Sampdoria appoint Di Francesco


Marco Giampaolo joined Milan, but Sampdoria made a splash with their new hiring as they have picked former Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco, who has inked a three-year contract, as announced by the club on Saturday. In the last three seasons, the Blucerchiati finished tenth twice and ninth in the most recent one.

Di Francesco was sacked in March after being eliminated in Champions League’s round of 16 by Porto due to a combination of disappointing results, they were outside of the top four spots, and locker room turmoil. He had led the team to the third position and to a deep run in Europe in his first season in the Italian Capital.

Before moving to Roma, Di Francesco spent five years with Sassuolo, massively contributing to the growth of the team, as he guided them to a promotion in his first year and then managed to turn it into establish a Serie A staple after the initial rocky campaign. In Emilia, he grabbed two 12th positions and one 6th one, in what has been his finest job to date.

Over the years, Di Francesco has usually deployed a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, which do not suit much the current roster as they have just one winger. However, as it is the case in most summers, Sampdoria are set to cash in on few promising youngsters, starting with Joachim Andersen and Dennis Praet, hence gathering the funds to reshape the squad. They have not been shy about making gambles or attention-grabbing purchases under the Massimo Ferrero regime and the current president is poised to remain at the helm despite some recent offers to buy the team. A consortium led by the legend Gianluca Vialli withdrew from the negotiation despite the advanced talks earlier this week.

In the final pressers of last season, Giampaolo questioned the ownership’s ambitions and seemed set to leave even before Milan’s interest arose. The choice of a well-regarded coach like Di Francesco clashes with the former boss’ beliefs, but a lot will depend on the upcoming transfer market window.

The attack will have to be rebuilt around 2018/2019 pichichi Fabio Quagliarella, since Riccardo Saponara and Gregoire Defrel were on loan and, while they still have some time to make a final decision, they are reportedly unlikely to be retained. The Frenchman is coming off a decent season but did not work in Rome under Di Francesco. Their fullbacks and midfielder Karol Linetty should work well in Di Francesco’s system and one of his main tasks will be to revitalize Jakub Jankto, whom they acquired for a considerable sum from Udinese only to see him flop last season.

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