Film producer Massimo Ferrero took over at Sampdoria this summer. Mark Siglioccolo ponders whether he can put on more of a show than the club produced last season.
Massimo Ferrero is a media fan favourite famed for his humorous quips and gaffes galore. A controversial new President seems the perfect marriage with Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic at the helm.
Since his arrival in November last year, the Serb produced a modest return of 36 points of a possible 81 to steer the club to safety. It was a marked improvement upon predecessor Delio Rossi, but whether or not an early annulment can be avoided before the season ends remains to be seen.
Doria's pre-season preparations have been mixed. The inconsistency that plagued them last term has not been shaken, with just two wins - against Eintracht Frankfurt and an impressive 2-0 display away to Sevilla - offset by a draw against Serie B debutants Entella and defeats to West Ham and La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid.
Argentina World Cup hero Sergio Romero has been welcomed back to the club from his loan to Monaco, but the 27-year-old will have to fight Emiliano Viviano, on loan from Palermo for Vincenzo Fiorillo's former residency in-between the sticks.
Maxi Lopez may have moved to Chievo but Gonzalo Bergessio arrives with a record of 37 goals and 15 assists in 113 appearances for Catania in all competitions. After a career comprised of loan deals, versatile defender Fabrizio Cacciatore was bought back to shore up the back-line along with Fiorentina's Lorenzo De Silvestri.
Doria look stronger on paper and they surely cannot have a worse start this time around. Ferrero and Mihajlovic are an ambitious pair and Europa League qualification will be in mind, even though it may prove to be out of reach for now.
‘A History of Violence’, ‘How to lose a guy in 10 days’, ‘Something's gotta give’ - Any one of these film titles could conceivably describe the upcoming season for the former Sampdoria player. But, if he can keep his cool, he has a squad that should comfortably finish at the very least in mid-table.
Set to mark a century of appearances for the club this season, the Brazilian winger has been influential since his arrival in 2012. The 27-year-old has produced almost as many assists as he has goals for Doria as in 83 appearances he has scored 24 and assisted 20.
The 30-year-old Argentine recovered from a broken fibula suffered late last year and contributed 10 goals to Catania’s cause last season. It was not enough to keep them afloat but his record remains impressive nonetheless and goals will be expected of the €3m striker.
The 25-year-old Nigerian-Italian has been threatening to break into the Azzurri set up for a while now. Capped from Under-19 to Under-21 level, the striker had a modest return in spells for Fulham, Parma, Brescia and Roma. A decent pre-season looks promising and some consistency could see him land in Antonio Conte's radar.
VIVIANO; GAVAZZI, RIZZO, Costa, De Silvestri; Krsticic, CAMPANA, DUNCAN; Eder, BERGESSIO, Okaka
Providing that Mihajlovic can refrain from getting himself fired and the new players can quickly establish themselves, there is no reason to not think that the Blucerchiati can at least finish in the top 10. A Europa League birth may just be out of reach but they could well be in contention even if only briefly.
|Romero (Monaco)||GK||Fiorillo (Pescara)||GK|
|Viviano (Palermo)||GK||Falcone (Como)||GK|
|Cacciatore (Verona)||D||Rodriguez (Gremio)||D|
|Gavazzi (Ternana)||M||Berardi (Leeds)||D|
|De Vitis (Carpi)||M||Mustafi (Valencia)||D|
|Rizzo (Modena)||M||Sestu (Chievo)||M|
|Duncan (Inter)||M||Bjarnason (Pescara)||M|
|Campana (Crystal Palace)||M||Maxi Lopez||A|