Palermo 2015/16 Season Preview
Photo Source: PalermoCalcio.It

With Paulo Dybala gone, manager Giuseppe Iachini is left with a big task in not only finding a suitable replacement but being able to move the Stadio Renzo Barbera upwards in the table having lost their player of the year.

Last Season

Palermo enter the 2015/16 season with the aim of improving on their very respectable 11th placed finish last season in Serie A.

The Sicilian side had been promoted back to the big time as Serie B champions in 2013/14 14 points ahead of runners up Empoli, who themselves went on to have a great season under the tutelage of Maurizio Sarri, who has since departed for the managerial role at Napoli.

Palermo finished 10 points off the Europa league qualifying place and 15 off the relegation places last term. After six league games the club were winless but we're able to recover and spend the majority of season in or around their aforementioned 11th placed finish.

The fans will be hopeful of a better showing in the Coppa Italia this time round too having been dumped out by Serie B outfit Modena when they entered in the third round succumbing to a 3-0 defeat.

Despite the unsuccessful year in the cup, it can be a season the fans can look back on with a smile on their face given their bad start.

Transfers In's and Out's - (excluding end of loans)

In ( 8 ) - Aleksandar Trajkovski ( undisclosed ) , Ahmad Benali ( free ), Matheus Cassini ( undisclosed ), Simone Colombi ( loan ), Oscar Hiljemark ( undisclosed ), Edoardo Goldaniga ( undisclosed ), Nicolas Viola ( free ), Andrea Rispoli ( free ) and Gaston Brugman ( free ), Abdelhamid El Kaoutari ( €2 million ).

Out ( 16 ) - Paulo Dybala, Sol Bamba, Emiliano Viviani ( loan ), Édgar Baretto, Simon Makienok ( loan ), Andrea Accardi ( loan ) , Antonio Fiordilino ( loan ) , Carlos Embalo ( loan ), Ezequiel Munoz, Samir Ujkani, Andrea Fulignati ( loan ), Silvio Vincenzo Calabrese, Davide Di Gennaro, Eric Lanini, Davide Petermann ( loan ), Michel Morganella.

The most stand out name from the in's and out's is undoubtedly Paulo Dybala who left for Juventus in a massive €32 million deal which could still rise up to €40 million. Sol Bamba departed after just a year where he made one less than convincing appearance before being shipped out on loan to Leeds in January, the club he has now signed permanently for. It's also worth noting two goalkeepers in Viviani and Ujkani have departed.

Notable In's include Simone Colombi who will provide cover for veteran shot stopper Stefano Sorrentino while Oscar Hiljemark and Aleksandar Trajkovski will add strength to an already sound midfield including last season league joint top assister Franco Vazquez.

Palermo have money to spend still and will undoubtedly use the majority of it on a replacement for last season's club top scorer Paulo Dybala. 19-year-old forward Matheus Cassini looks to be one for the future having arrived from Corinthians and will be very much one to keep an eye on.

Manager

This will be Giuseppe Iachini's third year at the helm of the Rosanero having taken over from Gennaro Gattuso back in September 2013.

Iachini will want to progress further
Iachini will want to progress further

He has spent the majority of his 13 years as a manager in the second tier but is quick to get the teams out of the division having won promotion with Chievo, Brescia, Sampdoria and most recently Palermo.

Iachini has proved able enough at this level and will be looking no doubt to push towards the Europa League places next season.

First Six

1. Palermo-Genoa
2. Udinese-Palermo
3. Palermo-Carpi
4. Milan-Palermo
5. Palermo-Sassuolo
6. Torino-Palermo

Not the worst of starts the club but it could've been an easier one seeing as there are two rather tricky games coming on matchday 1 and 4. Matchday 2 and 3 will be weeks where 3 points seem almost a certainty while a defeat on matchday 4 is likely given how well Milan have strengthened, particularly up top. There shouldn't be too many problems against Sassuolo and the game against Torino could prove a tasty encounter.

To finish up they play away on the final day for the second successive Serie A season as they travel to Hellas Verona's Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

Derby days

There will be no Derby di Sicilia for the second year running with arch rivals Catania still stuck in Serie B. Palermo have bragging rights with 25 all time victories although they've lost five of the last 10.

On the second and third last match days, the Aquile host Sampdoria on matchday 36 and then travel to Fiorentina the following weekend. Both games could prove important in the clubs push for a Europa League place.

Predicted Most Important player

Franco Vazquez - Last season Vazquez was Palermo's most important player behind the now departed Dybala, scoring 10 and providing 13 assists in 37 games in all competitions. For the most part, it was the Dybala and Vazquez show that gave the club success last season.

The Argentine attacking midfielder really stepped up last season after a few not bad seasons and the club could possibly have a real battle on their hands next summer if he replicates last season's form.

A quality replacement for Dybala would further allow the 26-year-old to push on and perhaps better last season's impressive form that gained him many plaudits and a call up to the Italian national team back in March.

Predicted ( All competitions )

Serie A - 10th - They've shown time and time again that despite losing their key players they're able to recover and compete so the Rosanero faithful should expect much of the same in the coming season. The club as previously mentioned were a constant feature in mid-table throughout the season so a push for Europa League can't entirely be ruled out.

Coppa Italia - Round of 16 - A round better than last years but the challenge of Genoa could prove too much for the squad but if they manage to make it through they are more than likely to face Roma in the quarter finals and will most likely not make it through.


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