Wednesday July 1 2020
Benevento strategy is all wrong

Benevento hadn’t even started the promotion party yet when snapping up Loic Remy, but Lee Bushe wonders if this is the right strategy…

Just hours before Benevento’s return to Serie A was confirmed, it was reported that 33-year-old Loïc Rémy - a former France international and Chelsea striker - was close to signing for the club.

It was a move that came as a surprise, but only to a degree. Gli Stregoni have been linked with other ageing, past-their-prime strikers in recent weeks, with Daniel Sturridge, Mauro Zárate and Fernando Llorente all reportedly interesting the club. Indeed, sporting director Pasquale Foggia claimed that he had made an official approach to Napoli for the signing of Llorente last week.

While Rémy arrives as a free agent, there are question marks over whether the move is sensible. A player of Rémy’s note and experience will probably command a high wage, one which a club the size of Benevento surely can’t afford, especially if they are relegated next season.

Additionally, Rémy is approaching his mid-thirties and hasn’t scored over 10 goals in a league season since his loan spell at Newcastle in 2013-14, so whether he’ll be capable of being a consistent scorer for Benevento next season can also be called into question.

Remy’s acquisition seems to be reflective of the Stregoni’s overall transfer strategy as they prepare for life back in the top-flight. They are currently in advanced negotiations with former Torino defender Kamil Glik, who has spent the last four seasons at Monaco. There is no doubting the 32-year-old’s Serie A experience and quality, but, once again, you have to question whether this is building for the future or scrapping the team that got them promoted in favour of expensive older names.

It’s a risky strategy and one can may backfire if Benevento go down next season, as they could be left with a significant wage bill which a Serie B club could simply not afford. Pippo Inzaghi’s team are breaking Serie B records, promoted with a 24-point lead, losing one out of 31 games, conceding just 15 goals. Why tear all that down to start again with veterans who aren’t hungry for success?

Oreste Vigorito’s ambition is clearly to establish Benevento as a Serie A side, but he seems to be focusing on short-term acquisitions - in the hope that experience can keep Gli Stregoni up - rather than building for the future. The recent successes of Parma and Hellas Verona in the first seasons back in the top-flight prove that you don’t need an abundance of experience - or necessarily break the bank - to do well in Serie A.

In the case of Parma, they added experience in the form of Bruno Alves and Gervinho, but focused on inexpensive transfers and loan deals. They acquired proven, in-their-prime players such as Luigi Sepe and Roberto Inglese on loan with the option to buy, meaning that if I Crociati were relegated, they wouldn’t be obligated to buy the player.

After comfortably avoiding relegation in their first season back, Parma have continued to make smart, cheap signings - such as Andreas Cornelius and Dejan Kulusevski on loan and adding more Serie A experience in the form of Matteo Darmian, Gianluca Caprari and Jasmin Kurtic. Their strategy has paid dividends so far, with the Emilians currently competing for a Europa League place.

Hellas Verona also find themselves in the running for Europe in what is their first season back in the top-flight. They had a similar transfer strategy to Parma, signing experienced Serie A players such as Darko Lazovic and Miguel Veloso, while taking on loan (with the option to buy) Valerio Verre, Koray Gunter, Sofyan Amrabat and Matteo Pessina.

Their most astute signing, however, was Amir Rrahmani. He was brought in for around €2m from Dinamo Zagreb and quickly established himself as a key player for Verona. Six months after joining, he was sold to Napoli for €14m, meaning Hellas made an incredible profit on the Kosovan.

This is another way of smartly conducting transfer business: looking for undervalued players in lesser-known leagues. Atalanta are very good at this. They signed the likes of Robin Gosens, Jose Luis Palomino, Remo Freuler and Hans Hateboer from lower-reputation leagues for minimal fees, playing an important part in La Dea’s ascendance from mid-table nobodies to Champions League quarter-finalists.  

In short, Benevento should adjust their transfer strategy. Instead of signing big-name players on high wages - ones which could backfire horribly if they get relegated back to Serie B - they should focus on loan deals (dry or with the option to buy), cheap players in foreign leagues and the occasional addition of Serie A experience - so that they can start to build for the future.

Have your say...
This article certainly hasn't aged well
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:52am
so happy for BENEVENTO... they wrote history with the amazing Serie B season. shame the pandemic has taken alot of shine from it. theyll definitely need some good signings to survive in Serie A, but what they need more is just grit and gel more as unit and bring all that unity and fight, hunger together as a team. Pippo needs to really start doing his homework on how to match up against the teams and train plays, as not to drop back down again. like Benevento become a staple team in Serie A.
on the 3rd July, 2020 at 8:44pm

Lukaku scored 113 goals and provided 35 assists in 252 premier league games. He has 52 goals in 84 caps for Belgium and has only recently turned 27 so is very much in his prime. I am the first to admit that his touch and technique isn't the best but he is a handful for any defender and is a proven goal scorer. To suggest he's a premier league failure is over the top
on the 3rd July, 2020 at 9:16am
Let's not forget now that a lot of Serie A transfer policy is basically grave-robbing. If there's a player past his prime in the Premier League, Serie A clubs are the first to sniff around. It usually works out quite well, as unfortunately the league is weak enough to make the likes of Lukaku and Smalling look like world-beaters. You can't reasonably expect Benevento, if they are seeking to strengthen their squad, to buy foreign or indeed Italian players in their prime, and at a premium.
on the 2nd July, 2020 at 5:54pm
@Zambrotta84 - i agree. there really isnt much point to this article. we are talking about two players, not half the team here. Remy is a bit of a gamble but gilik could be a shrewd and valuable signing. Adding a couple of players like this, combined with what im guessing is a decent enough squad considering how well they did to get promotion and perhaps a few astute young loan signings and they could have a good chance of staying up or more!!
on the 2nd July, 2020 at 11:58am

Spot on.

In the position he plays Glik still has 2 or 3 seasons in him and he's a proven Serie A defender which is exactly what a newly promoted team needs.
on the 2nd July, 2020 at 8:44am
Exactly Zambrotta84,
I only read the title & didn't bother to read the rest...

I'm extremely happy for Benevento who deserve to play in Serie A next year.
Shameful Brescia hoped season would be moped under rug & they'd stay another season. --Yesterday I even cheered for Inter to trash them. (Though regreted it immediately when I saw Conte.)
In general, teams tried to use COVID situation: some eager to play as soon as possible, others citing human lives to avoid playing ...& possible relegation.
on the 2nd July, 2020 at 1:59am
And the article disproves its own point by including Parma's Gervinho & Bruno Alves and Verona's Veloso. Maybe they're already stocked up on young talents and wanted to add some experience for the big stage...

You could make a counter argument that Empoli got relegated last year with a youthful, talented squad because they lacked experience.
on the 1st July, 2020 at 8:46pm
So what's the point exactly of the article? They bought two experienced players, Remy & Glik, who is only 32 and sure has quite a few top seasons left in him (Nice transfer IMO). I would agree with the article if they signed five or six clearly over the hill players but after only two signings, this is jumping the gun a bit.

And I'm sure if they relegate, Remy and Glik will be happy to terminate their contract by mutual consent(or already have a clause included) instead of playing in serie B.
on the 1st July, 2020 at 8:43pm

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