More outs than ins do little to get Blucerchiati faithful dreaming, writes Barney Lloyd-Wood
Perhaps ‘Groundhog Day’ implies things are in some way not going to plan, which would be an unfair summation. That said, the summer has given us little to suggest Sampdoria can improve too drastically on last season’s 10th-place finish.
Traditionally the only source of excitement in the three-month vacuum is the prospect of new faces. For the Doria board and fans alike, it has largely been a case of their diamonds in the rough jumping ship - notably last season’s star man Luis Muriel departing for Sevilla, Bruno Fernandes being sold to Sporting and Milan Skriniar heading to Inter.
The main story of the summer from Liguria remains the future of Patrik Schick. A move to Juve has collapsed due to heart problems, so in the meantime, the young striker has assured he is happy to be training with his current employers. The highly-rated Czech forward may yet join Skriniar, but the links with various clubs are not going away.
Preparations are far from ideal for Marco Giampaolo, as he hopes to build on an acceptable mid-table finish from the last campaign. New faces have been hit and miss. While there is genuine strength in this squad, as well as some savvy business done, the onus is on owner Massimo Ferrero to bolster the squad or face a step back.
There’s a concerted effort to increase their defensive options with the likes of Nicola Murru from Cagliari and Luca Rossettini on the way from Torino, but in attack so much depends on the Schick situation.
While there are more questions than answers about their credentials as anything more than middle of the road, Sampdoria do have the foundations in place for another successful season. Big name departures were expected if not unavoidable, with the squad healthy at the present moment.
With a strong and capable midfield, there is a crucial mix of youth and experience, the usual example being the evergreen Fabio Quagliarella. An intriguing sight will be if he can link up with new man Gianluca Carpari. While he never really got a say at Inter, he dazzled at times on loan at Pescara, there is no doubt this is a step up for him and pressure is on the striker to show he is worthy of a place.
In truth, the Blucerchiati are in the fortunate position where thus far they have hit their targets without becoming victims of their own success. A win at home on the opening weekend against newly-promoted Benevento will be expected, a mix of new faces and good early results will be the best way to silence the Doria doubters.
In modern football ‘fine’ is mistaken for lacking ambition or stagnant, but everything points to Sampdoria being just fine this season. In truth, most of the Blucerchiati faithful would be happy with mid-table. That particular bracket of the table inevitably can mean a complacency-based drop or a late European surge, but with one or two additions, a successful season would be a repeat of last time, while throwing in a win against rivals Genoa.
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