So, before the transfer window opened this summer, I was quite certain of one thing in particular. We would prioritize a new striker, as what we had just was not good enough if we were to take the step into the top ten the upcoming season. My thought was that we needed a striker that could guarantee 15-20 goals a season.
We now read August on the calendar, and even though we have been one of the most active clubs in Serie A thus far, no new striker is to be seen. Which begs the question, should we be looking for an upgrade on what we have, or do we already have good enough options up front?
During June we were linked with a lot of names, like Christian Kouame, Roberto Inglese, Manolo Gabbiadini and Gregoire Defrel. But links with strikers have faded away of late, as we have seemed to prioritize other areas of the field. We have bought three new defenders in Mattia Bani, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Stefano Denswil, whilst Andreas Skov Olsen and Jerdy Schouten have come to strengthen us further ahead on the pitch.
Now, the players linked with us are midfielders and a backup for Mitchell Dijks at left back, but no strikers. I have assessed the situation, and even though I saw it as an essential upgrade earlier in the summer, I do not think it is the necessity that I earlier thought that it was.
As of now, we have three options up front, if you disregard the option of Diego Falcinelli, a player which will probably leave this summer. Those options are Mattia Destro, Federico Santander and Rodrigo Palacio, three quite different strikers. The three players offer a very different range of skills, something which will be very positive as we can change it up depending on the type of team we play against. This is a fact that was put to me on Twitter as well:
Something which brings me back to my original thought of early June, that a new striker is essential. If one assumes that we continue with the coach’s preferred formation of 4-2-3-1, there is only room for one striker in the starting eleven. We basically have to sell one of them to acquire a new one. Santander was linked with a move to China earlier in the summer, but his agent denied it. Palacio has just signed a new 1-year contract, which leaves Destro. The former Roma-striker has just one year left on his contract, and seems the most likely option if any of the three should leave. Still, he has been said to be motivated to do well in pre-season, and we all witnessed a reinvigorated Destro after Sinisa Mihajlovic took charge in January. If we are to keep the striker, a new contract is essential so we do not end up losing him on a free next summer.
Also, you have the fact that I bought a Destro-kit this spring, which is kind of a waste if he ends up leaving now.
When I asked Twitter who our striker should be in game one of the season against Hellas Verona, this was the result:
The results are not at all unexpected, Palacio has been and remains our best option. Despite his age, he seems as vivid and relentless as ever, and he is undoubtedly our most complete striker and the one who almost always guarantees a solid performance. With him being the kind of striker who can create something by himself, Santander being the physical beast who bullies defenders, while Destro being the fox in the box, we actually have a well-formed attack.
Until next time. And do let me know if you disagree and think we should get a new striker.
Photo: Bologna FC