Welcome back! In last week’s post, we finished the season top of the pile, and earned promotion to Serie A.
This post will include a relatively quick look back on the season, highlighting some key contributors to the cause.
After that I’ll do another look at how some of our younger players have (or haven’t) developed since I’ve been at the club, as the youth focus remains the core tenet of what I’m trying to accomplish here. As such, the youth intake will get it’s obligatory mention.
We’ll just finish today’s post with couple of thoughts on how to approach next season, with a step up in quality of opponent…
There’s no doubt about it, we dominated the division:
As you can see from the above, I had a fairly settled side, largely forgoing my usual squad rotation tendencies as our matches were well spread out. It’s difficult to pick anyone out specifically, as almost everybody was great, but I do have a soft spot for Adriano Mari. Originally brought in essentially as a two month, free agent stopgap, he’s made the AML spot his own and continues to produce. He’s particularly fond of scoring a beauty from the edge of the box.
The statistics show how much of our game is wing focused, with a significant portion of our assists coming down both flanks, including our more dangerous than anticipated full backs.
However, there’s little doubt who Fans’ Player of the Season is:
Matteo Riccio has come through his dreadful first few months with Sampdoria and shone, leading us to promotion with Serie B records set for average rating (7.65) and most importantly, goals (22). His set piece delivery and link up play were also superb, leading the team with 16 assists, although I’m sure Marco Mercurio would’ve topped that if he hadn’t missed ten weeks through injury.
I really have no idea how Mattia Vanin snuck into that team, as Mercurio was far the superior performer. However the rest of the XI is bang on.
Awards season, and as you would imagine, Riccio features prominently:
That bloody Team of the Year formation is a farce, with it’s lack of wingers resulting in Mari and Mercurio missing out despite being #1 and #2 in the midfield award.
It’s good to get a bit of cash:
Money has been getting tighter as we’ve started paying out for more transfer clauses. And there’s more to come!
Conta has made some impressive strides so far and has been our second choice left back for a while now. We’ve focused largely on his defensive positioning and quickness, and the progress he’s made has put him within touching distance of Franco Cipriani attribute wise. Perhaps he can even push for the starting berth this season?
Mohamed Conte has decided his allegiance lies with Italy and has now been capped by the U23s, at the tender age of 17. His physicals in particular are becoming highly impressive. After a wee discussion on Slack, I heeded the advice of FM_Grasshopper and trained “Knocks Ball Past Opponent” onto Conte. Mezzala seems to be the role that suits him best, and his pace is knocking on the door of 19!
Despite a lack of first team football this season, Mazzoli has developed a bit. Next season it’s highly likely we’ll try and find him a loan deal to ensure he doesn’t stagnate playing U20 football. He has probably suffered from Adriano Mari blowing my expectations out of the water.
Carbone hasn’t made quite as much progress as I would’ve liked in the year since coming through last season’s intake. Largely this is because he’s been hampered by a couple of injuries. Still he’s come on a bit, with a focus on attacking movement and final third, for the most part.
In terms of overall quality, it was a very disappointing intake, however one kid sticks out:
Emiliano Sorrentino looks like he could be a real gem (if we can keep him – Chelsea and Juventus are already trailing him…). We’ll be looking to boost his physical attributes to start with, and perhaps add the trait “Comes Deep To Get Ball” to expand on his abilities as a Deep-Lying Forward.
We’ve been granted a decent transfer budget:
Although I think a fair portion of that will be making it’s way over to the wage side, as we have many contracts that need tending to. In fact, probably all of them. I can’t imagine many first teamers are going to be happy stuck on the Serie B maximum wage.
That should prevent us needing to sell, although there are a lot of interested parties in some of our best players at the mo…
Having built a largely homegrown, Italian, youthful squad that performed brilliantly, I expect our transfer aims over the summer to be minimal. These lads have earned a proper crack at the big time, and provided we don’t get raided by bigger clubs, I’ll only be looking to add a couple of faces.
A centre back or a right back is a shout, but probably the most important target will be a defensive-minded central midfielder, as it’s the one position that didn’t excel for us in Serie B.
Furthermore, I intend on sticking with our positive mentality and the wonky 442. We’ve steamrolled Serie B, and added to that, our impressive performances against Serie A clubs in the Coppa Italia give me some confidence.
Next time we’ll get Sampdoria’s first season back in Serie A underway, with the big question being how well we can do with the step up, using largely the same side and system… I really don’t know what to expect.
Thanks for reading!