Last season was chaotic, writes Michael Barbaro, but Genoa have reason to be optimistic of better in 2019-20.
Coach: Aurelio Andreazzoli
Last season: 17th, 38 pts
Player of the Year 2018-19: Krzysztof Piatek
Look out for: Cristian Romero
After narrowly escaping relegation in 2018-19 by the skin of their teeth, a reformed and reinforced Genoa look to improve this season.
Following President Enrico Preziosi’s tyrannical campaign where he initially sacked Davide Ballardini, hired and fired Ivan Juric and ultimately appointed former Italy CT Cesare Prandelli, he has now trusted Aurelio Andreazzoli with the role. Preziosi has opened up the cheque book and strengthened the squad this summer, including making last season’s loans of Juventus duo Stefano Sturaro and Andrea Favilli permanent.
Veteran Danish midfielder Lasse Schone was brought in from Champions League semi-finalists Ajax to strengthen their midfield and one would definitely think that they have the capability to push for upper mid-table come season’s end. He is widely tipped to be one of Il Grifone’s standout players this season.
The Liguria outfit appointed former Empoli boss Andreazzoli and are set for a huge 2019-20. Andreazzoli experienced a weird campaign last time out; he was replaced by Giuseppe Iachini on the Empoli bench in November before being reinstated in March. Ironically, Genoa escaped relegation at the expense of Andreazzoli’s Empoli, many would say undeservedly, and the 65-year-old is poised to take the Genoa role.
Along with the aforementioned moves, Cristian Romero was sold to Juventus and subsequently sent back to Marassi on loan for the year. The young Argentine centre-back was one of the League’s standouts last year and will be trusted by Andreazzoli to lead their defensive line alongside experienced ex-Milan man Cristian Zapata and captain Domenico Criscito.
Andreazzoli’s men travel to Rome in the first round before hosting Fiorentina, then Atalanta in a huge test for the club. The Rossoblu faithful will be hoping that they send a message to their rivals with a good start.
The Coach: Aurelio Andreazzoli
Andreazzoli was flexible with his tactics in Tuscany, often deploying the 4-2-3-1, but at times opting for a 3-5-2. He will primarily use the latter for his new side and will look to consistently press his opponents relentlessly with smart possession-based football.
Key summer signing: Andrea Pinamonti
The Italy U-20 captain enters this season on the back of an impressive Under-20 World Cup, where he scored four goals in six matches. He is keen to finally get some regular playing time in his loan move from Inter, which will be made permanent next summer. He competes with Christian Kouame, Goran Pandev and Antonio Sanabria for a starting striker spot in his new manager’s system, but expect him to push hard to stay in it come mid-season.
Key summer sale: Miguel Veloso, Darko Lazovic and Daniel Bessa have all moved on - each to Verona, with Bessa the biggest loss of the trio after his loan spell ended. Gianluca Lapadula has also headed out of the club, joining Lecce on loan.
Predicted XI [3-5-2] Radu; Zapata, Romero, Criscito; Romulo, Saponara, Schone, Lerager, Barreca; Pinamonti, Kouame