Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Lorenzo Vicini On July - 15 - 2011

Seahorses Rising: Cesena On The Up

As the final whistle sounded, the Dino Manuzzi exploded into delirium. Not only had Cesena just earned a 1-0 win over Brescia but, most importantly, it signified that the Seahorses would be playing in Serie A the following season. It was a remarkable feat for a club that many had pegged to be immediate relegation candidates prior to any games being played.

Now, heading into the 2011-12 season, Cesena aim to preserve their place amongst the others in Italy’s top flight. In order to do that several issues had to be addressed, first and foremost among which was club President Igor Campedelli finding a new coach after the departure of Massimo Ficcadenti.

After the successful one year stint of Ficcadenti, Cesena set their sights on another promising young coach in Marco Giampaolo. The Swiss=born Italian coach had previously spent time with Ascoli, Cagliari, Siena and most recently Catania before accepting the job in Emilia-Romagna. While his experiences with Cagliari and Catania were disappointments, it was the promise he exhibited during most of his coaching career that were noted by Campedelli upon his hire. In particular Giampaolo’s one year spell with Siena in which he achieved safety for La Robur fit the criteria for his main goal heading into this season with the Seahorses.

Following that appointment, the club quickly worked to confirm two key pieces from the past season. First on the cards was the goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli. Even though he was the oldest active player in Serie A last year, the 40 year old netminder was one of the best in his position, registering the fourth highest amount of saves while facing the sixth highest amount of shots. Antonioli made everyone forget about his age and instead led them to focus on his brilliant displays for Cesena. His performances last term were rewarded in the form of a contract extension which he signed in June, ensuring that the man from Monza will be the key man at the back once again in 2011.

After the extension of Antonioli, the Seahorses also offered an extension to team captain Giuseppe Colucci whose contract would have expired at the end of the upcoming season. The hard tackling midfielder was one of the club’s best performers in the previous year even though he was overshadowed by the emergence of Marco Parolo. Colucci’s reputation as a hard man was evident in his status as the least disciplined player in Serie A last term with 11 yellow cards to go with 2 red cards. Nonetheless, Cesena realized the importance of the player to their midfield and his extension means Colucci will play without the worry of an expiring contract on his mind.

Although the transfer market experts were more focused on the important pieces leaving Cesena, the club has turned such discussion on its head with a transfer campaign that has been nothing short of excellent so far. Despite the departures of Jimenez, Caserta and Santon, not to mention the continual links elsewhere for Parolo, the President - and his right hand men Lorenzo Minotti and Maurizio Marin - have made several fantastic acquisitions for the club.

Cesena nabbed Serie A’s loveable punching bag Marco Rossi in a co-ownership deal with Parma. The defender was a fixture for Bari last season and Sampdoria the year before. The club then quickly moved to sign Serie A veteran Gianluca Comotto on a free transfer. The fullback will be in contention for a role in the starting lineup and rejoins his ex-coach from their previous time together at Ascoli.

Even though the defensive purchases were necessary, it has been the movements the club has made in the attack that has earned praise. When rumors began to circulate about the possible acquisition of Adrian Mutu from Fiorentina, many scoffed at such a notion. Yet, the unthinkable happened and the Romanian international quickly agreed to the offer from Campedelli and Minotti saying;

“I accepted the proposal, reducing my wages. I’m convinced that this reality, at the human level, will give me the enthusiasm I looked for.”

With Mutu on board, Cesena’s strike force becomes much more dangerous, especially with Emanuele Giaccherini - one of Serie A’s revelations last season - still on the books. However, the Seahorses did not stop there, signing the talented Brasilian Éder Citadin Martins from a relegated Brescia side. His arrival, coupled with that of Mutu, Giaccherini and even Bogdani provides Giampaolo with a wealth of options up top.

As the transfer window continues to remain open, Cesena has been linked with a whole host of other significant purchases with the likes of Giandonato and Almiron of Juventus seemingly close to a switch to Emilia-Romagna.

The Seahorses have definitely bolstered their lineup so far and there is still plenty of time left for transfer market deals to be made both in and out. Yet Cesena have shown they are committed to proving last year was not fluke. With the recent acquisitions - and those seemingly on their way in - it is shaping up to be another exciting season at the Dino Manuzzi.

  • Budd

    I love reading these articles because they’re short but informiavte.

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