Ahead of Sampdoria’s match at Inter, Marco Giampaolo publicly expressed an interest in managing the Milan club, confessing to being a fan. It was in jest, although current Coach Luciano Spalletti claimed he’d be “Inter’s first season ticket holder.”
It was a testament to not only the efficacy of Giampaolo’s football, but the watchability of it, and the subsequent 3-2 nail-biter the two sides played out gives credence to that.
Were it not for the barnstorming performances of Serie A’s top five, his exploits and achievements would likely have garnered far more interest and praise.
Even today as his side gear up for the Derby della Lanterna, he is unlikely to be the Liguria-based manager on everyone’s lips, as Rossoblu Coach Ivan Juric might have managed his last match for Genoa should they lose.
But should Giampaolo’s side maintain their current level of performance and pick up a couple scalps along the way, few will be able to ignore him.
Already an experienced head after nearly two decades in management, he has had spells with Cagliari (twice), Siena, Catania, Cesena and Empoli in the top flight.
Things have been far from smooth sailing during that time, with plenty of resignations, sackings and even a suspension for acting as manager without a license during his early days as an ‘assistant Coach.’
Over those years he has honed his brand of football and implemented it to great effect with his current side.
More than ever we are starting to see what a Giampaolo team is all about. This Doria outfit in particular are noted for their enthusiastic full-backs, energetic, hard-working midfield, and in Fabio Quagliarella a wily veteran striker who can capitalise on the great work done behind him.
For many Coaches, one of the victims of success is the courtship of their best players. While last season’s 10th place was nothing to shout from the rooftops about, it did highlight the talents of several players who have moved on to pastures new. Giampaolo has shown great adaptability after losing many of his key players, such as Milan Skriniar, Luis Muriel and Patrick Schick, the latter two being his highest scorers last season.
While Quagliarella has most of the goals this season, they are spread throughout the team, something that has worked to great effect thus far. Giampaolo has already masterminded wins over Fiorentina and Milan, with his side imposing complete control over the latter in preventing a single shot on target.
But given the postponement of their match with Roma due to poor weather, Sampdoria have only been tested by one of the five teams above them, losing that one encounter with Inter.
The side continue to improve under Giampaolo’s stewardship, but how long he can continue to change moving parts and sustain this is worth exploring, especially given Atletico Madrid’s reported interest in Lucas Torreira.
Should things continue to click this season, Sampdoria may be more worried about replacing their Coach than key players. While Giampaolo has flirted with Inter, he was touted as a likely candidate for the Milan job last summer, before Vincenzo Montella was ultimately handed the role.
Fans of Maurizio Sarri and Napoli will wonder about what might’ve been, considering Giampaolo was hand-picked to be Sarri’s heir at Empoli and shares a similar sensibility for beautiful football.
Should both Milan and Sampdoria continue playing the way they are, especially with Sinisa Mihajlovic setting the precedent of moving to the Rossoneri after guiding Doria to Europe, Marco Giampaolo could do something similar, and in doing so may taking his career further and higher than he would at Sampdoria.