With a long-awaited European adventure ahead of them, Torino have strengthened accordingly and are creating a strong unit, despite losing Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile. Alasdair Mackenzie takes a look at the Granata’s improving squad.
Torino enter the new season buzzing with the excitement of competing in a major European competition for the first time in over 20 years. After Parma lost their Europa League place due to unpaid tax bills, the Granata were entered instead and have spent the summer reinforcing their side impressively.
Ciro Immobile’s departure to Borussia Dortmund has been all but forgotten as a string of astute signings have arrived in Turin. A good balance seems to have been found by the club by bringing in experienced Serie A stars like Fabio Quagliarella, Antonio Nocerino and Cristian Molinaro, exciting talents from abroad like Juan Sanchez Mino, Bruno Peres and Pontus Jansson, and talented youngsters such as Josef Martinez, Gaston Silva and Marco Benassi.
Despite all this good work, most of the column inches regarding the Granata have been taken up with the ongoing saga over whether star man Alessio Cerci will stay or go. The Italy international has been courted all summer by the likes of Atletico Madrid, Milan and Inter but Giampiero Ventura will be doing everything in his power to keep hold of the forward.
The club had a fairly low key pre-season with training camps in Bormio and Riscone and a string of friendlies against lowly opposition. This did not stop Toro beginning their competitive season emphatically, as their Europa League third round opponents Brommapojkarna from Sweden were brutally dispatched in a 7-0 aggregate win. Awaiting Toro in the Play-off round is Croatia’s RNK Split.
With the new players settling in well an eye should also be kept on Marcelo Larrondo. The Argentine striker had a torrid season of injuries last year, but has been in fine goalscoring form during pre-season and will be looking to make an impact.
With impressive depth now in their squad, Toro’s fans will be hoping they can compete well in both Serie A and the Europa League. The club will undoubtedly be hoping to make it to the knockout stages of the tournament as well as improving on their seventh-placed League finish last season. To achieve both would spell a remarkable success for Ventura, who will have to use all his experience in rotating a large squad effectively throughout a long and arduous campaign.
The vastly experienced 66-year-old has been in the coaching game for almost 40 years now, but nonetheless this season will be unique for him as he makes his European bow. Ventura will have to adjust quickly to the demands of competing on three fronts and it could prove to be his toughest challenge yet.
The forward was a sensation last season, linking up to devastating effect with Ciro Immobile to fire the Granata into Europe. If the club can keep him, Cerci could form an equally potent partnership with new signing Fabio Quagliarella that would help his club cement their place as a top seven side.
Despite arriving from their city rivals, Quagliarella will be warmly welcomed following the departure of Immobile, as he returns to the club where he began his career. The 31-year-old still has a major part to play and should embrace the chance of having regular game time in the hope of adding to his 75 Serie A goals.
It may seem obvious given his impact against England at the World Cup, but Darmian’s international career is only just beginning. The full-back’s ability to play on either flank shows useful versatility and at 24 he still has many years ahead of him to add to the four Italy caps he has picked up so far.
Padelli; Bovo, Glik, Moretti; Darmian, NOCERINO, Vives, EL KADDOURI, MOLINARO; Cerci, QUAGLIARELLA
A strong squad means that Toro should do well, but with the big sides around them also adding quality and Ventura having to adjust to Europa League fatigue for the first time, they may not quite be able to replicate last season’s top seven placing.
|Avramov (Cagliari)||GK||Berni (Inter)||GK|
|Maksimovic (Red Star)||D||Gomis (Trapani)||GK|
|Gaston Silva (Defensor)||D||Rodriguez (Verona)||D|
|Cinaglia (Feralpi Salo)||D||Chiosa (Avellino)||D|
|Peres (Santos)||D||Pasquale (Udinese)||D|
|Jansson (Malmo)||D||Barrecca (Cittadella)||D|
|Molinaro (Parma)||D||Kurtic (Sassuolo)||M|
|El Kaddouri (Napoli)||M||Tachtsidis (Genoa)||M|
|Benassi (Inter)||M||Meggiorini (Chievo)||A|
|Sanchez Mino (Boca Juniors)||M||Immobile (Borussia Dortmund)||A|
|Martinez (Young Boys)||M||Aramu (Trapani)||A|
|Ruben Perez (Atletico Madrid)||M||Gyasi (Pisa)||A|