Goal difference is all that kept Genoa out of the top 10 last season. After a stellar 14/15 campaign where they finished 6th, it was largely expected they’d be in or around the Europa League places again but it wasn’t to be. The Grifone could only manage an eleventh placed finish and the tied fourth most losses no doubt played a part in a “backwards” season.
Back into the top 10 pushing for Europe
Genoa have no reason not to push for a place in Europe for the following season. Last season wasn’t great, granted but the season before showed that they’re more than capable of mixing with the big boys nearer the peak of the Serie A table. An improvement on eleventh last season should be the main objective and it’s unlikely they won’t manage that.
The Stadio Luigi Ferraris outfit start the season hosting promoted Cagliari before travelling to another promoted side in Crotone. Six points from this pair of games should have confidence flying high and they definitely will need it with games against Fiorentina, Sassuolo and last season’s runners up Napoli in the three weeks after. Should they be decimated in these three games and any prior confidence destroyed, they have a superb chance to regain that confidence as they play the final promoted side in Pescara on match day six. Nine points from their opening six should be more than achievable but if they really want to show they mean business and want to push on, a win against either of Fiorentina, Sassuolo or Napoli should do just that.
Genoa end the season by firstly travelling to Turin to face reigning champions Juventus before they play host to Chievo Verona and Inter for the next two match days. A trip to Sicily to face Palermo is arguably their easiest tie of their closing six and games with Torino and Roma close out the season.
Italy’s oldest derby will be contested again this season as Genoa meet Sampdoria in the Derby della lanterna. Despite sharing a home, Genoa are the away side on match day nine and then are the home side on match day 27. Each side won a derby last term but Genoa are current kings of the city having destroyed La Samp 3-0 on the penultimate week of last season.
Ins: Diego Laxalt ( Inter - £3.4m ), Cristian Ansaldi ( Zenit - £3.4m ), Nikola Ninkovic (Chievo Verona - 468k ), Santiago Gentiletti ( Lazio - 425k ), Miguel Veloso ( free transfer ), Lucas Ocampos ( Marseille – Loan ), Davide Voltan ( undisclosed ), Francesco Renzetti ( undisclosed )
Laxalt was signed on a permanent basis after impressing out wide for the grifone last term and will likely slot right back in there from the word go. Miguel Veloso is back with the club after four years with Dynamo Kyiv and gives the side a solid option in midfield and addresses the need for a strong central midfielder. The addition of Ocampos is an interesting one too. The Argentine was tipped for stardom when at River Plate but has failed to live up to the high expectations that were set early in his career. Should he play well, Genoa have the option to retain him, which could in years to come, if he finds the form he was expected to, could prove a shrewd signing and money maker in the future.
Outs*: Diego Perotti ( Roma – £7.6m ), Cristian Ansaldi ( Inter – £5m ), Sebastian De Maio ( Anderlecht – £2.5m ), Panagiotis Tachtsidis ( Torino £1.1m ), Antonio Donnarumma ( Asteras Tripolis – free transfer )
*including 14 loans and 6 expired loans including Suso, Alessio Cerci and Blerim Dzemaili.
Perotti had already been away from Genoa on loan at Roma and the giallorossi opted to sign him on a permanent basis before dealing him to Torino soon after. Defensively, they’ve lost half of what featured regularly last term in De Maio and Ansaldi. Ansaldi was signed permanently but interest in him was high after shining last term and he was moved on to Inter.
A changed squad
Loans made up an awful lot of last term’s starting eleven and with all bar one gone for good, a new look starting eleven will be seen.
In goals, Mattia Perin is the undisputed number one and despite being out injured until mid-September will not have any trouble reclaiming his jersey when fighting fit. The goalkeeping department is very short on depth with Eugenio Lammana being the only other keeper in the ranks.
Defensively, losing Ansaldi and De Maio isn’t great but summer signing Gentiletti will slot in where De Maio did with little bother. Renzetti will probably fill in for Ansaldi also. Alternatively, a three-man defence could be used by the rossoblu.
They’re midfield is a tricky one to predict whether or not they’re too short or just right. You’d imagine Veloso and Tomas Rincon will be the midfield pairing but with both being primarily defensive midfielders, there’s an obvious gap in the true centre and further up therefore meaning the wingers will be heavily relied on for creativity.
In the striking department, they could definitely do with an addition as they’ve just Leonardo Pavoletti and Goran Pandev as out and out strikers. A long-term injury to either could prove catastrophic but with the window still open, another striker is definitely able to come in.
Pavoletti will score goals guaranteed
Keeping a hold of Leonardo Pavoletti could be the difference between Genoa going forwards instead of backwards. The striker netted 14 times in 25 outings and could’ve easily hit 20+ had it not been for injury. The 27-year-old was on the verge of an Italy call up for the Euro’s and should he rekindle last season’s form, could be included in new boss Giampiero Ventura’s national team plans.
A new man in the dugout
Having guided Crotone to Serie A for the first time, Genoa appointed Ivan Juric as their new manager after Gian Piero Gasperini took the reins at Atalanta. Juric is very inexperienced compared to Gasperini but the Genoa hierarchy obviously see him as more of a long term appointment aged just 40. Juric also played for Genoa in his playing career and has had spells as assistant at Inter Milan, coincidentally to the man he is taking over from as well as Palermo.
Will they meet objectives?
Genoa lost a large number of last season’s squad but given they finished outside the top 10, an overhaul may not be too bad. A placing in or around 10th is likely what they’ll achieve but don’t be surprised to see them a little further up if they get going quickly.