So after the anti-climax of mid-table last season, can we build on what turned out to be a fairly promising first season in charge of Salernitana? It’ll be much harder with the influx of relegated Serie A sides and the likes of Spezia, Bari and Ascoli all strengthening in the summer…
So, where do we go from here?
Finishing mid-table was fine but it’s kind of left me in a difficult position. We don’t have the resources to make a serious push for promotion so having some transfer nous is imperative but we don’t have the reputation or resources to challenge those further up the pecking order. Add in the strengthening of the play-off contenders and the relegated teams and it becomes difficult to see where we can go moving forward.
But, we can’t be too down about the future. After all, we were in a much worse situation with Osasuna and I just about pulled that one off so a bit of belief could take us a very long way. So, let’s get down to it and see what’s happened since you were last with us…
Team of the Year
Amazingly, after I finished up the last part, this popped up in my inbox. Alberto Barison made into the Serie B Team of the Year. A truly inspired signing in the end.
The end of contracts swung round, clearing out so much deadwood and wage budget that it gave our apparently struggling finances some room to breathe. The only real notable name amongst the releases was that of Alessandro Rosina, our highest earner and star man, who no longer fit the system and very much was the backup of all backups.
I then set about clearing out some of the poorer performers from last season. Alfredo Donnarumma scored only five league goals last season and was far too wasteful to keep so I sold him to relegated Pescara for nearly £750,000. Backup right back Gabriele Perico couldn’t be sold but fortunately Venezia wanted him on loan for the season so it’s better than nothing. Youngsters Valerio Mantovani, Riccardo Franchini and Adrian Cerda were the notable loanees to leave the club.
That just leaves one person to mention – Giuseppe Troiano. Hoffenheim made a rather shoddy bid halfway through the summer which was promptly rejected. Cue familiar FM narrative – player gets pissy so I indulged Hoffenheim and they accepted my negotiation straight off. £2.5 million is a fee that is also easily achievable and we have a hefty, hefty sell-on clause too and we got him back for the season too.
The vast majority of money spent this summer was actually already pre-arranged at the start of the save. Busellato and Terracciano made their loans permanent for a combined £1.1 million which ties down our number one goalkeeper and a fairly good midfielder. So, with them out of the way, let’s meet the new boys.
Vinicius – Left Back (Lazio, Free)
I actually tied this deal up in January for the Brazilian. A more well-rounded version of Antonio Zito and just a step up in quality anyway. Plenty of room to grow and fresh off a loan stint with Flamengo in his homeland so he has top-level experience which will be supremely handy.
Mattias Andersson – Centre Back (Unattached, Free)
The young Swede only got a year at Juve before getting the heave-ho this summer and my scouts recommended him to me. With plenty of raw talent, he’ll serve a mainly backup role this season but the opportunity is there if he can take it.
Stefano Pettinari – Striker (Unattached, Free)
The real frustration in the early part of the summer was finding an affordable striker that was better than the sold Donnarumma. Negotiations came and went before I finally settled on Pettinari. He’s not brilliant but he has all the attributes I like in my poachers and he reminds a little of Mohamed Yattara – rarefied air in this corner of the Internet.
Nicola Dalmonte – Striker (Lazio, Loan)
As well as renewing the loan deal for Joseph Minala to add strength in midfield, I brought in young Italian Dalmonte to add depth up front and give us something different. Frustratingly, I realised that he’d only joined our affiliate Lazio in the summer on the cheap from relegated Cesena. The what ifs on this one…
Michael Kouame – Striker (Prato, £170,000)
At this point I started to go striker crazy – partly out of stupidity but mostly out of another system change. Kouame ticked all the boxes for my kind of striker – young, cheap and with all the right stats – but Prato wanted him for another year so he’s getting experience there before joining up with us.
Levan Mchedlidze – Striker (Unattached, Free)
Ignore the goal stats in the bottom left, there’s a reason I bought the Georgian with unspellable name who hasn’t scored since the Cold War. A more creative, all-round player, he’ll act as an almost playmaker type striker for us. In theory…
King Udoh – Striker (Unattached, Free)
A total punt. That’s all I’ve got to say on King Udoh. He’s every cliche you can give a young player who’s quick and not much else. Frankly, he’s incredibly raw and if it comes off he’ll be lethal.
We’re through in the Italian Cup but in truth, it was incredibly dull. Extra time twice did not bode well moving forward so this is when I changed tactically and it immediately brought about defeat at Ascoli where in truth we deserved it. The home win over Perugia was a good one though and it leaves us right where we seem to always end up in these – mid-table.
And that tactical change? It may look familiar if you read the Osasuna Adventure…
And that’s it. We’ll reconvene at the end of January to see how things have gone. Let me know who you think will star amongst our new men and who will flop? Will we push on or are we destined for mid-table doom forever more?