July has come and (almost) gone and we are soon into August, with the first official game of the season only twelve days from now, when Bologna take on Cosenza in the Coppa Italia. After that game, there is only six more days til the league opener versus Lazio. The question is – are the club ready and in a strong position to kick off a new season?
Yesterday broke the news that Arthur Theate is on his way to Stade Rennais, after the French side having their bid of 20 million + two million in bonuses accepted by Bologna. After having seen both Aaron Hickey and Mattias Svanberg leave, although both were expected to leave, Theate comes as a surprise exit. Given that the club directors Sartori and Fenucci having gone on record saying that no other first team players were to leave, one can begin to wonder.
Theate leaving hurts very much. Having already received good money for the two aforementioned players, one would think that a bid in the region of 20 millions is not a bid the club see too good to not accept. Theate was one of our best players last year, and it would not be a surprise if the French side flip him to a better team for double that in a year or two.
In the wake of the transfer, I got a lot of stick on Twitter for saying that by selling Theate, Bologna are preparing themselves for a relegation battle. We may not need to worry about going down, but player for player, position for position, Bologna are a much weaker side than the team that went into last season.
At that time we had Takehiro Tomiyasu, a player who still has not been adequately replaced. Hickey is gone, and replaced by Andrea Cambiasso. A fine player, and hopefully he’ll fill the role in a good manner, but Hickey is very difficult to replace. We have also replaced Svanberg with Lewis Ferguson, a player which I have high hopes for, but who will need time to adapt to Italy.With Theate also leaving, Bologna are very exposed going into a new season, especially defensively.
All summer we have seen rumors of Bologna going for a striker to challenge Arnautovic, but the transfer has taken time. Now the club also has to find at least one strong option in central defence, ideally two players, in a short space of time. We simply cannot go into the new season with Adama Soumaoro and Kevin Bonifazi as our only senior, naturally central defenders.
I get that Bologna are a club that need to sell players to buy new ones, and that when bigger clubs come knocking, players are tempted to greener pastures. But the line must be drawn somewhere. Having already gone on record saying no more sales, and then to sell Theate, sends a message. Our players are, in fact, for sale for the right price. Knowing that a player like Arnautovic have drawn interest from clubs both in Italy and abroad, one would expect those clubs to try again before the transfer window closes.
Having already sold for roughly 25 million euros, with 20 millions more to come from the sale of Theate, it is now up to Sartori to find the players that can strengthen Bologna to reach the goals that Joey Saputo at one time set. A Bologna in the upper half of the table.
PHOTO: Bologna FC