Serie A's bargain buys
Cesena, Novara and Lecce have waved farewell to Serie A and as the trio seek to pick up the pieces from relegation and build for a swift return, this is the opportunity for the vultures to swoop. While there is no shock Sampdoria-type relegation amongst the pack the remaining Serie A clubs could manufacture a bargain to supplement their squad.
A Serse Comsi led Lecce from the opening whistle of the season would not currently be staring at the gates of Serie B. His impact was such they overcame a sizeable deficit to come within a whisker of safety. The master-motivator would be a viable candidate to remain in Serie A and with a number of coaching changes set to take place - including Fiorentina, who have utilised his favoured 3-5-2 formation - he may well stick around.
Exciting Colombian duo Luis Muriel and Juan Cuadrado are Udinese-owned, with the Friulani noting last week they intend to recall the former. The versatile Cuadrado could remain on loan and after impressing at the Stadio Via del Mare expect the rapid winger to be the source of much contemplation and bidding. On the other flank, Davide Brivio mixed hard-running with a scintillating left foot which provided consternation for a number of shot-stoppers. The 24-year-old has value as a full-back or just further ahead. Both have the characteristics to suit Roberto Donadoni’s Parma.
Muriel’s strike partner David Di Michele is at the opposite end of the career spectrum yet showed his reliability in front of goal as he finished top scorer with 11 goals. He has shown his worth in a two-man attack, which could alert low-scoring Chievo and Cagliari. The 36-year-old can provide an option from the bench.
Novara found the step-up to Serie A difficult but take away some fond memories of their first top flight campaign since 1955-56, including dual wins against Inter. The hero of that early season success over the Nerazzurri was Marco Rigoni and he has been linked with a ‘dream’ move to Milan. There he would act as backup, but is comfortable in multiple midfield roles. Takiyuki Morimoto has expressed his desire to not drop to Serie B and will be seeking to display the promise from his Catania days after a tricky campaign in the northern city. Chievo were close to his signature in January and that may be an option in summer.
Cesena were poles apart from the swashbuckling outfit which graced Serie A in 2010-11, amassing a paltry four wins and 22 points – just one point more than Treviso’s 2005-06 tally, the lowest in the 20-team era. Despite their issues, Adrian Mutu – given another chance after his troubles at Fiorentina – performed admirably, knocking in a third of Cesena’s 24 season strikes. They were by far the least potent attack - making life difficult for those up front - but the Romanian attempted to drag Cesena from the mire. He showed his worth and at another provincial club such as Siena could be an important figure.
Marco Parolo was a shining light last season as he made his Italy debut. However, his fortunes dipped with the team and after being subject of past bids from Lazio and Cagliari, the silky central midfielder could be a starter in central midfielder for the Sardinians, especially given Radja Nainggolan is expected to depart.
A number of players did enough to suggest their future lies in Serie A and not the cadetti, with Lecce’s impressive displays going to hit the hardest as their side could be broken apart. Yet while there may not be an Emanuele Giaccherini amongst the bunch to make an impression at a top club next season, there is certainly a bargain to be had from the three unfortunate sides making their Serie A exit.