Atalanta’s Progress: By the numbers

Last season, Atalanta sent shock-waves throughout Italian football and qualified for the Champions League, finishing ahead of Italy’s traditional giants Inter, Roma, and Milan among others. Along with European football comes the luxury of a pitfall of cash and unique opportunities for growth that Atalanta have taken full advantage of.

Beyond their Champions League cash, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have been extremely proactive on the transfer market, selling their players for incredible profits. Dejan Kulusevki, for example. The Swedish international has only played three times for them in his entire career and was sold for nearly forty-five million euros. Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers.

According to Calcio e Finanza, Atalanta have already cashed forty million euros from the Champions League and could make more depending on their two-legged affair with Valencia. Given recent form, it’s not entirely improbable they progress to the final eight.

While Champions League money is always welcomed, it’s not as sustainable as other sources of revenue for the club. After all, will they qualify for Europe’s elite competition every season? They’re hoping so, but probably not.

As a result, Atalanta have enacted a model wherein they sell their top-performing young players to Italy’s big clubs after breakout seasons. Kulusevski to Juve, Gagliardini to Inter, Cristante and Mancini to Roma, Conti and Kessie to Milan, and the list goes on. In this sense, they maximize their profits. While certain cases will have them thinking they moved on their players a season too early, that’s always better than feeling they sold a player a season too late.

Just ask Torino’s Urbano Cairo. After Andrea Belotti’s breakout season, Torino reportedly got offers ranging between 50 to 75 million euros for their hitman. Cairo played hard-ball, kept Belotti and has since missed out on a unique rebuilding opportunity by turning down those offers. Today, Belotti won’t fetch anywhere near the previously reported price-tags. Atalanta, on the other hand, have a knack for selling players at the right time. In fact, their track record speaks for itself.  Most of their departed players, bar a few, have struggled to recreate their past form at their new clubs.

According to Transfermarkt’s numbers, the Bergamo-based club are set to cash in a further 110 million euros this season, in addition to Musa Barrow’s reported sale of 20M. That’s 130M on players that have either already been replaced or have never featured regularly for them.

With their squad lacking a few additions to take the next step, it will be interesting to see what Atalanta does with that money. Will they abandon their current philosophy and go for more-experienced players in hopes of making the leap alongside Italy’s elite or will they continue with their own model that has worked wonders for them?

If last transfer window was anything to go by, it will arguably be a mix of both, with a particular focus on experienced players. See: Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskyi. As another transfer window beckons, Atalanta’s activity will be worth monitoring. They have the money and a vision: but can they deliver on it?

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Torino impress as club recovers history

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Torino President Urbano Cairo joyfully surveyed the scene. For fans it’s something they longed to see. On Monday, Cairo pronounced that all proceeds to rebuilding the Stadio Filadelfia had been secured. The new Fila is set to be inaugurated on October 17, exactly 90 years after the first match played at the iconic venue.

The Filadelfia had once housed the Grande Torino side and was last utilised for first-team action in 1963. It since fell into serious disrepair, a crumbling reminder of what once was. Only bits and pieces remained, forcing a vivid imagination to picture the atmospheric Filadelfia in all its glory. As modern Torino sides struggled, it became a symbol of better times.

Cairo called Monday an “historic day” and “the start of a new era”. For years, a Torino President would win over the populace by declaring his ambition to rebuild the stadium. A stream of empty promises went unheeded. Until Cairo.

Torino won’t play first team matches at the new Filadelfia, but it will become the new training centre and play host to youth team matches. “Recovering our tradition is important,” the patron said.

Not far from the Filadelfia is the Stadio Olimpico, where Torino plays its matches. Also on Monday Cairo declared a proposal to rename the venue Stadio Grande Torino, after the legendary 1940s team, had been submitted. It’s something Turin’s Mayor, Piero Fassino, is “absolutely in favour” of. A final decision will be made by the city council soon.

Cairo has been in the news for other reasons too. The current Granata had stumbled through 2016, winning just two matches to the end of March. It culminated in a 4-1 Turin Derby defeat against Juventus. But since returning from the international break Toro have won twice, 2-1 results against Inter and Atalanta. The wins staved off any relegation fears and Torino are now up to 12th.

Cairo is targeting a top half finish. He also wants to hold on to coach Giampiero Ventura. The veteran boss has been linked with a Torino exit, with the soon-to-be vacant Italy job a possibility. “He has a contract for another two years, I want him to stay with us given how well he’s done in the last five years,” the President stated. That includes promotion from Serie B and a return to European football.

These are happier days at Torino. Off the field they are doing much to ensure the indelible history of the club remains front and centre. On the pitch, finishing in the top half for a third successive season would confirm the club’s continued growth.