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Sunday September 9 2012
Regenerating Genoa

Genoa may be returning to their former free flowing attacking style of years gone by after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign. Dylan Fahy examines the changes at the Luigi Ferraris. 

Genoa will host current Italian champions Juventus next weekend with the fixture set to be dramatically different to that of last March. In a scoreless stalemate the Grifoni defended to their heart’s content against the Bianconeri in an effort to frustrate the Turin based giants, a move that ultimately proved successful but indicative of their 2011-12 campaign.

The Vecchio Balordo – Old Fool – was living up to its nickname and frustrating supporters, which eventually led to their 4-1 defeat to Siena being halted midway through proceedings in bizarre fashion when ultras demanded the players hand over their shirts. Their lack of initiative and creativity going forward saw them finish a mere one place above the relegation zone and concede 69 goals – more than any other side in Serie A last season.

The same day Genoa ultras demanded the players’ jerseys during the Siena defeat, Grifoni President Enrico Preziosi sacked Alberto Malesani and replaced him with current Coach Luigi De Canio. The journeyman tactician has since completely regenerated the club’s style and mentality, and ahead of the Juventus game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, do not be surprised if the Rossoblu can cause an upset.

De Canio is slowly attempting to instil an attacking approach similar to that of Gian Piero Gasperini during his spell with the club in Europe during the 2007-08 season. They still have a roster of over 60 players between the first team squad, co-ownership deals and loans, but the former Napoli boss has managed to group together a firm 23-man squad with an emphasis on team work and unity.

Altering the strikeforce and midfield unit was the first issue at hand. Argentine Rodrigo Palacio’s goals last term almost singlehandedly kept Genoa in Serie A, but the striker has since moved to Inter. Alberto Gilardino also moved on to Bologna on transfer deadline day, but the lethargic partnership has been replaced with one of youthful exuberance and veteran experience.

Genoa’s attack this season will be built around former Serie B top scorer and Under-21 international Ciro Immobile. The prolific Italian striker was bought in a co-ownership deal with Juventus during the summer. Former Grifoni one-season legend Marco Borriello has been brought back in to the club where he made his name to add crucial experience. After spells at Juventus, Roma and Milan in the past few years, the 30-year-old is expected to marshal the youngsters.

Perhaps the biggest coup of the entire transfer window was bringing back German playmaker Alexander Merkel from Milan. Preziosi was heavily criticised for loaning him out to the Rossoneri in January when Massimiliano Allegri was desperately suffering from injury woes. The 20-year-old has now been signed outright and is expected to be the central fulcrum in the Rossoblu’s midfield. 

The Kazakhstani-born creator will be protected by the dynamic Juraj Kucka and Felipe Seymour, while Bosko Jankovic also has licence to roam the middle of the park.  Exciting Peruvian winger Juan Manuel Vargas has transferred from Fiorentina, and could potentially rediscover the form that saw him linked to major European clubs two years ago.

Sebastien Frey’s experience in between the sticks and that fact Genoa have managed to hold on to Cesare Bovo and Andreas Granqvist means they will remain solid at the back. The loss of Giandomenico Mesto to Napoli is still a major blow, but not one they cannot make up for with concrete understanding and unity at the back.

Overall a attack minded midfield with a concrete defence that could push on from a disappointing last few years with a quirky De Canio at the helm. The Grifoni could be on their way back to where they belong, as they still sit fourth in the all-time Serie A title table. 

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Have your say...
Bianconerri will not take any match for granted even if a team who had hit rock bottom both in management and players. Conte has installed the old Juve characted back, the team will focus on Genoa's strengths more than their weaknesses and protect Buffon's sanctuary from any threat. Genoa can do it, but Juve is much stronger mentally, physically, and tactically. Cheers, Oh sorry.. FORZZAA JJUUUVVVEEEE
on the 9th September, 2012 at 9:59pm
Taking into account their demise over the past few campaigns, a top 10 finish is in my opinion the best they could hope for. Too many top quality players have left, only to be replaced by the unproven and mediocre. The club is still a bit of a revolving door and still an active feeder club to Milan. I wouldn't at all be surprised if vargas goes to Milan in january or in next summer. defensively they still look a bit light on good enough players. I expect a good season from immobile however.
on the 9th September, 2012 at 2:16pm
Maybe if they didn't change so many personel every 5 minutes they'd be doing better. They seem to have a bit of money behind them. It's a pity, because with some patience they could be a regular in the top 6.
on the 9th September, 2012 at 10:55am

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