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

Steve Mitchell On August - 21 - 2011

Italian Serie A 2011-12 Club Preview: Parma

2010 -11 Recap

A mid-table finish last term does not tell the whole story of a nerve wracking campaign for I Ducali which saw them flirt with relegation right up until the closing few weeks of the season. A change at the helm in early April, which saw former Bologna tactician Franco Colomba substitute Pasquale Marino in the Ennio Tardini hot-seat, proved a season saving move by larger than life president Tommaso Ghirardi as the former Uefa Cup Winners secured another year in Italy’s top-flight. Having said that, Marino’s final dip into the transfer market  also proved pivotal for I Gialloblu who took a gamble by bringing Juventus cast-off Amauri to the club in January  -  his subsequent seven goals in 11 games helped to ease the pressure on the team from Emilia -Romagna.

Key Acquisitions

Emanuele Blasi, Fabio Nunes, Jaime Valdes, Fabiano Santacroce, Jonathan Biabiany, Fabio Borini

Key Departures

Amauri, Antonio Candreva, Valery Bojinov, Blerim Dzemali

The Summer So Far

Cash is at a premium for Ghirardi and the club has been wheeling and dealing to bring in loan signings during the summer transfer window. Colomba has secured the services of midfielder Emanuele Blasi from Napoli, who returns to the club he played for on loan in the 2003-04 season. In attack 19-year-old Portuguese striker Fabio Nunes arrives from Portimonense and 30-year-old Chilean marksman Jaime Valdes has been drafted in from Sporting Lisbon. Fabio Borini, fresh from helping Swansea City achieve promotion into the English Premier League, has also been brought in to bolster the front-line whilst Fabiano Santacroce arrives from Napoli to add some steel into the defence. Perhaps the biggest bonus for the club is the return of lightening quick midfielder Jonathan Biabiany, who returns to the Ennio Tardini after a disappointing spell with Sampdoria. There have also been some notable departures in the summer recess with Amauri heading back to Turin, Antonio Candreva to Cesena and Blerim Dzemali swapping places with Santacroce, heading south to Napoli.

What Next?

With the summer transfer window heading into the final straight, Colomba will be desperate to bring in more new faces to strengthen a squad that on paper, looks desperately short on quality.  The club have been trying to strike a deal with Juventus to bring Amauri back to the Tardini but it seems the two clubs are a million miles away from reaching an agreement. Borini will be expected to try to fill the void left by the Italian International and the old stage himself Hernan Crespo, will be called upon for one last hurrah before he surely hangs up his boots. Between the posts, I Ducali have one of the best goalkeepers in the peninsula in Antonio Mirante. Unfortunately, with a fragile looking defence in front of him, he could be in for another busy season.

Man To Watch

Fabio Borini returns to his country of birth after being nurtured through the Chelsea Youth Academy before becoming an integral part of Swansea City’s meteoric rise into the English Premier League. The 20-year-old striker netted six times in just nine starts for the Welsh club last season and his stock is rising with comparisons already being made with another if Italy’s most successful exports, Giuseppe Rossi. That he chose to return to the region of his birth  to further develop his career rather than except more lucrative offers elsewhere says much about the players mentality and it will be interesting to follow the young starlet over the coming months.

What To Expect

Unfortunately for the tifosi at the Ennio Tardini, it seems as though another mid-table finish will be the most that can be expected. Colomba will be trying to produce more consistent performances especially at home, where they picked up only seven wins last term.  The 56-year-old tactician will try to utilise all his experience to at least ensure that the team doesn’t go into the final month of the season flirting with the possibility of relegation into the second tier. Obviously, the key games will be against those teams who are in a similar position to I Gialloblu (and it seems there will be many) but the tifosi at the Ennio Tardini will demand a strong showing in the derby games against Bologna and Cesena

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