Sampdoria Club Focus: Purchases raise eye-brows
On Monday night the transfer window closed and Sampdoria had made some purchases since the opening day of the Serie A season.
If the first two matches were anything to go by, the Blucerchiati showed that they could be competitive but the squad had some weak points. Unfortunately Sampdoria have not filled the voids on their roster.
As mentioned previously, Delio Rossi’s side was lacking in quality players who could provide flair and creativity. Sporting director Carlo Osti still has not adequately replaced Andrea Poli and Rossi has not been using a genuine regista in midfield.
Icelandic midfielder Birkir Bjarnason has been signed in a co-ownership deal with Serie B side Pescara. The 25-year-old central midfielder played with the Abruzzese side last season when they were in Serie A.
He scored two goals in 24 matches for Pescara last season but Samp already have many central midfielders on their roster. It is very unlikely that Bjarnason is a player who can control the play in the Samp midfield and make defence-splitting passes.
As addressed last week, Enzo Maresca is still under contract at Sampdoria. He has been frozen out of the squad and he has not been assigned a jersey number. The 33-year-old playmaker would be feeling hard done by.
Aside from being frozen out of the Samp squad, Maresca wasn’t a regular at Juve and only had one season at Fiorentina. His best football has been for Spanish clubs Sevilla and Malaga and for Greek giants Olympiakos. Based on that, it’s fair to say that he has found greater appreciation abroad than in his home country.
A similar fate has been dealt to Danish international Simon Poulsen. No jersey number has been assigned to the left-back either and he didn’t find another club during the summer. Paraguayan midfielder Marcelo Estigarribia did not stay on after the end of the 2012-13 season so this could have been Poulsen’s chance to prove himself.
By leaving Poulsen out of the squad, it makes the Antonino Barilla deal more puzzling. The 25-year-old has arrived on loan from Serie B club Reggina and he can play in the 3-5-2 formation. Barilla hasn’t played in the Serie A though since the Calabrese side got relegated in 2008-09 and his move would give some fans the impression that he was a panic-buy.
Vasco Regini looks set to be the left wing-back this season but if the ex-Empoli defender plays as a centre-back instead and Barilla starts in the midfield, one can hope that the Calabrese midfielder becomes another late bloomer.
If adding Bjarnason and Barilla to the squad has raised eye-brows, Samp fans on social media have been happy with the purchase of AC Milan youngster Andrea Petagna. The 18-year-old has arrived on loan from the Rossoneri but despite the plaudits, was Petagna a necessary acquisition?
Petagna is a left-footed centre-forward like Manolo Gabbiadini. Samp look willing to give youth a chance but Osti should have looked for a support striker. Aside from Eder and Gianluca Sansone, who can play in that role?
Petagna has talent but it looks unlikely that Gabbiadini and he can co-exist in the same line-up. Perhaps the youngster from Trieste can come as a substitute for Gabbiadini in most matches and play in the Coppa Italia but both players have a similar style.
Sampdoria look like a club that is thinking ahead and the staff were doing well to build a young team. The last few days suggest that there are some flaws that have not been fixed. Despite this, the Blucerchiati have not been uncompetitive.
In most cases, teams would struggle but Rossi is a coach who can work with what is at his disposal. On paper, the signings made might not make sense but the manner Rossi uses these players will show people if these were poor buys from day one or if he sees something in them that most people can’t.