Torino 2016/17 Serie A season preview: Granata one to keep an eye on

Torino have a new boss and have replaced outgoing stars with equal quality and could break back into the top 10

Torino 2016/17 Serie A season preview: Granata one to keep an eye on
Torino 2016/17 season preview | Photo: Cammy Anderson/VAVEL

Torino finished 12th last term, finishing a point off the top 10. The club spent the majority of the second half of the season on the losing side tasting 11 of their 17 total defeats in that time. Avoiding a repeat of that this term is clearly something the Turin club want to do.

Progression back into the top 10

The aim for the granata this term has to be to assert themselves amongst the top 10 in Serie A. Barring their first season they've always been in or around the Europa League places but have only got worse as the years go on since their 7th placed finish in the 2013/14 season having placed 9th in the season thereafter and as aforementioned 10th in the last season. 

Four winable fixtures sandwiched at start of season

Torino start their 5th consecutive season in the top flight on their travels to the San Siro to face Milan. Equally as ambitious Bologna then come to Turin to kick-start Torino's home campaign. A trip to Atalanta follows on match day three while Empoli are the visitors to the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino the following week. An away visit to Pescara closes their travels in their opening six and they face their biggest challenge in Roma on the sixth match day. 9 points should be celebrated and stand them in good stead going forward but more points isn't an impossibility.

The first of the closing six fixtures sees Torino head for Verona to do battle with Chievo Verona, who'll rival them for a place in the top 10. A tie at home to Sampdoria is up next before Torino face Juventus and then Napoli in consecutive fixtures. Their penultimate fixture sees them face Genoa before they close the 16/17 season at home to Sassuolo. The final six is by no means anywhere near as kind as the opening six as they not only face last season's champions and runner up but most of the side they'll be fighting with all season long.

The derby della Mole, otherwise known as the Turin derby will again be contested between Torino and city rivals Juventus this season. As seen above, they play each other on the 34th match day but first lock horns on match day 16. The odds are heavily stacked against Torino who have won just one derby since the 1994/95 season where they managed the double over their long standing rivals.

A host of solid additions 

Ins: Adem Ljajic ( Roma - £7.2m ), Sasa Lukic ( Partizan Belgrade - £1.3m ), Panagiotis Tachtsidis ( Genoa - £1.1m ), Samuel Gustafson ( BK Hacken - £425k ), Arlind Ajeti ( Frosinone - free transfer ), Lucas Boye ( River Plate - free transfer ), Iago Falque ( Roma - loan )

New boys on the block Ljajic and Falque | Photo:
New boys on the block Ljajic and Falque | Photo:

The standout additions are without a doubt the names of Ljajic and Falque. Tachtsidis is also a solid signing for the club and will add some meat to the midfield.

Outs*: Kamil Glik ( AS Monaco - £9m ), Fabio Quaglierella ( Sampdoria - £2.3m ), Juan Sanchez Mino ( Independiente - £1m ), Alessandro Gazzi ( Palermo - £595k ), Maurice Gomis ( AC Cuneo 1905 - free transfer ), Alexander Farnerud ( BK Hacken - free transfer ), Vasyl Prima ( Frosinone - free transfer ), Andrea Compagno ( Pinerolo - free transfer ), Matteo Fissore ( Alessandria - free transfer ), Nicholas Lentini ( Gozzano - free transfer ), Luca Castelazzi ( released )

*plus 12 loans and two expired loans including Ciro Immobile.

The departure of Glik could've perhaps been prevented had Torino qualified for Europe but the former captain didn't hide the fact that he wanted glory with him now the wrong side of 30 years old. Quaglierella scored eight last term while Immobile scored five in his six month loan spell. There goals could be missed but the club still have goalscorers.

A good squad

They're weakest in between the sticks for sure and should aim to add to this position but Daniele Padelli is the unrivalled number one and will be deputised by Alfred Gomis and Salvador Ichazo.

Maksimovic and Peres are crucial for Torino | Photo:
Maksimovic and Peres are crucial for Torino | Photo:

Retaining both Bruno Peres and Nikola Maksimovic for the defence would be an absolutely massive boost to Torino's hopes of suceeding this term. The pair have deservedly been linked with moves on to bigger and better things but Torino will hope have their services at their disposal atleast until January and this will no doubt help their chances of achieving their goals.

In midfield, They're well covered and Tachtsidis and Daniele Besalli are likely to run the show from there. Marco Benassi is also one to watch in the granata midfield for the coming season.

The aforementioned duo of Ljajic and Falque will completely transform the way Torino attack and it will be interesting to see if they can rekindle the form that earned them their big moves away from the spotlight and prove Roma wrong to have let them go. An attacking trio of Ljajic-Andrea Belotti-Falque looms in what promises to be one of the most exciting in the league.

Belotti could be big for Torino

With another years experience under his belt, Andrea Belotti has the potential to be Torino's biggest player and he will be relied on to be a constant source of goals. In his early career, he has been prolific and averages around a goal every three games, which is impressive for someone who wasn't always starting. With two competitors for the striker role away from the club Belotti needs to step up and prove they were right to keep him and it is surely on a couple of seasons until a bigger move is on the horizon for the Italian.

Belotti doing his trademark rooster celebration | Photo: latestanelpallone
Belotti doing his trademark rooster celebration | Photo: latestanelpallone

Mihajlovic appointment an exciting one

Sinisa Mihajlovic was appointed as manager at the start of the summer after it was made no secret that Giampiero Ventura would take over the national team job from Antonio Conte. Mihajlovic was placed into the Milan hot seat last term having impressed during his spell in charge of Sampdoria but ultimately couldn't live up to the expectations and was relieved of his duties a few weeks before the end of the season. The lack of "big club pressure" is likely to see the Serbian find success again. The 3-5-2 favoured by last manager Ventura is unlikely to be used again this year and the addition of Ljajic and Falque hints at the formation being either 3-4-3 or 4-3-3.

Will they meet objectives?

Torino have one of the most interesting squads in the league and a fine attack alongside a few solid players further back in the field. A finish in the top 10 is definitely do able, a push for European football is unlikely but can't be ruled out especially if Torino get going quickly.