Torino are in a very odd place. They’re stuck in a limbo between being the best of the mid-table Serie A teams and not quite being good enough to break into the top seven. However, that doesn’t mean Andrea Belotti wouldn’t be better off staying put.
In today’s age of obscene transfer fees, all it takes is for a player to thrive one season and he’s off the next summer. This is Il Gallo’s first real term as a bona fide top striker in Serie A, and he was slapped with a €100m release clause and rumoured bids of €70m.
It’s easy to see why 23-year-old already seemingly at the top of his game would want to move to London, Manchester or San Siro to seek a bigger pay packet. However, it would be in his and Torino’s best interests to stall any move.
First of all, he’s the main guy in Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side, as Torino’s whole game plan is based around how he likes to play. There’s no better place for him to develop, as he’s going to take the majority of shots (he takes 25 per cent of all of Torino’s efforts) and be the first pass in the penalty area.
Another season of the team being centred around him can’t be detrimental to his development. The Stadio Grande Torino also provides the perfect environment to grow without undue pressure or urgency.
This is a far cry from the pressure cooker of Milan this season, or what would have been at Manchester United or Chelsea. A couple of wrong steps, and potential fans could have been on Belotti’s back about his mistakes. Add on the media pressure, a hefty price-tag he didn’t even ask for, and his career path could become somewhat doubtful.
This is a World Cup year and Belotti has learned from his Italy teammate Ciro Immobile that leaving Toro after one great season is a risky tactic. The Granata have shown their ability to nurture talent and coax remarkable performances from strikers, so leaving before the apprenticeship is up would be unwise. One more year won’t hurt.
Last season was a bit of a rocky one for Toro, with a number of vital players leaving, such as Nikola Maksimovic, Kamil Glik and Bruno Peres. Mihajlovic did okay at first, but with a centre-back partnership of Emiliano Moretti and Luca Rossettini, it doesn’t feel like this team is going anywhere.
Breaking into the Europa League places seems unlikely for a team that conceded 66 goals last year and hasn’t really upgraded defensively this summer. Adem Ljajic and Iago Falque form a fantastic trio with Belotti up front, but the 48 goals between them don’t mean much when your defence give goals away like confetti.
Once again, this links back to how Torino benefit Belotti. Whilst the XI beyond the front three will harm Torino’s chances of European football, he benefits the most from playing in it.
He’s sure to move next summer, the fun part of the transfer market will be figuring out where, but right now Belotti would be wise to stay in Turin. In modern football, it’s tempting to take the short-cut, but he’s better off sticking to the more reliable route.