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Saturday June 29 2019
Sampdoria the surprise package

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall believes Eusebio Di Francesco’s Sampdoria could be the surprise package this season.

There is more to the Blucerchiati than a madcap owner. In fact, despite Massimo Ferrero’s antics, one could say he isn’t even that mad. The evidence of this was left on the pitch last term as Sampdoria finished ninth with pride.

Football is absolutely and unrelentingly linked with and controlled by economics, this is the disappointing but harsh reality in 2019. The small percentage that is left, that helps a football club work, is due to talent and planning. The Genoese side this summer, however, are making moves that show they may be challengers for the Europa League spots.

Sampdoria always bring a touch of style, a touch of class and last season many thought they had a special team. Fabio Quagliarella rolled back the years, scoring 26 times in Serie A, in turn winning the Capocannoniere title. In case you forgot, he is 36 years of age. The Neapolitan forward has always scored spectacular goals, ironically look at the back heel against his hometown club last season, but the question has always been about his consistency. He has now answered all of his critics in a ‘Luca Toni style’ smash, as last season he played without care are and melted the hearts of all Calcio purists. Will he do it again? Perhaps not, but you would put your mortgage on him getting at least 10 goals.

Marco Giampaolo guided this Sampdoria ship last term and his departure for Milan may be a wise career move, but Doria have not been stagnant. Ferrero and his team opted for the talented Eusebio Di Francesco to take over, a shrewd move that seems to typify Sampdoria at the moment, get them just as they are on the way up, or just on the way down.

If one was writing about Di Francesco this time last year, words used could have been ‘style’, ‘progression’, ‘future’ and ‘modern’. What a difference 12 months make and after his sacking from James Pallotta’s incendiary Roma, he is judged negatively.

The capture of Di Francesco is borderline genius. The man who played attractive football at Sassuolo and achieved positive results in the Eternal City is still one of the most progressive Coaches on the Peninsula. It’s true it didn’t work out at the Giallorossi, judge a Coach in Milan or Turin but never judge them in the Borgia-like state that is Roman football, here the rules are not the same. The fact is that Sampdoria have profited by snapping up a Coach who is arguably better than the one they have just lost.

In the transfer market it seems inevitable that Denis Praet and Joachim Anderson are on the way out, but that is simply the world Sampdoria live in. The centre-back will be hugely missed and they will need to find a suitable replacement but the midfielder, whilst combative and elegant, never really contributed goals. The money that they are holding out for, for both, is way over the market value and it looks like they may manage to secure excellent deals for both.

Sampdoria’s purchasing department also seems to have a good eye. Reuniting with Domenico Berardi (from their time at Sassuolo) looks possible, the reluctant talent who plays for the Neroverdi may just be tempted to come and play for his former Coach. Simone Verdi has also been touted as another wide man who fits the bill. Let’s be clear, Di Francesco wasn’t lying about why he chose Sampdoria, he sees the possibility to raise a bright, young and combative team. This is already in their DNA and it is also in his.

It is easy to get lost in the development of Juventus’ brand, the fact that Inter may challenge them, that Napoli are being underrated this summer or that Milan, well, we will leave that where it is.

Sampdoria, however, are going under the radar. They have a plan, they have the Coach and they have the playing staff. They are an anomaly in Italian Football, as they seem to have an identity and it works. Don’t just look at the kit next season, take note of the team, for they could be the surprise package.

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Have your say...
@Laziale you just worry about your own team! Roma had one of the worst squad in years and we still finished above your sorry provincial team.
on the 30th June, 2019 at 8:03pm
I’m optimistic about the new season
Bad treatment? Di Francesco? If just Roma have sacked him earlier, Ranieri would made Roma in the champions league
on the 30th June, 2019 at 12:26pm
Absolutley. Wish Eusebio well - he deserved better treatment at Roma.
on the 30th June, 2019 at 9:27am
They'll finish above Roma in the end. Definitely.
on the 29th June, 2019 at 10:43am

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