“I’ll end my career with Sampdoria. I'm proud to have received some important offers and I thank the clubs who have come forward. However, I haven't thought about leaving here, not even for a moment. I think I have already demonstrated how tied I am to this shirt.”
Those were the words of Angelo Palombo just over a year ago as he and Sampdoria prepared for life in Serie B. The captain did remain with the Blucerchiati in the cadetti, however that adventure only lasted until a January switch to Inter. There, Palombo reunited with Andrea Poli, another who intended to stay in Serie B. Now back at Samp, the pair do not figure in the plans for 2012-13.
Ciro Ferrara’s 28-man squad for the summer retreat did not include either player. In his opening days at Doria, the former Juventus and Italy Under-21 tactician has utilised a 4-3-3 system – cultivated during his time with the Azzurrini – and surely Palombo and Poli, one an experienced leader, the other a technically-gifted midfielder, should be first team regulars as the club look to solidify their place in Serie A.
How much input Ferrara has regarding their future is unclear - contract negotiations with Inter concerning Poli took place before and after Ferrara’s arrival - and he appears resigned to the fact Poli is heading for the exit. “Poli has to make a decision on his future. He wants to compete for bigger objectives and we will try to make him happy.” In the case of Palombo, sporting director Pasquale Sensibile has been in discussions with other clubs.
So why the desire to sell their two greatest assets, especially when taking into account their past level of experience is something sorely lacking in the current squad? Sensibile has not offered a clear explanation for the Palombo standpoint, but a picture emerges that the club believes a clean break is best for both parties. “The future of Palombo? He is coming back from loan at Inter, but for the sake of everyone involved we must think about other solutions.”
The captain joined Inter on winter deadline day, even after again expressing his desire to remain at Marassi. “The Garrone family is very tied to Palombo, but he must make a choice for his future and it is perhaps the right time for us to separate,” said Vice-President Edoardo Garrone that month.
Unwanted by Andrea Stramaccioni’s outfit and the port city club, Juventus may be his next destination following talks held last week. There he would provide depth as the Bianconeri fight on three fronts this season. Links have also surfaced with Torino, Palermo and Cagliari, where the former Italian international would fight for a starting role. One thing is for certain, the player still has a lot to offer and would not command a high transfer fee.
Just as puzzling is the willingness to sell Poli. The rising star was close to staying with Inter, but negotiations halted and so the player returned, only to hover on the outer limits. Although featuring in just 18 League matches in 2011-12, Poli showed enough to be considered worthy of a permanent move, especially considering his age - 22 - and the price involved.
A bid of €6.5m from Napoli was recently considered, a low price in the current market. In addition, Juve have shown interest and in recent days become favourites for his signature. Yet the move at first glance looks a ploy to assist securing Stevan Jovetic, as Poli would immediately leave for Fiorentina in a co-ownership deal. Nonetheless, a season of regular football under Ferrara would aid the player’s development and could open the door to a higher transfer fee, helping the club.
Beside the additions of Maxi Lopez and Lorenzo De Silvestri, it has so far been a lean transfer window for the 1991 Scudetto winners. Garrone has already declared their aim is to safely avoid relegation, calling survival a necessity. However, could their stance towards Palombo and Poli harm those plans?