Salernitana Story Season 3, Part 2 – Everything’s Coming Up Salernitana

It was all a bit mopey last time out and for good reason. The sickening end to Season 2 and the pretty grim start to the season had the future of the story in Salerno seem pretty bleak. So, how have we gotten to January with a more positive outlook on football and life?…

Isn’t winter meant to be the bleak months? Misery, cold, depressing and all the rest of it. Well, in Salerno, it appears that winter is the beautiful season of the year.

Sure, this season isn’t as fun as last year was. And sure, I’ve been angrier over more minor things than I was last season. But, considering how despondent I was back at the start of September, these are small imperfections in a bigger, brighter picture.

Shall we dive into what has happened? I think we should…

Serie B

The abridged version – we’ve sneaked into fourth place at the start of February.

The long version – it’s been a strange ride. We’ve been wasteful in front of goal with all of our front men losing all semblance of form this season. Our only saving grace has been a general tightening up at the back with some very notable performances that I’ll touch on later.

We’ve only lost four times so far this season which is a very good stat and looking at the results, we’ve been beaten by the stronger sides in the league on paper. Spezia have thrown money around at times, Atalanta have the biggest budget in the league by far and are walking the league while both Crotone and Trapani were recently relegated from Serie A. Our big negative has been the number of disappointing draws we’ve had. The likes of Livorno and Pro Vercelli are battling it out near the bottom of the table while Bari and Entella are ensconced in mid-table and we should really be looking to be beating them.

The big difference though has been our ability to dig out results in some of our tight games. The 1-0 win at Frosinone was decided by a quality defensive display and a goal from a set piece while the 2-1 win at the impressive Alessandria was dug out in spite of a real tough test.

All in all, it has left us sitting in fourth place in the table. We are primed for a run at the automatic promotion spots but there is a bit of a gap that’s formed between us and Brescia in second. Atalanta at the top are already eight points clear of us and look to be way stronger than the rest of the league.

Transfers

 We had a surprisingly quiet January transfer window in spite of some unrest in the dressing room. Moses Odjer had his head turned by our parent club Lazio back in October and, after a little toing and froing, I agreed to let him go for a reasonable amount. Rather surprisingly, Lazio never made a bid and lost interest fairly quickly while mooted bids from the likes of Bochum in Germany and Guingamp in France never came to fruition. It seems that the two new contracts I’ve given him with the large release clause are finally working their magic.

The biggest issue came from Pietro Terracciano who has had an incredible half season (which will be detailed later on) when I rejected a late bid from Udinese for his services. He promptly kicked up a fuss about it but, fortunately no bid came in for him before the window closed. I wasn’t too perturbed if Terracciano left though as I spent the money made from the Mattia Bani sale in the summer on a new young goalkeeper from Sweden. Gustav Olsson has played some first team games in his homeland and I’d been tracking him for a while so when I got the cash, I decided to pounce. Our number one for the future.

I also completed the signing of young midfielder Luigi Bevevino from Serie C side AlbinoLeffe. He’s got a bit of potential, some nice PPMs and was transfer listed for just £18,250.

Player Performance

Not pictured – Petter Markkanen – 2(1) apps, 6.70; Alessandro Tuia – 4 apps, 6.70; Jherson Vergara – 13(2) apps, 1 goal, 6.61; Michael Kouame – 0(8) apps, 6.58

Hits

Vinicius – 23 appearances, 2 goals, 1 assist, 7.32

What a signing he’s been! Clearly a Serie A calibre player and we could be set for a big fee if somebody wants to buy him. Scored two wonderful free kicks as well as being a constant source of brilliance out on the left wing.

Pietro Terracciano – 24 appearances, 12 clean sheets, 7.09

I’ve lost count of the number of times Pietro has saved us. I don’t know what has caused him to just click this season but I’m massively thankful for whatever it is. In my opinion the best goalkeeper in the league but his head has been turned by Udinese.

Misses

Nicola Dalmonte – 21 appearances, 4 goals, 5 assists, 6.79

One of our key men last year has hit a wall this year, at least so far anyway. For the majority of the season he’s been disappointing, almost as though he’s become a victim of his own hype and taking on the ambitious shots as opposed to taking the smart option. When he’s been great though, he’s been different class but it’s not been consistently enough.

Joao Silva – 19 appearances, 7 goals, 1 assist, 6.88

How can your top scorer be one of the more disappointing players of the season so far? Well, consider that four of Silva’s seven goals have been scored in the last two games before this update then you begin to see the problem at hand. On the one hand, he’s bang in form but, taking a step back, he’s been too poor and ineffective in far too many games this season.

Loan Watch

I’ve decided to add this little segment into the posts to keep you up to speed with the development and performances of players that are away out on loan from the club with potentially a specific focus on certain players that are of interest. Here’s how the loanees are looking at this stage of the season.

The most intriguing cases on that list for me are Valerio Mantovani – on loan at Fidelis Andria – and Mattias Andersson – on loan at Juve Stabia. Both are young centre backs that are technically brilliant for their young ages and have enough physical tools but are mentally not brilliant and were bit-part players in their one season with the first team. Both are playing regularly this season and are having fairly solid years at Serie C levels which (dependant on where we end up at the end of the season) may see them considered for a first team place. If not, a loan at a Serie B side may be on the cards for one, if not both, of the youngsters.

The other name that stands out to me is Riccardo Franchini at Grimsby Town. His average rating of 6.61 indicates an incredibly disappointing season for the young striker however I am willing to look past this and judge him on his production. He has scored just under once every three games for a Grimsby side that is currently sat within the playoff places and is their second top scorer this season having struck up a fairly decent partnership with fellow Italian Alessio Curcio. I’m looking for him to break past fifteen for the season and possibly push for twenty.

Youth Watch

Another new segment in these posts is Youth Watch because I’ve realised I now have a number of exciting young players within my ranks that I think anyone who reads these posts should be aware of.

The Under 20 side is struggling down in 18th this season with star men Petter Markkanen and Michael Kouame now squad players for the first team. Stand out men for them include wing back Marco Cesellato (one of my signings) and Fabio Monti (one of my summer signings) while Gaetano Rustichelli is the stand out from our own academy in this team. Unfortuantely for Rustichelli, he doesn’t fit the system fully so is currently in the process of learning a new position which has hampered his game time. The main issue for the Under 20s though is that some of the key men of that side are from the original youth team from when I took over. Many of their contracts lasted until now meaning that the side still contains players that are barely passable at Serie D level.

The Under 18s is where you will find the main story. After a disappointing bottom of the table finish last year, the youngsters are currently sat top of their league. Driven on by the midfield talents of Maurizio Capasso and Astrit Idrizi; helped by the scoring exploits of Giovanni Bisogno and Giuseppe Di Meo and solidified by the work of Marco Guglielmi and winger turning wing back Michele Vitale, the Under 18s are looking incredibly solid and positive moving forward.

And that wraps us up for another Salernitana Story. Are you enjoying the additions of Loan and Youth Watch? Do you think we can get promoted in the end? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter (@LongBallFoot).

Thanks!

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