New SPAL president Joe Tacopina is aiming at taking the Biancazzurri back to Serie A as soon as possible, having acquired the Ferrara-based club.
SPAL were relegated from Serie A at the end of the 2019/20 season but, having failed to secure an immediate return to the top tier, Tacopina is hopeful that the Ferraresi can do just that under his watch.
“I saw this opportunity and within a few months the deal for SPAL was done,” Tacopina told The Italian Football Podcast. “This is what happens when you have good people on both sides of the table.
“The Colombarini family did an amazing job, SPAL is one of the only Italian clubs that has been profitable during the entire pandemic. Aside from Atalanta, there aren’t many other clubs that can say that in Italy.
“The goal is Serie A, I didn’t come here to play in Serie B. This club is a Serie A club, Ferrara is a Serie A city. I’m the only president in the history of Italian football to win three promotions in a row and that’s a record I’m proud of and want to build on.
“But having said that, I’m not putting pressure on anyone here. This year we said our goal is to stabilise the project and make our move next year. And that is still the goal here.”
Atalanta have become a model club in Italy under Antonio Percassi, and Tacopina acknowledged that the Bergamo club are something of an inspiration that SPAL should look to replicate.
“Luca Percassi did me a great favor and loaned me three really good players for free,” Tacopina added. “[In] My introductory press conference in Ferrara I mentioned Atalanta as the model to follow.
“If there is a team that could be like Atalanta it’s SPAL. We have an amazing youth sector and scouting. That is how teams like Atalanta punch above their weight, that’s how they compete in the Champions League. And we have that here too.
“I brought one of the best youth directors in Italy Massimo Tarantino from Roma. Brought in Andrea Catellani from Chievo. And myself and Pep Clotet go to all Primavera games to show the players that we care about them.”
One of those talented youngsters is Demba Seck, and there has been interest in the forward from Serie A sides that Tacopina has had to turn away.
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“This kid is a raw crazy talent,” Tacopina said.” He is one of the most dynamic players in Serie B. We got an offer that was over €4 million, which is a lot of money.
“The deal was that a Serie A club buy him but we get to loan him. But Pep, the coach, came to me and said: ‘Joe please, do me a favour, do yourself a favour, do SPAL a favour. Don’t sell him. Give me one or two years he will be worth three times that amount at a minimum. This guy is special. This is the prototypical Premier League player and people will pay big money for that’.
“So I said: ‘okay Pep’, and people thought I was crazy, but I listened to Pep.”