New Lecce Club President Pierandrea Semeraro has used Sunday’s high-profile friendly against Spanish giants Valencia at the Via del Mare as an opportunity to fire up the passion inside the fans. With the match being used as the squad’s official presentation before the real business begins in just over a week’s time, Semeraro wants the tifosi to display their backing for Luigi De Canio’s men. In a statement on the Club’s official website, the President announced: “This is a chance for our fans to come to the stadium and wear their colours with pride. We need our supporters to show the team that they have their full backing as we start on this very important road.”
Semeraro also took the opportunity to thank all the staff behind the scenes and the club sponsors for their loyalty and support since he took charge just over two months ago. The Club has really set up a charm offensive with its supporters by slashing ticket prices for Sunday’s game, with some seats available for under five pounds.
Pre-season has been very positive for the club, with captain Guillermo Giacomazzi explaining that the team are “ready for the opening match at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza against Milan on Sunday week.” He also singled out one of the new summer recruits for special praise: “Carlos Grossmüller is a special player who has impressed everyone at the club since his arrival. The only problem at the moment for him is the language but this is improving. His ability on the field of play is excellent.”
Grossmüller, signed from Bundesliga runners-up Schalke during the break, has largely struggled in Europe since leaving Uruguayan side Danubio in 2004. However, the 27-year-old midfielder’s move to southern Italy seems to have potentially revitalised his career. After an outstanding pre-season, he is ready to take Serie A by storm and could be one of the bargains of the summer.
Elsewhere in the transfer market, however, things have stalled a little for De Canio. His attempts to re-sign two of the key forward players from last season has proved frustrating, with both Guido Marilungo and David Di Michele still locked in negotiations with the clubs who hold their registrations.
Marilungo is one of Italy’s most exciting young striking talents and the Club were eager to tie up his services for another season after his tally of 13 goals in 35 games during the previous campaign. His employers at Sampdoria, however, are reluctant to release the 21-year-old back to the Salentini. Nevertheless, negotiations will continue right up to transfer deadline day at the end of this month and De Canio is still hopeful a deal can be struck.
At the other end of the age scale, Di Michele would welcome a move back to the Via del Mare to add to the 18 appearances he collected in the second half of last season. The 34-year-old journeyman striker is currently under contract at Torino but an agreement looks possible within the next week or so.
Meanwhile, a new name on De Canio’s radar is Genoa’s want-away midfielder Anthony Vanden Borre. The two clubs are looking to have preliminary talks on bringing the striker to the Salentine Peninsula for the upcoming campaign.
One definite piece of news revealed to the Club earlier this week is their opponents in the third round of the Coppa Italia. Ironically it will be Siena, one of the teams the Giallorossi replaced in the top flight, who will provide the opposition after knocking out Serie C outfit Ternana in round two. The game will take place in the week beginning October 27 at the Via del Mare.
Last week also saw the release of the squad numbers for the new campaign. Skipper Giacomazzi will wear the No 18 jersey, while man-of-the-moment Grossmüller will pick up No 21. Last season’s top marksman and darling of the Tifosi Daniele Corvia will naturally take the No 9 shirt, while another of the summer recruits, Roma’s on-loan defender Simone Sini, will wear No 5.
So finally, after three months of anticipation, the new season is just over a week away. On a sultry summer’s evening in front of their passionate supporters next Sunday, it is time for De Canio’s troops to demonstrate that they have the fight to remain in Italy’s elite division.