Torino Club Focus: Positive mercato can be the difference
With the transfer window having finally been shut this week, Torino can cast their eye over the business they conducted and be pleased with how they have performed.
There was a disappointing defeat away to Atalanta on Sunday night but at this stage of the season, it is too early to get any sort of reading on that game.
Toro played very well at the ground where they won 5-1 last year and always looked a threat in attack even without Alessio Cerci. They created numerous chances, look a real threat on the break and agonisingly hit the woodwork twice.
In the end, a lack of concentration and awareness from set-pieces was what cost the team what would have been an important away point but from what was witnessed, there are signs that the Granata’s transfer market dealings could prove to be the difference between maintaining their Serie A status or not.
Gone are Rolando Bianchi and Angelo Ogbonna, Torino’s two most instantly recognisable faces for the past few years, and while much has already been made of their departures, other players following them out the exit door represent good moves in trimming down the wage bill.
Alen Stevanovic always looked to be a good Serie B player at best and never made an impact in the top flight and the same can be said for Sergiu Suciu and Simone Verdi who have all been farmed out to that league for the coming season where Alfred Gomis will also gain experience.
Thankfully, the club also saw fit to decide against keeping Mario Santana who has now been offloaded on an unsuspecting Genoa. He was frustratingly lacklustre throughout last season and often looked overweight and unfortunately, he carries none of the zip and spark that made him a hit at Fiorentina in the past.
It was always going to be the transfers coming in this summer that would determine the difference between Torino surviving or not this season.
For a team who came too close for comfort to the relegation zone last season, it is therefore obvious that it would be a club that needed strengthening to avoid a repeat this season especially after losing their top scorer.
Ogbonna’s loss can be dealt with. He spent a lot of last season sidelined with a troublesome hernia injury and as stated many times on this Club Focus last season, Kamil Glik and Guillermo Rodriguez proved to be more than up to the challenge.
In departing with him, Toro managed to secure the signing of Ciro Immobile who looks like he could be a threat to Serie A defences this season but not through simply scoring goals himself, he looks as though he and fellow new recruit Marcelo Larrondo could be the perfect foil for each other.
Neither may hit over 12 goals this season for the Granata, but each should help the other enough through their link up play, passing and movement together to supply the strikes that will keep Torino picking up points week after week.
As far as playing the passes to them, Omar El Kaddouri looks like he will be an outstanding acquisition. Granted, he never got a look in last season at Napoli but showed enough during his time with Brescia and already fleetingly with Toro that he will be a difference maker in close games this season.
Nicola Bellomo will probably be eased into the side at first to adjust to top flight football but he had Roma, Inter and AC Milan all looking at him during his time at Bari last season and the Granata have pulled off quite the coup in signing him ahead of some of the bigger names in the peninsula and he is certainly a player that fans should be keeping an eye out for with regards to how he develops.
Alexander Farnerud looked like a promising signing when he first signed but has yet to hit the high notes yet although admittedly could still become a big player this season as should Matteo Brighi because if he can avoid injuries, he could be the first choice midfielder on the team sheet throughout the campaign.
Cesare Bovo, Giovanni Pasquale and Emiliano Moretti are all players with the experience and quality required to add defensive depth to the side and it is now an area where the club are strong and Giampiero Ventura can be happy with his options there.
Daniele Padelli has looked decent although not tested too much yet and the signing of Gianluca Pegolo from Siena would have been an excellent one to make.
However, on the whole, Torino fans can be happy with a transfer market that has saw them strengthen in the areas required and which should hopefully be enough to keep the club in the top tier once more.