Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bourne's Player Review 2014/15 : Defenders

Cesare Bovo 6.5/10
32, Central defender
21 appearances

Another injury-hit season for the first choice replacement for Glik-Maksimovic-Moretti. Lacks the pace - and to an extent the quality - of the first choice back line but is an experienced, reliable performer. Amazing one of his thunderbolt free-kicks have never hit the back of the net.

Future: Copy, paste from 2014-15

Matteo Darmian 8/10
25, Right/left-back
46 appearances (5 goals)

Toro did well to hang on to Darmian after his emergence on the international scene at the 2014 World Cup. Not so lucky in the summer of 2015 but the time had come, the price about right. Always consistent, defensively sound, the World Cup gave him confidence and he added a goal threat and greater verve to his attacking play in 2014-15. Italy’s finest right-back played most of the Serie A season at left-back given the arrival of Bruno Peres, but shone in his true position in the Europa League. The crucial goal in Bilbao his signature Granata moment (together with the equaliser in the triumphant derby). Shame to see part of the original Ventura squad leave, but we wish a true gentleman and servant buona fortuna.

Future: Manchester United

Kamil Glik 8.5/10
27, Central defender
44 appearances (8 goals)

2014-15 was the season when Glik moved from Granata cult-hero to internationally-revered centre-back. The healthy return of goals helped (mainly headers from well-worked corners) but do not speak alone. His leadership shone, his tackling is cleaner, better timed, distribution excellent. One of few foreign players to truly understand the Granata ethos and an true captain.

Future: Interest is high and Glik would naturally be suited to the money markets of England or Germany. The club may need to adjust its wage cap to keep captain Glik

Pontus Jansson 6.5/10
24, Central defender
16 appearances

The closest member of the squad to Glik in terms of physicality, the Swedish international largely impressed when called upon despite never gaining a consistent run in the side. Foreign defenders always need some time to adjust to Serie A but Jansson performed admirably, aside from a shaky performance away at Cesena.

Future: Definitely has a future at the club but will be looking to gain more playing time in 2015-16 perhaps with one eye on Glik’s future

Nikola Maksimovic 7.5/10
23, Central defender
37 appearances

The most skilful of the centre-backs, sometimes to his cost with over-elaboration in possession. However, many an attack was launched with a Maksimovic through ball. Quick on the ground, good anticipation, strong in the air, he has a future as a 15-20 million euro player. One of the next to leave but Toro will be keen on retaining his services (see Peres) for another year.

Future: The sharks are circulating. Will depend on club’s faith in gaining a higher price further down the line.

Salvatore Masiello no vote
33, Left-back
2 appearances

Out of contract last summer, this Ventura stalwart was surprisingly given a renewal mainly to act as cover during the uncertainty in the early months of the season (Europa League backlog, doubts over Bruno Peres transfer). He featured for just 115 minutes.

Future: After three and a half seasons and just 37 appearances, released

Cristian Molinaro 6.5/10
31, Left-back
38 appearances (1 goal)

Probably not the most inspired signing as the club once again papered over the cracks of the problem left-back position. Molinaro joined the ranks of mid-2000s Juventus players in the Toro ranks (Moretti, Nocerino, Amauri, Quagliarella). Served as the first alternative to Peres-Darmian and acted as first choice left-back in the Europa League campaign. A willing worker, with good pace, defensively sound what lets him down consistently is his final ball/decision making.

Future: The club have decided to extend their rapport with Molinaro who will again likely be a left-back reserve in 2015-16

Emiliano Moretti 8/10
34, Central defender
47 appearances (2 goals)

Another piece of Ventura magic, reinvigorating an experienced/skilful defender discarded by Genoa two years ago and turning him into Italy’s oldest debutant international. Moretti was outstanding throughout the season: brave, classy and a reassuring presence. His standout moment was the deserved, the injury time winner at the San Siro against Inter.

Future: Will be a focal point of the defence in 2015-16 but will be aware of the pressure put on by younger members of the squad

Bruno Peres 7/10
25, Right-back
34 appearances (3 goals)

Perhaps the vote is a little stingy considering he scored Toro’s first derby goal since 2002, and arguably one of the club’s greatest Serie A strikes. When Peres was hot, he was unstoppable. Ask Sampdoria when he inspired the 5-1 mauling and even suffered the wrath of Ventura for toying with the opposition. Pacy, direct, skilful, he improved markedly defensively in second half of the season. There were perhaps just too many pale performances, particularly away from home. Unlucky to miss out on the Europe League campaign.

Future: YouTube moments have inflated his price tag and caught the attention of the big six (notably Roma). Club may want to hang on to him for another season to monetise further but the sensation is he may leave if the price is right.

Gaston Silva 6/10
21, Central defender/left-back
9 appearances (1 goal)

The youngest of the Toro backline and already a full Uruguayan international (and part of their 2015 Copa America squad). Despite being eligible for the Europa League his appearances were fleeting. A double-edge sword. Early on the season looked nervous and clumsy but was not given the run of games to build confidence. Towards the end of the season was afforded more time and looked to have settled in Italy.

Future: All being well, the heir to Moretti as the left-sided centre back. 2015-16 likely to be a big break through season.

Season 2015-2016: Any arrivals will depend on sales. The dream is to keep Glik-Maksimovic-Moretti as first choice with Bovo-Jansson-Silva as alternatives. Any sale may hasten the responsibility put on the young Swede or Uruguayan. At full-back Davide Zappacosta and Danilo Avelar look like interesting additions and will probably begin as first choice depending on the future of Bruno Peres. Molinaro will act as cover.

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.

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