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The strange case of Stefano Guberti

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By Marco Maioli

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Recently, Stefano Guberti joined Torino on loan, returning to Serie B after two seasons in the top flight.

Considered by many one of the best Italian wingers, fast and skilled, Guberti could have accepted an offer from some Serie A side: Cesena, Novara and Bologna were said to be interested. Torino Head Coach, Giampiero Ventura, had openly declared to want him and Guberti has accepted to play in the second tier knowing that he will be able to show its potential in the Genoese tactician's 4-4-2. Ventura relies heavily on wide players like Guberti, who rose to prominence while playing for a Bari side that adopted similar tactics.

Nevertheless, it is quite surprising that a player who was considered one of the best prospects of calcio just two years ago is now preparing himself to face teams like Gubbio and Juve Stabia. After a first term in Serie A with Ascoli in 2006/2007, in the summer of 2009 it seemed that Guberti had finally made it to the elite of Italian football. His contract with Bari expired, he moved to Roma for free. He did not succeed in becoming a regular starter, being used mostly in Europa League matches, and played only six Serie A games in his six months as a romanista.

Having then joined Sampdoria on loan, the winger started playing regularly, helping blucerchiati gaining qualification to the Champions League. The Genoese club decided to buy him in a co-ownership deal, but in his second season Guberti could not save Samp from relegation, showing his adaptability by playing as a trequartista, but being too inconsistent.

In July, Roma bought back half of the registration rights of the player for the ridiculous sum of £439. The giallorossi never considered the option of keeping him and immediately loaned him to Torino.

The importance of this signing, for a club that will start its third consecutive season in the second tier with the aim of promotion to Serie A, can not be underrated. Guberti has already proved he can make a difference in Serie B. His task will be that of dribbling past players and providing assists for Rolando Bianchi, should he stay at the club, or Giulio Ebagua.

Given that in the classless Torino midfield the other wide players at Ventura's disposals are unexperienced youngsters like Nnamdi Oduamadi and Simone Verdi, it can be said that Granata's hopes of promotions rest mainly on Guberti. His goalscoring aptitude, exemplified by the nine goals scored in his few months spent at Bari, could turn out to be useful.

It is less clear how playing for a whole season in the second tier will affect Guberti's career: regardless of what his impact is on the team, it is far from certain that Torino will exercise its buying option. In one year time, the winger could return to Roma and then begin again the search for a new club.

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