Bologna 2016/17 Serie A season preview: A young squad with progression in sight

Bologna could be a surprise side this term in the top flight with plenty fine young talent in their ranks

Bologna 2016/17 Serie A season preview: A young squad with progression in sight
Bologna 2016/17 Serie A season preview: A young squad with progression in sight

Bologna come into the upcoming season off the back of a 14th placed finish, which obviously allowed them to keep their place amongst the Italian elite this year after promotion two seasons ago. An inspired Emanuele Giaccherini was the high point for Bologna while they will look to improve on their 18 defeats last season.

Objectives for this coming campaign

Further consolidation back in the top flight should be the aim for the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara outfit this term. There was very little between Bologna in 14th and Chievo Verona in 10th so the finish can’t be frowned upon all that much. A finish in or around 14th should be regarded as a successful season but top 10 football isn’t out with the club’s capability and that will certainly be what ambitious owner Joey Saputo is aiming for in years to come.

Fixtures

The Rosoblu start the 2016/17 Serie A season off by welcoming Serie A debutants Crotone. Also in their opening six is home ties with another promoted side in Cagliari as well as Sampdoria. There first away game comes in week two against Torino and they also face a daunting trip to Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo two weeks later. They close out their opening six with a journey to Milan to face Inter. Six to nine points from their opening six is definitely an acceptable amount to gather and any extra points will be a bonus. 

Bologna close the season out by firstly visiting Atalanta in Bergamo before playing host to Udinese and Pescara either side of a visit to Empoli, their final two games however present a bigger challenge as they face Milan away from home before playing Juventus on the final week.

Bologna have no real fierce derbies with their rivals all in the lower echelons of the Italian football system but do participate in the Derby dell’Apennino against Fiorentina. The derby is an interesting one as despite geographical closeness, they are both in different regions – one of the usual deciding factors in declaring a derby.

Transfers 

Ins: Luca Rizzo ( Sampdoria - £5m ), Godfred Donsah ( Cagliari - £4.25m ), Ladislav Krejci ( Sparta Prague - £3.4m ), Adam Nagy ( Ferencvaros - £1.28m ), Simone Verdi ( Milan – £1.28m ), Federico Di Francesco ( Virtus Lanciano - £1.2m), Deian Bolder ( Virtus Lanciano – £425k ), Andrea Vasallo ( free transfer ), Filippo Perucchini ( free transfer ).

The standout transfers here are undoubtedly that of Adam Nagy and turning Godfred Donsah’s stay into a permanent one. Both are likely to be in the middle together next term and will be one of the most exciting midfield duos in the league. The signing of Ladislav Krejci will hopefully produce some much needed goals in the side and the winger boasts an impressive record in both the goal and assist columns from his time with Sparta Prague.

Outs*: Marco Crimi ( Carpi – £425k ), Matteo Brighi ( Perugia – free ), Franco Zucculini ( Hellas Verona ( free ), Dejan Stovanovic ( released ), Kevin Constant ( released ) and Archimede Morleo ( released )

*plus 8 loans and 3 expired loans including Emanuele Giaccherini.

No sales are particularly shocking with many of the departures either being well past their best years or having been on-loan elsewhere last term having been deemed surplus to requirements. The departures further decrease the age of the squad, which is one of the youngest in the league on average. Emanuele Giaccherini’s was only on loan which takes any real shock out of his departure but he will very likely be missed and the Bologna faithful will be hoping he doesn’t put in a dazzling display when his new side Napoli come to town.

Youth dominates a squad definitely built for the future

Antonio Mirante is likely to remain the undisputed number one for Bologna this term but Angelo Da Costa is certainly capable of taking the jersey from him. 

In the defence, being able to keep a hold of Adam Masina is massive. The young full back is developing nicely and could be one of the real stars for them this upcoming season. 

Diawara (L) and Donsah (R) impressed last year | Photo: dailystar.co.uk
Diawara (L) and Donsah (R) impressed last year | Photo: dailystar.co.uk

Last season the partnership of Amadou Diawara and Godfred Donsah in the centre of the park was a major positive for the club as they were able to bed two youngsters in and both exceled. The addition of Adam Nagy is a real coup given there was continental interest in the Hungarian youngster and competition for places in the midfield will be hot. 

Up top, Bologna have options but need a 15 goal a season striker with their current forwards never being blessed with being consistently prolific throughout their careers. Mattia Destro topped the scoring charts last season with eight while veteran Sergio Floccari grabbed six himself.

Destro will be called upon for goals

Destro will need his shooting boots on every game | Photo: gazzettaworld.com
Destro will need his shooting boots on every game | Photo: gazzettaworld.com

Mattia Destro will be key for Bologna this term, undoubtedly. His first season, as mentioned above produced eight goals in 27 appearances. There was a chronic lack of goals and Bologna scored the least across the league hitting the net just 33 times.

Donadoni remains to build on what he’s started

Roberto Donadoni has an interesting project on his hands, for sure. Many members of his side gained plaudits last term, in particular the younger players. All of his summer signings are under 25 signalling that youth is going to continue to be tried and tested by the 52-year-old who has a year remaining on his current deal. 

Will they meet expectations?

The squad, despite a year in Serie A remains largely inexperienced with the bulk of the squad being under 25-years-old. Last season could easily be put down to inexperience but it will be interesting to see after a year how much they’ve came on and so on so forth. Consolidation is definitely possible as last season’s squad remains largely intact while Donadoni has added smartly to it. The formation was tinkered with an awful lot last season but sticking with a formation this season could see better success in the long run. Once the right formation is found, Bologna could certainly surpass expectations if the right formation is found sooner rather than later.