Sampdoria suffered a home defeat to Lazio in the opening round of the 2019/20 Serie A campaign but off-field issues could prove detrimental to the Blucerchiati’s season, even more so than anything tried by new coach Eusebio Di Francesco.
On Sunday evening, Samp lost 3-0 to the Biancocelesti and they looked lost, confused, lethargic, and disjointed while the away side played at a higher intensity, passed the ball in a slick manner, and demonstrated greater tactical awareness.
Di Francesco replaced Marco Giampaolo as Sampdoria coach in June but there is another major change that is expected to be made soon. American investment fund York Capital Management are planning to acquire the club and intend to install Doria great Gianluca Vialli as president but current patron Massimo Ferrero is not overly willing to sell the club.
The 68-year-old Roman had intended to become the new owner of Palermo after they went bankrupt and were demoted to Serie D but the mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando awarded the naming rights of the club to a group of local investors lead by Dario Mirri.
Ferrero has also revealed in past interviews that he has dreamt of purchasing hometown club Roma for many years but Giallorossi president James Pallotta isn’t willing to sell and the Samp patron doesn’t have the fiscal strength to invest in the team from the capital.
Throughout the summer, there have been mixed reports on how much the 68-year-old wants for the Blucerchiati, with figures of around €160-180 million being mentioned, and then there are the reports of what York are offering, which has been as low as €65m but as high as €95m.
On August 22, a letter of intent was signed by Ferrero’s holding company as well as the investment group of with Vialli, signalling that the selling process was going to commence.
“Holding Max Srl, the investment vehicle of the Ferrero family, has signed a letter of intent with the consortium CalcioInvest LLC (led by Gianluca Vialli, James Dinan and Alex Knaster) in relation to the purchase of UC Sampdoria SpA,” read a statement from ANSA.
Sky Sport have reported that a deal is close to being completed for €100m, substantially less than Ferrero wants, but again question marks remain on when any deal will actually be confirmed.
Unfortunately for Samp fans, time is running out for the sale of the club to be completed before the transfer window closes on September 2 and it does not look likely that the Blucerchiati will make any significant signings to bolster the squad.
If the Lazio defeat was anything to go by, the Ligurian side look weaker than they had in midfield, especially with Belgian international Dennis Praet being sold to Premier League club Leicester City, and they need better wingers to suit the 4-3-3 formation that Di Francesco implements.
Sampdoria are struggling to bring Roma forward Gregoire Defrel back on loan and attempts to acquire Zenit Saint Petersburg winger Emiliano Rigoni have not been successful so far. During pre-season, Di Francesco had to experiment with players like Jacopo Sala and Gaston Ramirez on the wings in case he cannot get the players he requests for his football philosophy.
An away trip this Sunday evening to Sassuolo is next for the Doriani and perhaps facing a team that is not as competitive as Lazio might help the players gain their confidence but it remains to be seen if they can maintain their mid-table finishes or improve upon them.
This Sampdoria project has stalled for now and it might be detrimental to collecting points, at least in the short term, if the ownership situation isn’t clarified soon.