Life in Palermo after Pastore – Can the Sicilian club be as successful as last term?

Things change, people change, hairstyles change, interest rates fluctuate and football clubs survive after they lose of their star players.
Such is the fickle and transient nature of football, as Fabrizio Miccoli’s superb free-kick hit the net against Inter on the opening day of the season, Palermo fans could have been forgiven for asking “Javier who?”.
A scintillating 4-3 victory which brought the club their first triumph over I Nerazzuri since 2005, as well as sweet revenge for the Coppa Italia final defeat last season, was the perfect start for new coach Devis Mangia.
Not only was there Miccoli’s fantastic free kick, but Mauricio Pinilla also produced a 30-yard screamer. With that pair as well as Abel Hernández, Josip Iličić and Edgar Álverez, Mangia has plenty of attacking options to call on in the absence of Pastore and that’s without even mentioning young Israeli Eran Zahavi
Of course the departure of the Argentinian in a €43m move to Paris Saint-Germain (although, astonishingly due to a clause in his contract the Rosanero only earned €22.8m from the deal) was a big blow to the team however, as so many other clubs have shown over the years, it’s a blow Palermo will recover from and pretty quickly by the look of things.
Indeed, the sale was par for the course for a club which, since the arrival of irascible president Maurizio Zamparini, has worked on a business model based of melding together seasoned professionals and young unknowns before selling the youngsters on at a healthy profit.
Over the past few years the likes of Amauri, Andrea Barzagli, Cristian Zaccardo, Leandro Rinaudo and Edinson Cavani have all been moved on by Zamprini to help balance the books, a policy which has seen the club dubbed ‘a factory of stars’ by La Repubblica.
So, it’s: “Ciao Javier and thanks for the millions” because the loss of that one player isn’t the real problem for the club. No, the real issue is the instability created by Zamparini himself.
He’s ploughed a considerable amount of money into the club – some estimates placing the figure at about €100m – and to an extent that gives him the right to speak his mind. However, firing coaches as the mood takes him and without a long-term plan doesn’t help.
Two seasons ago Delio Rossi, along with sporting director Walter Sabatini, masterminded Palermo’s fifth-place finish. However, Rossi was sacked the following season, with Zamprini saying: “He has ruined my Palermo. Rossi has destroyed this team.” Really, Maurizio? That sounds like harsh criticism for a man who oversaw the club’s highest ever league finish.
And wouldn’t you know it, four games later Rossi was back (at the expense of Serse Cosmi) with Zamprini stating: “Rossi’s the only one that can save us from this predicament.” Make up your mind, Maurzio. Clearly that’s too much to ask; he’s been up to the same trick this season with Stefano Pioli getting the bullet before the Serie A season even kicked off.
Palermo will cope just fine in the wake of Pastore’s departure. The real issue is whether the problems caused by Zamprini’s combustible personality and his hire-’em-fire-’em approach to employing managers will out-weigh the benefits created by his undeniably prudent running of the club’s finances.

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