2016-17 preview

Club News - History - Records - Stadium - 2015-16 Review2016-17 Squad

After several seasons of over-achievement, could Genoa’s annual transfer merry-go-round finally hurt them, asks Dave Stacey?

Grifone rely on Pavoletti

It’s all change at Genoa for 2016-17 with key departures both in the technical area and on the field. Fans of the Grifone have become accustomed to seeing star players leave for pastures new each summer but, with Coach Gian Piero Gasperini having taken the reins at Atalanta, there’s a real air of caution around the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Gasperini oversaw 14th, sixth and 11th place finishes during his three years in charge and his will be a big pair of boots to fill. The man charged with doing so is former Rossoblu midfielder Ivan Juric, arriving from Crotone having led them to Serie A for the first time in their history and previously working under Gasperini at both Inter and Palermo.

With Sebastien De Maio, Diego Capel and Cristian Ansaldi joining new clubs, wingers Suso and Alessio Cerci ending their loan spells, Genoa have lost key personnel for the third summer running. They have, though, pulled off a genuine coup with the loan signing of pacey wide man Lucas Ocampos. The Argentinian arrives from Marseille and brings a wealth of top flight and Champions League experience looking to get his career back on track after an ill-fated move to the Velodrome. Along with the arrivals of experienced campaigners Santiago Gentiletti and Miguel Veloso (returning for a second spell), Juric can at least call on Serie A know-how.

However, perhaps the best bit of business will be keeping hold of striker Leonardo Pavoletti. Leading scorer last term with 14 (more than double that of the next in line Suso) the Italian rejected a move to Lazio and the Grifone will be praying they manage to hold on to him past the transfer window. More will be expected from strike partner Goran Pandev, though, the Macedonian having collected more red cards (one) than goals since his return last summer. Whilst adding creativity to midfield is a must, the aforementioned Suso and Cerci have yet to be satisfactorily replaced.

Coach - Ivan Juric

Fresh from leading Crotone to Serie A for the first time in their history, Juric is a former Grifone midfielder who previously managed Mantova and assisted his predecessor Gian Piero Gasperini at Palermo and Inter. Played five times for Croatia and believes in a high-pressing, all energy style of play.

Star player - Leonardo Pavoletti

Something of a revelation last season, burly striker Pavoletti’s 15 goals in 26 appearances in all competition comfortably made him the Grifone’s top scorer. A late bloomer, 27-year-old Pavoletti only made his Serie A debut in 2013 having been prolific in the lower leagues and is keen to make up for lost time.

Best buy - Lucas Ocampos

Pacey Argentinian winger Ocampos had the world at his feet, impressing in Ligue 1 and the Champions League for Monaco before an ill-fated move to Marseille slowed his career. Hoping regular football at the Ferraris will earn a call-up to the senior international side.

Azzurri prospect - Mattia Perin

The 23-year-old goalkeeper has recovered in remarkable time from a cruciate ligament injury and has pledged his future to Genoa. A brilliant shot-stopper, a good communicator and with improving distribution, Perin has long been earmarked as Gianluigi Buffon’s Azzurri successor. Hoping for an injury-free campaign.

One who got away: Gianluca Lapadula

The Peruvian-Italian striker was a sensation in Serie B last season, scoring 29 goals in 42 games, alerting the interest of several top flight sides including the Grifone, Lazio and Napoli. However, Milan surprised many and won the race to his signature in a deal worth around €9m.

Probable line-up

Perin; Izzo, GENTILETTI, Burdisso, Munoz; Rincon, VELOSO, Laxalt; OCAMPOS, Pavoletti, Pandev

Prediction - Mid-table