A year ago, Andrea Poli was one of the hottest properties in Italy. A talented, graceful midfielder capped by the Azzurri at Under-21 level and tipped by many to push on and perhaps even break into the full squad this campaign. Poli instead endured a torrid season. After an injury plagued first few months of the season, he struggled in vain to break into the first team under Domenico Di Carlo and then Alberto Cavasin even as Sampdoria slipped slowly but surely towards relegation and finished the season with only 13 starts to his name.
Post relegation, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding the future of one Sampdoria midfielder, Angelo Palombo, but very little regarding that of Poli. In fact, Cagliari’s failed bid earlier this week was the first interest any other clubs have shown in the player. Last summer, this lack of interest would have been unthinkable and any number of top sides around Europe would have been vying for Poli’s services. Even as recently as January the young man was being linked with a move away from the Marassi with Milan listed among his possible destinations.
However a great deal can, and has, changed in the space of a season. With each week that passes, Poli looks more likely to follow the example set by his Captain, Palombo, and stay with the Blucerchiati and fight it out in Serie B. A stint in the second tier would not necessarily be detrimental to Poli’s development, however, as it would offer the youngster a season away from the limelight in which to play his way back into form. While there will obviously still be some pressure, Samp will be keen to climb back into Serie A at the first attempt, the time away from the brightest spotlight would certainly benefit Poli. Realistically, he would simply be emulating a number of the current Italy Under-21 squad by spending a season in Serie B, only he would be doing so without having to go out on loan.
Naturally his chances of representing the Azzurri would all but vanish for at least a season, but the chance to restore some pride to a fallen Sampdoria side as well as to further live up to his huge potential. It is clear that his talent has not vanished and he showed brief flashes of what he can do throughout the season.
Keeping hold of Poli would also benefit Sampdoria a great deal as he brings a set of skills that no other player at the club possesses. His creativity was sorely missed last campaign as the Blucerchiati struggled for goals and reuniting him with Angelo Palombo in central midfield can only benefit the side. Indeed, Poli remaining at the Marassi appears mutually beneficial and could be exactly what the doctor ordered for both club and player after they both endured such a torrid season.