With the end of the summer transfer window, Football Italia previews the 2021-22 Serie A campaign and what to expect from Salernitana. Words Kaustubh Pandey.
Returning to Serie A after 23 years, Salernitana have survival on their minds. There was a question of whether the Campania club would even be allowed in the top flight as, like Lazio, they were owned by Claudio Lotito and one person cannot own two clubs in the same division, but that issue was settled when Salernitana were placed into a trust. Given the scale of the challenge facing I Granata, that might not be a problem next summer.
SALERNITANA TRANSFERS IN
Zortea (D, Atalanta), Strandberg (D, free agent), Obi (M, Chievo), Ruggeri (M, Atalanta), Kechrida (D, Etoile Sportive du Sahel), Lassana Coulibaly (M, Angers), Bonazzoli (S, Torino), Fiorillo (G, Pescara), Kastanos (M, Frosinone), Simy (S, Crotone), Delli Carri (D, Juventus), Gagliolo (D, Parma)
SALERNITANA TRANSFERS OUT
Adamonis (G, Lazio), Bogdan (D, Livorno), Casasola (D, Lazio), Durmisi (D, Lazio), Dziczek (M, Lazio), Kiyine (M, Venezia), Anderson (M, Lazio), Lombardi (S, Lazio), Cicerelli (S, Lazio), Gondo (S, Lazio), Antonucci (S, Cittadella), Tutino (S, Parma), Kupisz (M, Pordenone), Mantovani (D, Alessandria), Sy (D, Cosenza), Micai (G, Regggina), Kiyine (M, Venezia), Kristoffersen (S, Cosenza).
WHAT TO EXPECT
Fabrizio Castori’s Salernitana finished only four points behind Empoli in Serie B last season and while they impressed in a topsy-turvy opening game against Bologna, it is tough to see them staying in the division beyond the current campaign. Along with Castori, a host of the players in the side lack Serie A experience and that includes captain Francesco di Tacchio.
While their transition based 3-5-2 system has gained popularity in Italy recently and was used remarkably by Simone Inzaghi at Salernitana’s sister club Lazio, the Granata struggled with a lack of goals in Serie B. They scored only 46 times – fewer than the top eight of the league. Simy has been brought in for getting some extra goals and he did impress with Crotone last season, but the absence of top-flight nous could cost Salernitana in the end.
COACH – FABRIZIO CASTORI
Castori has managed only once in Serie A before but the Italian has had three different stints at Emilian side Carpi. He did have a season in the top flight with the Modena club during the 2015-16 campaign but that ended in relegation. He’s a proponent of the 3-5-2 and generally tries to have two strikers up front, having also tried a 4-4-2 in Serie B last season with the Granata.
Even at Carpi, he constantly used a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 shape but Castori has become a yoyo coach, having recently led Trapani and getting them relegated from Serie B in the 2019-20 campaign. That isn’t really a good sign for a new Serie A club.
CAPTAIN – FRANCESCO DI TACCHIO
Francesco Di Tacchio has been at Salernitana since 2018 and the defensive midfielder has now played over 100 games for the club. A product of the Ascoli youth academy, Di Tacchio did have a stint at Fiorentina as a youngster but he couldn’t go past being on the bench in Serie A for La Viola.
He turned out regularly for the club in Serie B last season, also racking up three assists for the side. A seasoned veteran now, he’s plied his trade in Serie C as well in the past, having had stints with Pisa, Entella and Juve Stabia too. While vice-captain Miran Juric is the player who has played the most number of games for the club of the current squad, Di Tacchio has become a reliable performer for the side in recent years.
PLAYER TO WATCH – SIMY
Some months ago, Simy was being seen as the striker who could potentially head to Inter or at least have a chance of playing for a mid-table Serie A side. If one considers that, Salernitana capturing the striker is quite a coup. He had two Serie A seasons with Crotone and he boasts a top flight goalscoring tally of 27, having got 20 in a single season last term.
While he did over-perform on his xG by quite a margin last season, Salernitana won’t really expect him to score 20 in the current campaign. But they could do with double figures, with Juric also expected to chip in with some goals or assists.