The two ex of the Griffin examine the median of the Griffin and have their say on possible reinforcements for Ballardini
If the midfield turns, the whole team turns. The Europeans won by Mancini’s blues are the clearest proof of how an excellent median is often a harbinger of excellent results. The Italy of Barella, Jorginho and Verratti won the European Championship thanks also to the excellent performances of this department enriched by Cristante, Locatelli and Pessina.
What is true for national teams obviously also applies to club teams. And Genoa is no exception. The rossoblù team works to reinforce a department that compared to last season will not have Strootman now at Cagliari. Badelj will start again with the role of director also next season and will join his companions after the post-European holidays. And the focus is on Rovella who will continue his growth path in the rossoblù, left to Genoa on loan for another year from Juve. Ballardini will also be able to count on Melegoni who will try to explode, on Cassata which wants to relaunch after a year conditioned by injuries and on loan returns. And then there are the experience and determination of Behrami who has renewed and is coming to retreat, while Zajc has not been redeemed by Fenerbahce and does not appear in the plans of the Griffin.
Il Secolo XIX interviewed 2 former rossoblù midfielders for an analysis of the current median and possible market objectives. Mario Bortolazzi wore the rossoblù jersey for 290 games (with 18 goals to his credit), becoming the leader of the team that with Bagnoli reached 4th place and the Uefa cup semifinal. The former director starts from a premise: «These European Championships have shown how important the midfield is in a team. Genoa have good midfielders, but they must find a replacement for Strootman to complete the department ».
The failure to redeem the Dutchman who ended up in Cagliari for Bortolazzi opens a hole in the midfield that will be filled with a graft of equal value: «Strootman leaves a great void for his charisma and his strength in the middle of the field. We saw how important it was for his teammates in the last championship – underlines the former flag of the Grifone – Badelj is an excellent midfielder, Rovella is right to stay another year at Genoa, Behrami is a good player, however, the years they pass for everyone. We need one or two important alternatives that can guarantee the contribution of class and personality that Strootman gave ».
The rossoblù club is following with great attention the 25-year-old Edimilson Fernandes, a Swiss international with a Portuguese passport, owned by Mainz, with a recent past in Fiorentina. And the former rossoblù Juraj Kucka remains among the candidates to replace Strootman: «I don’t know Fernandes very little, while Kucka is no longer very young, but he remains a valid player. His presence on the pitch is felt. It could be an important alternative in a department with 5 or 6 elements ». The same goes for Marco Parolo who freed himself from Lazio and also joined Genoa: «I know him very well, having trained him in Parma – Bortolazzi recalls – he is a serious person and professional. He too is starting to have his years (36 ed), but for a team like Genoa he can be a good alternative ».
If Bortolazzi is waiting for a call to return to coaching with Roberto Donadoni, his former rossoblù teammate Stefano Eranio (250 appearances and 14 goals) is currently engaged in his summer camp in Bagno di Romagna. But from a distance it continues to follow the Griffin. «With Strootman, Badelj and Zajc Genoa had found its balance, now it will have to find it. With the former Roma player all the comrades gave something more. It is difficult to find another Strootman, but Genoa need an experienced player. I really like the Austrian national midfielder Sabitzer who played against Italy: he is a real “meat grinder” (but the Leipzig captain is in the sights of Milan ed). I don’t think Fernandes and Kucka have what it takes to replace Strootman. Kucka on the edge could play more advanced in a position similar to Zajc’s. Word? It is one that gives balance. This type of player can only do good to a team ».
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