The overwhelming theme in recent seasons is promoted clubs surviving at the first attempt. Since 2005-06 – the first season after the introduction of a 20-team Serie A – 16 sides have avoided relegation. Only five returned instantly. The second season is another matter as Bari and Cesena have recently discovered, but the initial aim for Pescara, Torino and Sampdoria is to ensure safety.
The port-city club recognised this and after Giuseppe Iachini guided them through the playoffs he was sacked. Vice President Edoardo Garrone understands the importance of this campaign. “The damage of relegation…was so great that we can’t go down again. It’s not a promise, but a necessity. Serie A will be very competitive from the bottom to mid-table – our aim is a tranquil salvation.” Considering Iachini in recent campaigns took Chievo and Brescia up but did not last the following Christmas speaks volumes. Samp know they cannot get it wrong.
The transfer market will be pivotal in ensuring the trio see Serie A 2013-14. Champions Pescara have lost a host of players crucial to their breathtaking promotion squad. Rising star Marco Verratti joined Paris St-Germain for €12m. However, President Daniele Sebastiani believes the Stadio Adriatico side already have a replacement in Juan Quintero. “He can play in that role and therefore he should be his replacement.”
Ciro Immobile left for co-owners Genoa, while livewire Lorenzo Insigne returns to parent club Napoli. Veteran Marco Sansovini also went, but winger Vladimir Weiss joins from Manchester City. Experienced campaigners Giuseppe Colucci and Elvis Abbruscato are other new arrivals, while Gianluca Caprari remains on loan from Roma, just one of the deals struck between the clubs.
Coach Zdenek Zeman has departed the coast for the capital. The Czech was instrumental in ending their 20-year wait for promotion and in his place steps Giovanni Stroppa. He played under Zeman at Foggia and jumps from Lega Pro, where he coached Südtirol-Alto Adige. It is a risk the board are hoping pays off.
Torino were pipped at the post to the championship and will start this term with a one-point deduction stemming from the betting scandal. Nonetheless, they retain at the helm vastly experienced tactician Giampiero Ventura, plus Angelo Ogbonna. Toro have added Serie A experience to their squad, including Jean-Francois Gillet, Matteo Brighi and winger Mario Santana. “The Argentine was the first player we were asked to sign by Ventura,” Toro President Urbano Cairo claimed. “He is an individual who can play out wide and therefore will be of use to us.”
Ginaluca Sansone netted 20 goals for Sassuolo last season and replaces Mirko Antenucci, purchased at blind auction by Catania. The seven-time Italian champions are looking to add steel in midfield by signing Angelo Palombo and Michele Pazienza and are close to securing Cesena defender Guillermo Rodriguez. Unlike during their last Serie A stint in which they twice flirted with relegation before striking out at the third time of asking, Torino looks to be building a solid unit.
New Sampdoria boss Ciro Ferrara is back in Serie A, rejuvenated by his Italy U-21 spell. There he cultivated a 4-3-3 formation which he brings to the club. The Blucerchiati have signed Maxi Lopez to lead their attack. After doubts surrounding Nicola Pozzi and Eder – both adept in Serie B but neither proven in the top flight – hopes will be pinned on Lopez to deliver. Fullback Lorenzo De Silvestri is eager to kick-start his career after a disappointing spell at Fiorentina.
Daniele Gastaldello offers experience in defence but Palombo and Andrea Poli look to have no future at the club. The midfielders – who spent time at Inter last season – were unwanted by the Nerazzurri and seemingly by the Blucerchiati too. Ferrara may also have Ezequiel Schelotto and Juve youngster Ouasim Bouy at his disposal by the end of the window.
With season kick-off approaching, should Garrone’s prediction of a close lower half of the table ring true, the trio will be looking to secure their final transfer targets and get off to the best possible start. This will help ensure they do not join the minority who failed to secure their Serie A status at the first time of asking.