Torino may have lost their best centre-back over the summer, and another maybe on his way out, but the club have made significant moves to improve on last season’s 12th place finish.
Kamel Glik was sold to Monaco in July for €11 million, a fantastic return on Torino’s initial €300,000 investment in him. While Nikola Maksimovic, Glik’s central defensive partner, also looks destined to leave, with Chelsea and Napoli hunting his signature.
However, Torino have added quality both on the pitch and in the dugout ahead of Serie A’s kick-off that may limit the team’s losses in 2016-17.
Following Giampiero Ventura’s appointment as Italy national team coach, Torino hired former Sampdoria and AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic. The Serbian was dismissed by Milan last April after a turbulent season as the team’s coach. His ability as a tactician shouldn’t be questioned as he did wonders at Sampdoria before taking the Rossoneri job, guiding the Genovese club to the Europa League. If it wasn’t for the meddling Silvio Berlusconi, Mihajlovic would still be there. Alas, he isn’t, which is to the fortune of Torino.
The team scored 52 goals in Serie A last term – only four sides managed more, and Torino have since added more attacking flair for the new season. Adem Ljajic has been bought from Roma for €8.5m, and while his return of three goals and three assists while on loan at Inter last season wasn’t spectacular, Ljajic’s move to Torino could be what sparks a return to form for the Serbian. It was just two seasons ago that the winger was tallying six to ten goals a season.
The Granata have also added winger Iago Falque from Roma on loan. Falque was reborn in Genoa two seasons ago, which lead to his sale to Roma. Yet, things did not take off for the Spaniard with the capital club, managing just three goals in 27 games. With the pressure off him at Torino, Falque can replicate the form he showed a Genoa when he led them in scoring with 13 goals in 2014-15.
The signing of midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis adds further depth to the side’s midfield and gives it even more bite. Meanwhile, strikers Maxi Lopez and Andrea Belotti will hope to repeat their performances that provided the club with 16 goals between them last term. Belotti, the club’s top scorer (12), is still only 22. The former Palermo striker will be the main man to lead the team’s line, something he will relish this term.
This is not to say the players Torino have lost this summer will not affect them; Glik will not be the only player the club will miss this season. Right-back/wing-back Bruno Peres has signed with Roma, creating another hole in the Granata defence, an area that looks to be Torino’s downfall, and must be addressed by Mihajlovic and company in the last few days of the transfer window. The back-line leaked 55 goals last term, the fifth highest in Serie A. The club must address this issue like it has the attack, or face another 12th place finish.
Should these additions be made, and with the transfer moves that the team has completed thus far, Torino should be considered an outside favourite to qualify for the Europa League. Of course, the Granata will have the Milan clubs to contend with, along with Lazio, Genoa and Fiorentina. Though all five of those clubs have question marks around them, with four of them changing coaches this summer.
Torino have made positive moves in the Mercato, and if they pay off, the club will finish in a Europa League place at the end of the 2016-17 season.