Udinese Season Preview: All about staying up?
Mandragora before U-21 Italy fixture
(Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Udinese had a 12th place finish last season which is one of their highest finishes in the last five years. This was after the returning Igor Tudor guided them to mid-table despite having relegation threatening them for the majority of the season.

They started the season with Julio Velazquez in charge but he was dismissed in November after only two victories. Udinese turned to former Crotone boss, Davide Nicola but he only lasted until March. Tudor returned to do as he did the season before last, and ensured Udinese stayed in the top flight.

Transfer Business Overview

The Pozzo family that owns Udinese, are more concerned with funding their Premier League club, Watford They have made some signings for Udinese that are perhaps not players that will catapult the club up the table. They have signed Ilija NestorovskiMato JajaloSebastien De Maio who all have previous Serie A experience. They have also brought in Walace from Hannover 96Nicolas from Hellas Verona, Rodrigo Becao and the exciting Cristo Gonzales. The latter moves to Udine from Madrid where he made 41 appearances at Real Madrid Castilla where he scored 22 goals last season. 

The main outgoing transfers are both goalkeepers Alex Meret and Orestis  Karnezis have signed for  NapoliJakub Jankto signed for Sampdoria and Valon Behrami has returned to Switzerland to finish off his career.

Igor Tudor

The Croatian is preparing to take charge of Udinese for the full season this summer, this being his second spell with the club. The former Juventus defender prefers his teams to play in a 3-5-2 shape where they are very direct and quick on the counter. This will be a difficult year for Tudor's men, he will have to work incredibly hard to ensure he does not suffer the same fate as other managers before him. 

By being given the chance to start the season, Tudor will be hoping that the stability can give the club a strong start as they start the campaign at home to AC Milan.

Player to Watch/ One for the Future

Rolando Mandragora is a very exciting player who is still young and he is developing into a fine central midfielder. He has an excellent range of passing and has a wand of a left foot. Should he continue to develop, he will soon be a starter for the Azzurri.

Mandragora had a very impressive season and capped that off by playing very well in the U21 European Championship. He should go into the new season full of confidence and even stronger. His performances for Udinese will go a long way to keeping his side up.

Predicted Finish

While Udinese is not a bad side, they will be flirting with relegation this season. Other teams around them have strengthened, Udinese has quite a youthful team and at time of writing, are going into the season, weaker than last. A difficult season ahead for the Zebrette.