Palermo are back in Serie A after a one year absence. Lorenzo Vicini examines the Rosanero’s return to the top flight.
A disastrous 2012-13 season saw Palermo relegated from Serie A after nearly a decade in the top flight. Yet, a record-breaking Serie B campaign ensured the Rosanero’s absence was a brief one. Now, Palermo will need to prove themselves once more amongst Italy’s top clubs and show they belong in Serie A.
Fiery President Maurizio Zamparini has rebuilt the side from top to bottom over the past two years. While Beppe Iachini remains the Coach, a new sporting director was brought in as Franco Ceravolo arrived after Giorgio Perinetti’s contract was not renewed. Yet, much of Perinetti’s previous work is still present in the current squad.
The team, composed of a steady mix of youth and veterans, is largely the same that will confront the challenging campaign in Serie A. For his part, Ceravolo has shed the club of superfluous contracts and useless players while bringing in quality such as Chievo’s Luca Rigoni and prospects like Robin Quaison and Zouhair Feddal.
Coach Beppe Iachini will have his work cut out for him. The club’s ultimate goal is Serie A safety and despite a glorious first season with the Rosanero, Iachini has never impressed in Italy’s top flight. To make matters worse, Zamparini will not hesitate to send him packing should results not arrive immediately. With this in mind, Iachini is putting his faith in his tested 3-5-2 formation while relying on many of the same players who set records in Serie B last season.
The Rosanero certainly responded well during the pre-season by winning all their matches except for two, but there is the feeling that the club is still lacking another option up top. Nevertheless, enthusiasm is running high in Palermo with the season ticket campaign surpassing expectations. With fans flocking to the stadium, last season’s heroes will need to re-emerge and fight all season long to prevent another unexpected relegation from occurring once again.
Replacing the failed Gennaro Gattuso experiment last season, Iachini enjoyed a remarkable campaign under the volatile Maurizio Zamparini. He’s known as a promotion specialist and while his credentials in Serie B are unquestioned, he has yet to truly prove he is capable of coaching in Italy’s top flight.
Vazquez was literally on his way out of Palermo having been frozen out of the club before Beppe Iachini urged the club to keep him. A brilliant move as ‘El Mudo’ revitalised the side in the second half of last season and is now the focal point of Iachini’s set-up.
The Sweden international midfielder arrives in Palermo from hometown club AIK where he was known as one of the brightest prospects in the country. Infamously dubbed the ‘Scandinavian Xavi’, Quaison has the ability to play multiple roles in midfield and has the opportunity to turn heads in Italy this season.
The 20-year-old striker was the revelation of the season last year with Palermo and has already shown plenty of promise as a regular fixture in the Italy U-21 side. Should his sparkling form continue, it won’t be long till he’s a presence in Italy’s senior squad.
Ujkani; Munoz, Milanovic, Andelkovic; Pisano, Bolzoni, RIGONI, Barreto, Lazaar; Hernandez, Vazquez
It won’t be the easiest of campaigns, but there’s enough quality to ensure safety from relegation and a little bit more.
|Mantovani (Bologna)||D||Viviano (Sampdoria)||GK|
|Feddal (Parma)||D||Stevanovic (end of loan)||D|
|Della Rocca (Bologna)||M||Nelson (rescission)||D|
|Chochev (CSKA Sofia)||M||Simon (rescission)||M|
|Lores Varela (Bari)||M||Verre (Perugia)||M|
|Rigoni (Chievo)||M||Troianiello (Bologna)||A|
|Quaison (AIK)||M||Lafferty (Norwich)||A|
First image source: Palermocalcio.it