controversial equaliser from Schick. The Czech starlet touched the ball with his studs after Matias Silvestre directed a powerful and looping header towards goal.

There were no doubts about the winner as Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic blatantly committed a handball in the penalty area and Quagliarella smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

In the past, Sampdoria would usually struggle to get any points in these type of games, but under the coaching of Giampaolo, Il Doria have shown that they are capable of completing comebacks and matching it with the best.

Ferrero Forced to Step-Down as Blucerchiati President

On Wednesday a ruling from the FIGC stated that Massimo Ferrero has to vacate his role as Sampdoria president after his involvement in the bankruptcy of Livingston Airlines.

In February 2016 Ferrero was sentenced to a year and 10 months by a tribunal in Busto Arsizio near Varese in northern Italy for fraudulent bankruptcy but he has not served any jail time.

Due to new regulations made by the FIGC after Parma went bankrupt in 2015, anyone involved in a company going into insolvency cannot become the president of an Italian football club. The 65-year-old Samp president cannot hold that role anymore but he can stay as the owner.

For Sampdoria fans, this decision was on the cards and should not come as a surprise. Media reports would regularly question the fiscal strength of Ferrero, and although he is admired for his charisma, he is not the type of man the Blucerchiati should have as a club patron.

He has maintained Sampdoria’s reputation for being a selling club and any club debts present have been wiped-out through the sales of players. ‘Er Viperetta’ as he is known has also been unstable with transfer market decisions, and in his first two seasons, he sold key players in the middle of the campaign which destabilised the squad in the process.

Reports suggest that family members will take on key roles at the club but he is better off selling the club.

Sampdoria Strikers Still Linked with Inter

Luis Muriel and Patrik Schick have been linked with a move to Inter in the European summer as the Nerazzurri should be free of Financial Fair Play regulations.

One report suggests that both strikers could depart for €50 million but Schick could remain in Genoa on loan.

If both forwards leave at the end of the 2016/17 season, it would once again illustrate that Samp are a selling club and that they are not willing to build-up a team.

As talented as Muriel is, he can be inconsistent and he does not work as hard as Eder, who has a much-better work ethic but he has struggled to adapt at Inter. Do the Biscione need another striker to warm the bench or be no more than an impact player?

Keeping Schick at Sampdoria would be great but if he is sold to the Milan giants before the 2017/18 season and he ends up blossoming, it would be an economic failure of sorts for the Blucerchiati.

If the Czech prodigy scored an abundance of goals in 2017/18, his market value would rise and €25 million would seem like a bargain for Inter.

Il Doria needs to retain as many players as possible and if players have to be sold, they must be sold for a huge profit.

Sampdoria Defeat to Napoli was Gut-Wrenching

Sampdoria feels hardly done by after losing to Napoli on Saturday night CET and you cannot blame them one single bit.

The Blucerchiati were defeated 2-1 at the death against the Partenopei in their first Serie A match in 2017 but the defining moment of their encounter was Matias Silvestre’s sending-off more than 15 minutes into the second half.

After being beaten Pepe Reina in an aerial challenge, Silvestre ran alongside him as he went to kick the ball away and then the Napoli goalkeeper fell down. Referee Marco Di Bello believed that the centre-back had fouled the Spaniard and the Samp defender was sent-off after receiving his second yellow card for the game.

It was a moment that changed the match entirely and it handed the Neapolitans the momentum but Il Doria were the better team before that. They were compact in their shape and they were stifling Napoli’s often fluid possession game.

One of Sampdoria’s problems was it was not able to create enough chances to kill the game off.

Patrik Schick’s solo run forced Elseid Hysaj into scoring an own goal and the 20-year-old could have made it 2-0 but the Albanian defender blocked his shot. Although the Czech starlet played a starring role in attack, Fabio Quagliarella barely made an impact and he was replaced by Luis Muriel.

It was Muriel that created the opportunity for Schick to potentially double the Doriani’s lead and the Colombian international nearly scored after dribbling three defenders but Reina parried the ball away.

Throughout the game Sampdoria had often been able to deal with the Napoli’s attacks. Interventions, interceptions, clearances, and tackles were made by the defenders and they were getting support from the midfielders too. Lucas Torreira was one midfielder that barely had any trouble performing his defensive duties.

Unfortunately the pressure the Partenopei applied as the match progressed became too much for the Blucerchiati. Former Samp striker Manolo Gabbiadini equalised for the Neapolitans but Vasco Regini could have marked the forward better or read the cross from Jose Callejon properly.

Christian Puggioni made some magnificent blocks the last 10 minutes of the match and the Doria goalkeeper was doing his best to make sure that the Blucerchiati would leave Naples with at least point.

In stoppage time Lorenzo Tonelli scored the winner for Napoli but the Samp defence could have done much better leading up to the goal. Perhaps fatigue had set in but Dries Mertens and Ivan Strinic should have been pressured more on the Partenopei left-wing and when Tonelli made the dash into the penalty area, Karol Linetty failed to track his run.

Little moments decided the match and Sampdoria went back to Genoa without any points and they deserved at least one. The outcome was that disappointing, only Blucerchiati president Massimo Ferrero spoke to the press after the match, voicing his disgust at Di Bello.

Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo will still need time for his philosophy to develop but the Doriani’s performance against Napoli was one that fans can be impressed with, if not the result.

If the Blucerchiati can remain calm in certain moments, be more clinical in their finishing, and have some luck go their way, the Genoese club will collect more points.

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