Padraig Whelan Date: 20th August 2012 at 12:10pm
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It has become an all too often occurrence at the Friuli these days to see the side’s stars sold off.

Admittedly Udinese do very well in making money off these players who usually arrive for small fees but the fans are growing increasingly frustrated by being now looked upon as a selling club.

In recent season departing stars have included Vincenzo Iaquinta, Sulley Muntari and Alexis Sanchez as well as many more who all left after impressing for the Zebrette.

Ahead of a crucial campaign next season in which Udinese will once more compete in the Champions League for the third time in their history it was imperative that this selling mentality be forgotten in favour of bringing in quality players to help them compete both domestically and on a European front.

They received an important boost when Antonio Di Natale decided against retirement and instead will once again lead his beloved club in Europe’s premier competition next year as well as mounting a possible Scudetto challenge.

Unfortunately, this was where the positive vibes ended in Udine as the club once more descended into selling stars but this time it has been much worse for the club as a raft of key players have departed over the course of the summer transfer window.

Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah are both vital components of the Udinese midfield who are crucial to the counter-attacking football that Francesco Guidolin’s side play both defensively and going forward. Both now play for Juventus.

Samir Handanovic was one of the finest goalkeepers in Serie A last season and was undoubtedly man of the match for his team on numerous occasions but he has now moved to Inter.

Juan Cuadrado looked excellent last season on loan at Lecce and he could have starred for the Friuliani this season if given the chance but he will not be given such an opportunity and has joined Fiorentina.

All of these losses would have hurt them badly but the one area the club could not afford to lose options in was attack where they were already short on numbers.

Antonio Floro Flores and Gabriel Torje have both joined Granada for the season ahead and have left Udinese very thin on the ground as far as strikers go and once again they will be forced to depend on the consistency of the seemingly ageless ‘Toto’.

However, he simply cannot be relied upon to bare the burden alone once more especially on both fronts and although Cristian Pasquato was brought in from Juventus, the young forward has immediately been loaned to Bologna which raises serious questions as to the club’s motivation for this campaign.

Damiano Ferronetti and Michele Pazienza have also left meaning the squad has thinned further and if the fans of the Friuli outfit had hoped they would be replaced with a similar quality player they have been left frustrated and somewhat disappointed.

Arguably, the biggest name player that Udinese have brought in is Marco Faraoni who is likely to replace Isla on the right side of the field.

While he is an excellent and astute signing who showed last season what a classy and composed performer he is who is unafraid of taking players on and supplying the attack with passes, he still has a great deal to learn at just 20-years-old.

Little is known about the others that have been brought in to the club and while they could prove to be masterstroke signings who surprise everyone, it is a massive risk to take.

Brazilian midfield duo Maicosuel and Willians should considerably strengthen the midfield this season and both look good buys but will have to adapt quickly to life in Serie A.

Fellow Brazilian midfielder Allan also joins but he could take longer to adjust to the move given that he is so accustomed to Second Division football in his homeland and is still just 21.

Wojciech Pawlowski is the man charged with filling the gloves of Handanovic after being brought in from Lechia Gdansk and this is no easy task, not least when you are an inexperienced ‘keeper of 19 years of age although he seems more like a signing for the future.

The man who will mind the net for the coming season will likely be Zeljko Brkic who has arrived back at the club after impressing greatly in the games he starred in while on loan at Siena last season.

The signing of Thomas Heurtaux from Ligue 2 outfit Caen is charged with helping the likes of Mehdi Benatia at the heart of the defence but is unlikely to be a regular starter this season, making the move a rather puzzling one from the perspective of Udinese who should be moving to bring players in of similar or better quality.

This is something which could cost Udinese for the coming season and while there is no denying that they still have some excellent and important players still at the club, there are not as many as there were last season and this is something which could cost them dearly.

While clubs around them such as Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina have all strengthened they have failed to adequately replace those who have departed and unless this is rectified in the coming weeks, this could be a long season in Udine.

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