Thursday August 1 2013
‘Benitez wanted Sampdoria, but…’

Ex-Sampdoria sporting director Pasquale Sensibile has reflected on his attempts to net Rafael Benitez last summer.

The Spaniard, formerly of Inter, is now back in Serie A after he was signed by Napoli in July, but he did consider a switch to the city of Genoa a year ago.

“There was a meeting with him in London,” Sensibile told Sky Sport Italia. “It was an incredible experience for me on a personal level. The Spaniard is a great professional.

“We had just won promotion from Serie B with Beppe Iachini in charge, but we wanted to give an international edge to Sampdoria.

“We thought of Benitez because he had a great desire to return to Italy to prove himself. He thought about it for a week.

“We remained in continuous contact, but he wanted Sampdoria to be a competitive force immediately and we couldn’t guarantee that.

“We were not in a position to make the transfer market moves that he was looking for. Benitez was interested, but he asked for very important investment.”

Doria eventually hired Ciro Ferrara when he was tempted to leave the Italian Under-21 set-up, but he was dismissed in December.

Samp, with Delio Rossi in charge, eventually finished the season in 14th place, 10 points above the drop zone, as they defied some of the Serie A betting odds which believed they would continue to struggle in the top flight.