Genoa – From trial and error to tried and tested

Upon Genoa’s return to the Serie A in 2007, club president Enrico Preziosi embarked on a mission to turn the northern Italian side into one capable of challenging for the Scudetto and competing in Europe. Despite a brief spell in the UEFA Cup, the entrepreneur has so far been unsuccessful in achieving this ambition. Last season was especially a massive disappointment for him as despite several big name signings, the team failed to gel and Il Grifone finished 10th in the league.
Following such a disastrous season, Preziosi decided that more depth and youth was required and so he began scouting other parts of Europe and South America as well as Italy in order to find the young stars to strengthen the squad. With money coming in from the sale of Stephan El Shaarawy to Milan (€10m), Criscito to Zenit St. Petersburg (€11m) and Rafinha to Bayern Munich (€7m), Genoa have been able to afford some high quality signings.
The current transfer window has seen the arrival of Alexander Merkel (€5m), a talented young playmaker, and the return of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, both from Milan. Andreas Granqvist has joined from Eredivisie side Groningen (€2.2m), Valter Birsa (free) was a key player for Auxerre in his two years with the Ligue 1 club and Sebastian Ribas (free) from Dijon and formerly of Inter is a promising player. Ribas, Lucas Pratto and Ze Eduardo are three of five South Americans to have been recruited by Genoa.
The oldest of these 11 new signings is Swedish defender Granqvist who is 26-years-old. Preziosi’s injection of youth into Genoa shows that he is building a side for the future, he has laid the foundation for a side which has the potential of becoming a very dominant, attractive and attacking side for years to come. Preziosi has employed the services of Alberto Malesani – his third Coach in 12 months – to get this young side working together to bring him the success he desires.
Genoa’s main problem last season was scoring. The Rossoblu scored fewer goals than any other team in the top 10 with just 45 strikes – 20 less than champions Milan and only 18 more than bottom placed Bari. Although the Genovese side have brought in several attack-minded players, they are still missing a clinical striker. An out-and-out goal scorer could make the difference between progress and decline for a team like Genoa. Udinese and Napoli have shown how important it is to have a finisher spearheading the attack as Antonio di Natale and Edinson Cavani, respectively, lead the goal scoring charts last season and were central to both side’s prosperous seasons.
Milan, Inter, Juventus and Roma all have at least one consistent clinical goal scorer in their ranks and Genoa need one too if they are to break into the top four of the Serie A and challenge the giants of Italian football.

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