A miserable end to the 2014-15 campaign does not bode well for the Bianconeri, and the sale of Brazilian maestro Allan will not help. Colin Millar assesses Udinese’s hopes for the new season.
Ending last season with four defeats on the trot and seven losses in 10, Udinese finished only two places above the drop zone. It was a season of highs and lows: defeats of Inter, Lazio, Milan, Napoli and Verona were impressive yet inconsistency dogged the campaign.
Goalscoring was a big issue for Udine’s finest - the evergreen Antonio Di Natale was pivotal again with 14 League goals and he has decided to stay on for the forthcoming season, despite a reported big offer from MLS.
The loss of Brazilian maestro Allan to Napoli will be significant, while Roberto Pereyra’s loan move to Juventus was made permanent. Duvan Zapata’s loan move from Napoli may prove crucial and should add some much needed firepower, while the club have added South American experience with Ivan Peris, formerly of Roma and Manuel Iturra, a stalwart for Andalusian outfits Malaga and Granada in Spain.
The club have also recruited highly-rated Argentinian Gaspar Iñíguez, securing the diminutive midfielder’s signature ahead of a host of more illustrious European names.
A new-look Stadio Friuli deserves top-flight football and this will be the Udine club’s 21st successive season in the top flight. No European competition should ensure that the club continues in Serie A with relative ease, although they don’t look equipped for anything grander than a safe mid-table finish.
The Coach’s five-year stint at Atalanta came to an end last season, and he has replaced youthful boss Andrea Stramaccioni who, just as at Inter, started brightly before failing to stop an alarming slide. Colantuono knows how to consolidate top-flight status and make the most out of modest resources.
The free-scoring striker and club captain has stayed-on despite American interest and will complete his 12th season at Stadio Friuli. He has netted 223 goals to date and has shown no signs of slowing down despite nearing his 38th birthday. As ever he will be crucial.
A strike partner worthy of Di Natale, Zapata averaged a goal every 102 minutes at Napoli last season, despite a peripheral role. His signing may only be a loan deal, but if he strikes up a partnership with the captain it could prove extremely fruitful.
Udinese is not blessed with young talents from Italy, preferring to focus their recruitment in South America. Only Di Natale is a first-team regular, and he has retired from the international game. Faraoni, signed from Inter in 2012, is a highly-rated young wing-back who has since had an impressive stint with Watford.
Karnezis; Danilo, Heurtaux, Piris; Widmer, Guilherme, ITURRA, Fernandes, Badu; ZAPATA, Di Natale
New Coach Colantuono will establish stability at the club – plus a usual recipe of recruiting highly-rated South American gems, along with relying on the goals of Di Natale, should see Udinese secure a slightly more comfortable mid-table finish this year.
Keep up to date with all the Serie A transfers with Football Italia's summer 2015 transfer table.