Saturday, 21 May 2016

Bourne's Player Review 2015/2016

As if customary at the end of each season, I invited Toro fan and author Peter Bourne to review what has been a disappointing season from the Granata.

Daniele Padelli, age 30, 35 appearances (50 goals conceded)

Just six clean sheets all season (not entirely his fault) highlights the unexpected decline of the Toro back line. Remains a liability from free-kicks and the exceptional Padelli save is a rare sight. Thankfully his foot work has marginally improved.

2016-2017 : Contract runs down in 2017, likelihood his position will be pushed more closely next season, possibly by the returning Alfred Gomis. 

Rating: 6/10

Salvador Ichazo, age 24, 3 appearances (5 goals conceded)

Had his chance to oust Padelli indefinitely when Ventura dropped his No 1 after a home defeat against Empoli. Unconvincing displays against Frosinone, Sassuolo and Fiorentina and in his three-game Coppa Italia run out have yet to convince the club that the Uruguayan is the future.

2016-2017 : Perhaps a loan to Spain may be on the cards. Unlikely to be promoted to No 1 next season.

Rating: 5.5/10

Kamil Glik, age 28, 32 appearances (0 goals)

Following a monumental 2014-15 season, this was a fall from grace although not as disastrous as most people have pointed out. No goals following eight crucial strikes last year had an impact on results but it was Glik’s defending which regressed, noticeably a lack of concentration and a tendency to get drawn into needless fouls (ten yellow cards).

2016-2017 : Had seemed likely to leave last summer. The club may now seek to cash in on the captain. After 171 appearances, he will be missed for his commitment and instrumental role in the team’s revival. Has been a credit to the club. Destination England or Germany.

Rating: 5/10

Nikola Maksimovic, age 24, 16 appearances (0 goals)

Technically the best centre-back at the club and a player of great potential. A metatarsal injury sustained on international duty ruled him out for three months and on his return he struggled in a porous defence to to find any consistency.

2016-2017 : Would be foolish to sell Glik and Maksimovic (don’t rule it out) during the same summer. Makismovic’s value has taken a dent this year and the club may seek to rebuild his market value next year. More likely to stay than Glik. Especially now his mentor Sinisa Mihajlovic is being lined up as Ventura’s replacement.

Rating: 5/10

Gaston Silva, age 22, 12 appearances (0 goals)

17 Serie A appearances in two years is a disappointing return for the young Uruguayan. By the end of this campaign, there were small shoots of progress. Playing out of position as a left wing-back does him no favours but as a left-sided centre half has a future. Just needs to oust the evergreen Emiliano Moretti.

2016-2017 : May depend on the identity of coach and his formation. Is likely to stay and push Moretti closer for a starting birth. It will be his last call.

Rating: 5.5/10

Pontus Jansson, age 24, 7 appearances (1 goal)

For Jansson read Silva. 16 appearances in two years. While Moretti is in front of Silva, Jansson is understudy to Glik. The Swede has suffered from playing a bit part role. Is powerful and commanding but positional play and mobility issues remain unanswered. His goal in Udine was the most Kamil Glik moment of the season. Good enough to replace Glik? Doubtful.

2016-2017 : Handed a Euro 2016 call-up which was slightly surprising. He will be an interested observer of departures and arrivals but may trigger a desire for more first team football.

Rating: 5.5/10

Cesare Bovo, age 33, 21 appearances (2 goals)

First choice cover at centre-back, injuries bolstered his appearance column. Probably as consistent as any Toro defender. The free-kick specialist who never scores free-kicks managed a belting goal in the Turin derby and a crucial winner in Bergamo. Looked less composed towards the season’s close.

2016-2017 : Just one season left on his deal, unlikely to be anything more than back-up next year.

Rating: 6/10

Emiliano Moretti, age 34, 35 appearances (1 goal)

Mr Consistent, only one game skipped through injury, just four yellow cards and an Italy debut at the age of 34. Appeared infected by the defensive malaise by the spring. Still a calm, assured presence but not getting any younger.

2016-2017 : In a three-man defence will probably start next year as a regular. In a two-man defence, unlikely to be mobile enough.

Rating: 6/10

Danilo Avelar, age 26, 6 appearances (0 goals)

Left back, a position the club just can’t get right. Avelar was supposed to fill the berth in 2015-16. 195 minutes into the season a busted knee ruled him out until the New Year. Until then he had looked impressive, at least in the final third. On his return he looked unfit and unreliable and further knee trouble ruled him out for the season.

2016-2017 : Providing he returns to fitness, is definitely worth a second chance.
Rating: 5.5/10

Cristian Molinaro, age 32, 27 appearances (1 goal)

Molinaro is Molinaro. An honest enough professional who alternates between steady performances, the odd skillful run and then the brain fart in the final third. Guilty of poor game management (two red cards for quick-fire second bookings) and too many reckless penalty area interventions. That said, his goal at the San Siro worthy of respect.

2016-2017 : Contract runs down in a year. As back-up he may stay, but if Molinaro starts next year as first choice left-back we are in trouble.

Rating: 6/10

Bruno Peres, age 26, 31 appearances (3 goals)

Signed for next to nothing, he’s probably a 10-15 million euro asset. Credit to Petrachi for that. Defensively a liability and gives the ball a way in an industrial quantity, but going forward, in a team short of midfield creativity, is the key asset. Dynamic, unpredictable, commits defenders. Not as stellar as his breakthrough year, but still one of the better performers. And like Matteo Darmian a year earlier, was often forced to play out on the left.

2016-2017: Feeling is he sees himself at a Champions League club.Toro need to guard against selling all the crown jewels but personally I’d be surprised if Peres is still in granata next autumn.

Rating: 7/10

Davide Zappacosta, age 23, 25 appearances (1 goal)

I remember reading an interview with Zappacosta in his Atalanta days when he professed to being a juventino. When Toro signed him I had a few doubts about how he would settle. They remain. In his defence, Ventura rarely afforded him a consistent run of 90 minutes. In the final third he has the pace and trickery to cause defensive issues. On the other hand, his crossing is abysmal and has a tendency to get caught in possession.

2016-2017 : The theory is that this was his adaption season before he replaces Bruno Peres full-time. Still remains a theory.

Rating: 5/10

Alessandro Gazzi, age 33, 15 appearances (0 goals)
There’s a lot to like about Alessandro Gazzi. He’s hard working, reliable and gets on with it. However, he is no longer good enough for a team with aspirations of the top eight. This year seemed to mark a decline and a continued reliance on annoying tactical fouls.

2016-2017 : Looked set to move to Serie B last summer and despite having a year left on his contract, seems destined to move on.

Rating: 5.5/10

Giuseppe Vives, age 35, 31 appearances (1 goal)

At 35, the Senator is still knocking out 30 plus league appearances. For the fifth season in a row. 160 appearances now in total. There’s an argument to be said the club have failed miserably in finding an upgrade yet Vives remains one of few players capable of playing a constructive long ball and his influence on the team is crucial.

2016-2017 : One year left on his deal and every chance he’ll feature next season as the only player still on the books from the promotion campaign. One would expect he’d make fewer than 30 appearances.

Rating: 6.5/10

Daniele Baselli, age 24, 34 appearances (4 goals)
His season finished in the 67th minute against Palermo in late September. Injured, he hobbled off and missed a month. A week later Toro lost to Carpi when presented with the chance to go top of the league. Until then Baselli had delivered four goals and was arguably the best player in the league. On his return, he was an inconsistent and often anonymous. Would love to see him in a more advanced role. Doubts whether Ventura coached the skill out of him.

2016-2017 : Needs a summer off and faces a key season. We will see the Baselli who bossed midfield last autumn, or the pale cousin who featured for most of the season ?

Rating: 5.5/10

Marco Benassi, age 22, 32 appearances (3 goals)

The club acted swiftly to buy out his contract from Inter after a season of highs and lows, but largely positive. This season the one high was the stellar goal against Palermo. Has goals in him but his decision making is erratic and has a tendency to fade in games. Still bags of potential.

2016-2017 : Likely to be a key asset in midfield next season. After two seasons of finding his feet, he’ll need to assume more responsibility.

Rating: 6/10

Afriyie Acquah, age 24, 29 appearances (2 goals)

A player I really strive to like. Looked set to introduce welcome energy and verve to a stale midfield. Has provided bursts of this but too many feeble performances characterised by agricultural technique and some of the worst delivery from wide areas you’ll ever see. Needs to improve.

2016-2017 : Under a long contract and a potentially a key asset in certain type of matches but needs a coach to hone some of the raw elements in his game.

Rating: 5.5/10

Joel Obi, age 24, 10 appearances (1 goal)

Lost four months of the season through injury. Never got going in the autumn. A wild tackle (so late it could have been made in 1974) in what seems to have been a defining match against Palermo, cost him a lengthy ban too. In the spring, looked hesitant when called upon until some commanding displays (notably in Rome) which suggested a technically gifted player capable of carrying the ball.

2016-2017 : Hopefully free of injuries in 2016-17 as looks to have the skill set missing in the squad.

Rating: 6/10

Alexander Farnerud, age 32, 5 appearances (0 goals)

After two steady seasons, the Swede missed most of this one through a cruciate injury. Managed just five appearances over 90 minutes. Didn’t looked fit in any of them.

2016-2017 : Out of contract and will definitely be free to move on. Some good memories especially in the Europa League qualification campaign.

Rating: 5/10

Josef Martinez, age 22, 21 appearances (3 goals)

Finally a steady run of games once the season had nothing to offer. A fine display in Udine (when the home side failed to show up) shouldn’t mask a disappointing campaign. At times unlucky, other times imprecise, but generally unreliable in front of goal. Probably should have spent the season out on loan.

2016-2017 : Unlikely to be anything better than fourth choice again next year. Perhaps a season as a first choice in Serie B may not be a bad thing?
Rating: 5.5/10

Ciro Immobile, age 26, 14 appearances (5 goals)

Returned surprisingly and to much fanfare following the acrimonious demise of Fabio Quagliarella. Ciro was probably too eager to please. Arrived at a time when Andrea Belotti exploded, which resulted in the ex-Borussia man being pushed wider than he’d like. Created a good partnership with Belotti, provided a few exceptional performances and then limped out of the season during the Turin derby. Still has a tendency to run down dark allies with his head down.

2016-2017 : The club should do everything to sign him and form a lasting partnership with Belotti. My feeling is they’ll try and renegotiate the price and somebody else (Lazio, Napoli) may swoop in.

Rating: 6/10

Andrea Belotti, age 22, 35 appearances (12 goals)

The one breakout player this season despite scoring just once before Christmas. The arrival of Immobile coincided with Belotti finding confidence. Never stops working defenders and extremely adept at finding space in the six yard box. At 22, still raw but displays great calm from the penalty spot.

2016-2017 : Will start next season as a first choice.

Rating: 7/10

Maxi Lopez, age 32, 26 appearances (4 goals)

A wasted season from the continued public saga with his ex-wife to issues about his lifestyle and weight. If the rumours are true he weighed over 100 kilos some four months into the season then serious questions need to be raised. The third best striker on the books yet Toro are always a better team when he plays. Holds the ball up intelligently and when in the mood is a quality target man.

2016-2017 : Despite signing an extension to his contact, unlikely to be part of the squad given the way the final months of the season panned out.

Rating: 5.5/10

A mention to…. Fabio Quagliarella sold to Sampdoria after 18 bizarre months where he refused to celebrate a single goal against any of his many former clubs including the first derby winner in 20 years. The debacle at Napoli and his perceived joking with Juventus players during the 4-0 Coppa Italia defeat signalled his departure. Third choice keeper Luca Castellazzi never featured and now retires. Ukranian Vasyl Primya was offloaded to Frosinone after ten minutes of first team action. Sanjin Prcic looked timid following his arrival from Rennes but has done well enough on loan at Perugia. Amauri’s inglorious time at the club ended during the winter transfer window and given five minutes of action Simone Edera is first member of the title winning youth team to play for the first team. Too little.

Giampiero Ventura

After three positive seasons (promotion, Europa League qualification, the Europa League campaign), one so-so season (Serie A survival, albeit with an average squad), this season was undoubtedly Ventura’s worst. Is locked into a 3-5-2 formation which everyone has figured out and has shown very little tactical flexibility or evolution. Whatever the situation, he almost never sacrifices one of his three centre-backs. Too many matches were approached in a passive way, against the bigger clubs too often Toro start beaten or in awe of their opponents, and the level of football (considering the investment made) was the worst we’ve seen. An over-reliance on the counter-attack or inspiration from Bruno Peres. Ventura has done a great job, but this year’s he has given the impression of going through the motions. Time to move on Ace. Destination Azzurri.


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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