Friday, 18 July 2014

Torino learn Europa League opponents

Torino will face either IF Brommapojkarna from Sweden or Crusaders FC from Northern Ireland in the Europa League third qualifying round.

With Brommapojkarna 4-0 up following the first leg of their tie with Crusaders on Thursday, it is almost certain that the Granata will be facing the Swedish side in their first taste of European football in nearly twenty years.

The Stockholm-based side only qualified for the Europa League via the fair play league, as they only finished 13th in their domestic league last season. This season, they are currently bottom of the Swedish Allsvenskan having only won once in fourteen matches - although as they are in the middle of their domestic season, they may be fitter than their Italian rivals who have yet to complete their pre-season fixtures.

Torino will know their opponents for certain on the 24th July, and will then play the two legs of this tie on the following two Thursdays - the 31st July and 7th August.

Quagliarella returns to Toro

Torino have completed the signing of Fabio Quagliarella from rivals Juventus for a fee in the region of €3 million euros - nine years after the leaving the club after bankruptcy.

Quagliarella scored seven times in thirty-eight appearances in his first spell with the Granata, the team he started his career with. Since leaving, Quagliarella has become one the best Italian strikers of his generation, with a reputation of scoring spectacular goals during his spells at Sampdoria, Udinese, Napoli and Juventus.

The Italian international has won twenty-five caps for his country, with the highlight undoubtedly being this spectacular goal in the 2010 World Cup against Slovakia.

Welcome Back to Torino Fabio!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Nocerino joins Torino

Torino added another reinforcment ahead of the new season by completing the signing of Antonio Nocerino on loan from AC Milan this evening.

Former Italy international Nocerino spent part of last season on loan at Premier League side West Ham United and can also count Juventus and Palermo amongst his former clubs.

Nocerino (whose wife is a Torino supporter) had been a main transfer target for the Granata this summer, but it was believed his high salary could scupper any deal. However, it is believed that AC Milan will now contribute to Nocerino's wages and that meant the deal accelerated quickly on Tuesday evening.

Welcome to Torino Antonio!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Torino Transfer Update

Ahead of their Europa League campaign which will start at the end of July, the Torino players arrived back for pre-season training yesterday.

In addition to Josef Martinez, Pontus Jansson and Cristian Molinaro who all confirmed signing for the Granata earlier this month, Toro have today announced two further additions.

Omar El Kaddouri has returned to the club following a successful loan spell last season, whilst Inter midfielder Marco Benassi (who was with Livorno last season) has signed on a co-ownership deal.

Whilst not yet official, Torino are also expected to completed moves for Brazilian defender Bruno Peres, Argentine Juan Sanchez Mino and Spanish midfielder Ruben Perez in the coming weeks.

Forza Toro

Monday, 23 June 2014

Torino FC Awards 2013/2014 : The Results

After an excellent season for Torino which culminated in a slighty fortuitous qualification for the Europa League. Please see a round up for the player of the season awards below.

Player of the SeasonCiro Immobile
A sensational debut (and final) season as Ciro Immobile was crowned Capocannoniere and earnt himself a move to Champions League side Borussia Dortmund. After defeat against Costa Rica in the World Cup, the Italian national team may also look to the talents of the former Pescara man.
Signing of the Season : Nikola Maksimovic
A pleasant surprise in the transfer market, Maksimovic looked at home whether it be as a centre back or as a full back. Fingers crossed that Gianluca Petrachi can find a few more hidden gems in this transfer window.
Surprise of the Season : Giuseppe Vives
For a player who wasn't expected to play much of a part in this season, Vives succeeded in rolling back the years to become one of Toro's first names on the team sheet. Another surprise may be that he isn't actually Nicola Bellomo's father (seriously, they looked almost identical at times last season).

Goal of the Season : Alessio Cerci v Genoa
Ciro Immobile is extremely hard done by, as his stunning volley against Roma doesn't win this award, but I can't ever remember celebrating as much as I did this one by Cerci. Trailing 1-0 at home to Genoa, injury time goals from Immobile and then a cracker from Cerci gave them an unexpected victory.
A reminder of all the best goals scored by Toro this season can be seen below.

Bourne's Player Review : Attackers

In order to celebrate what has been an excellent season, I invited Torino fan Peter Bourne to discuss each member of the member, with a focus on which players should be retained for next season.

Paulo Barreto (BRA, 28), 11 appearances (NO GOALS), vote 5
A player Toro pursued for over a year before landing him from Udinese last January, and one who has never justified the courting. In the second half of last season he was returning to full fitness and showed some flashes of the talent he displayed at Treviso and Bari. In theory, mobile and a clinical finisher, he was expected to kick on. His 7 game calcioscommesse ban (see Gazzi) seemed to knock his confidence and maybe motivation in pre-season. On his return, he featured in four games and then (like Gazzi) disappeared. Only five starts, no goals, one assist (v Lazio), and a cursed penalty won (away at Fiorentina), the biggest criticism of Barreto is his lack of presence and physical fragility.
Verdict: Has not justified Ventura’s faith; is one of the few signings not to have come off and is apparently keen on returning to Udinese and then moving on somewhere new. The arrival of Josef Martinez suggests Barreto’s time has come.

Alessio Cerci (ITA, 26), 37 appearances (13 goal), vote 8
Toro’s talisman going into the season following an excellent end to his debut season in Turin. Eight goals and some virtuoso performances earned him a non-playing role in Italy’s Confederations Cup squad. Cerci was perhaps the player most forced to adapt in Ventura’s new 5-3-2 system. No longer could he hug the right flank and cut in on his left side. So it seemed. His first goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Sassuolo saw him do exactly that.  In the first third of the campaign he scored most of his 13 goals; against Milan, Verona and Roma he produced genuine centre forward finishes. Then Ciro Immobile hit form and Cerci found himself in a support role. His assist tally began to multiply as the goals dried up. The Cerci-Immobile partnership defined Toro’s season and while they could be scintillating, it was Immobile who benefited most. I sometimes felt Cerci suffered not being the main man. For example, when Immobile was suspended against Cagliari, Cerci gave one of his best performances in the second half of the season.  His season ended in tears with that poorly hit penalty in Florence which seemed to end hopes of Europa League football. He deserved better but his penalty taking generally was weak. Ventura has really got the best out of the player, he has improved his final ball, consistency and discipline.
Verdict: Does he need to move on, to make the next step? Perhaps. However, Europa League football and the bond created with the tifosi following his penalty miss may play a part in seeing him stay another season. Will Ventura again reinvent a role for Cerci? Remains at his best out wide and running into space.

Ciro Immobile (ITA, 24), 33 appearances (22 goal), vote 8,5
Without wishing to sound wise after the event, he was always going to be a good signing. He looked great at Pescara and his failed season at Genoa always looked like as case of being mistreated at the wrong club. Immobile took a while to shine but once he scored his first goal in week 7 at Sampdoria, he practically scored every week, and everyway: bullet headers, close range, volleys, opportunistic strikes, breakaway finishes and no penalties. Almost everything he touched came off. Mobile (not going to make a pun), energetic, hardworking and not scared to fail, he became the first Toro player to top the Serie A scoring chart since Paolo Pulici in 1977. There was the odd horrific miss and a touch of overconfidence plus (read Cerci) his season ended in a unjust manner with the sending off at home to Parma. It will turn out to be his last appearance in a Toro shirt. His goal away at Roma will live with me for a long time.
Verdict: Not much of one as Immobile has already signed for Borussia Dortmund. I still don’t understand why the club didn’t buy out his entire contract from Juventus last summer (as was promised) and consequently Toro were victims of Juve’s desire to sell Immobile on the relative cheap before the World Cup (a strange idea). In the end Toro get a mere 10 million euros for a player who scored 22 goals, is 24 years old and now an Italian international. They won’t replace him easily with that sort of money.

Marcelo Larrondo (ARG, 25), 5 appearances (1 goal), vote 6
223 minutes of football, just one start and unavailable for 28 weeks of the season due to injury, it is hard to pass judgement on Marcelo Larrondo, signed on loan from Siena. His one start witnessed some wayward finishing in the defeat at Atalanta before a week later the unfortunate foot injury sustained in injury time in the ill-fated draw with Milan effectively ended his season. Larrondo’s only notable contribution thereafter was a goal in the final week draw in Florence. We’ve seen too little of Larrondo to pass judgement.
Verdict: Seems the club may be interested in taking a closer look. Larrondo may add an aerial presence and fresh legs in three competitions next year.

Riccardo Meggiorini (ITA, 28), 34 appearances (NO GOALS), vote 6
3 goals in 31 appearances last season; 0 in 34 this campaign; 7 in 85 appearances for the Granata. Pretty poor stats for a full-back, woeful for a striker. Meggiorini’s teammates call him ‘palo’ such is his talent for hitting the woodwork, or indeed anything rather than the back of the net. A couple of caveats. Meggiorini only started 7 matches this season, a fair share of his substitute appearances were with matches already won; and despite his tag as ‘forward’, Meggiorini is often used by Ventura as the first line of defence, harassing the opposition playmaker or centre backs, creating space for his teammates. Often he has featured against the better teams for this reason. That’s not to defend his stats, he has had plenty of opportunities to break his duck, but has been denied by a mix of wonderful goalkeeping (home v Roma) and awful finishing (away v Chievo). The fact remains that Meggiorini is barely at home in Serie A and on the one occasion when he needed to start as a forward (away at Fiorentina), he was found wanting. Has caught as many headlines this season for his frequent Twitter outbursts (notably his lament about Stefano Mauri of Lazio)
Verdict: Has been a loyal disciple of Ventura and often tactically useful. However, out of contract and with the team taking on a new dimension, its time for Meggio to move on. Chievo are knocking on the door.

Overall Verdict: Unlikely the club will find another Immobile in a hurry so the goals need to be spread more evenly (including from midfield). There are few guarantees beyond Cerci if he stays. Barreto and Meggiorini will move on, Larrondo may be back up and nothing else. Josef Martinez has arrived from Young Boys but is likely to need a season to settle. The two strikers coming in need to be capable of 12-15 goals each.

For more from Peter you can follow him on Twitter here and his book about his experiences following Torino can still be purchased from Amazon here.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Martinez makes Granata move

The job to build a squad capable of competing in the Europa league has begun already, as today, Torino unveiled the signing of Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez from Swiss side Young Boys.

At only 21 years of age Martinez has plenty of potential, and he impressed on loan at FC Thun this season where he scored eight goals, before returning to Young Boys in January.

Torino are expected to sign two more South American players, with Juan Sanchez Mino from Boca Juniors and Bruno Peres from Santos apparently close to making the move to the Granata.