Sassuolo have always been an entertaining team to watch in Serie A, with the ability to reinvent themselves. Richard Hall looks at how they intend to manage this season as they have lost some important players and as of yet, recruitment has been slow…
It has been fantastic to watch Sassuolo over the years as, like Atalanta, they seem to have the ability to regenerate with young talent and constantly defy the critics. The Neroverdi have been hard to beat and good to watch.
But this season could be a tough one, as Sassuolo have lost some key players and could lose more before September. Thus far, only one player has been brought in.
Agustin Alvarez is the 21-year old Uruguayan who has come in to replace the out-going and hugely talented Gianluca Scammaca, who moved to the Premier League with West Ham and made his debut on Sunday against Manchester City. Scamacca was sold for a reported £35.5m, but the money hasn’t been put back into the squad as yet.
Sassuolo also lost Jens Odgaard, Filip Djuricic and Vlad Chiriches and while they may not be major talents, their absence makes the squad lighter and weaker. One of the team’s other major talents, Giacomo Raspadori, looks like he may well have played his last game for Sassuolo too. He’s being watched by Napoli and Juventus. Losing Scamacca was a blow – if Raspadori goes too, Sassuolo may struggle to recover.
Key man: Domenico Berardi
Domenico Berardi was exceptional last term as in Serie A he managed 15 goals and 14 assists. The attacking midfielder has often been praised for his ability but criticised for him inconsistency and a perceived lack of ambition, the latter apparently odd in modern football.
Berardi seems uninterested in moves to bigger clubs and some have indeed tried to tempt him, he remains at the Neroverdi. The 28-year-old is a huge asset for Sassuolo and may be the difference maker again as they adapt to changing circumstances.
Coach: Alessio Dionisi
Dionisi was impressive at Empoli and so far he has done a reasonably good job with Sassuolo. It is going to a difficult season for the coach though, as he tries to find a way to cope with at least one and possibly two of his top strikers leaving.
Even with the goals of Domenico Berardi Dionisi will have to rely on a combination of youth players coming through and his tactical ability. This is not going to be plain sailing and he is in for a tough campaign.
Watch out for: Agustin Alvarez
The man who could be the saviour this year is new signing Agustin Alvarez, who has come over from Penarol. The 21-year-old Uruguayan scored 24 goals in 63 games for his former club and is seen as something of a bright light of South American football. Will the step up be too much? Alvarez is by all accounts an exciting talent, but replacing Scamacca and Raspadori might be asking too much.