Tuscan Dreams depend on the return of a 21 year old Montenegran?
The subtractions have been well documented.
Mutu gone. Frey gone.
Mario Santana, Gaetano D'agostino, Marco Donadel and Gianluca Comotto, all gone.
Sure, we got a new defender in Romulo. Lazzari and Munari might help, but as of now, the biggest addition looks like it's going to be the return of Ted's Precious.
No word from management on the Montolivo situation means that, as of now, Riccardo is still our starting central midfielder, Lame Duck or no, and, since Coach Mihajlovic has to go with the team he has, we'll do the same here.
His current formation of choice is a 4-3-3.
Neto has had a less than impressive training camp, giving up a goal in a friendly and almost giving up another in an inter sqaud match, so it would be likely that we'll stick with Boruc as the starter for the first half of the season, at least. I'd expect Neto to play the Coppa Italia matches.
Capitano Gamberini will anchor a line that is both old and young. Gnarled veteran Natali will vie with youngster Nastasic for the other central position, at least until Per Krolrup and Michele Camporese get healthy and in shape. On the wings, Manuel Pasqual looks to return to the left and newcomer Romulo and Lorenzo Di Silvestri will fight it out for the right. Right now, the backup would be Felipe, God help Us. Recently promoted Cristiano Piccini and Nikola Gulan will be a backups as well.
Until sold, Montolivo will anchor the midfield, with Valon Behrami out on the right. On the left could be newcomer Andrea Lazzari or Juan Manuel Vargas. Gianni Munari and Amidu Salifu are the likely back ups.
With Vargas on Copa America duty, Fiorentina have been playing a forward trident of Jovetic, Gilardino and Cerci. Marchionni has been Cerci's backup and Adem Ljajic has been backing up Jovetic. Babacar, despite loan rumors, has remained the Vice Gila.
It remains to be seen just where Sinisa plans to put Vargas, either left midfielder or left forward. If Vargas plays forward, than I expect Jovetic would move to the right. Ljajic would back up a forward playing Vargas, Cerci, if not sold, would be Jojo's back up.
The Big Friendly
The team goes to England to meet Newcastle United in the only friendly we have with what's considered a major squad Saturday. The game is not televised live in Italy, and I can't find a listing of streams, so it might be dark everywhere. I'm also having trouble finding the exact time, I think it's 1600 GMT, which would be noonish, eastern time, i think.
The big news this off-season for Newcastle has been an ongoing Soap Opera with last seasons assist leader, Joey Barton.
During a contract dispute, Barton made ill-advised Twitter comments. Barton's comment, "If only we as players could tell the fans exactly how it is, without them above fining us lots of money. There will be a time and a place.'' obviously earned him a fine from management, which he refused to pay. He was then placed on the free transfer list, where he has stayed as apparently, no one wants him. The last few days, both player and Newcastle coach, Alan Pardew has softened their stance and hinted at a possible return.
The Main Magpie goal scorer from last season, Kevin Nolan is NOT back for the squad. (thanks toon fans)
Newcastle welcomes Arsenal in the EPL opener next Saturday, the 13th, so they would hope to be a few weeks ahead of us in their training. Mihajlovic has said that the result is not the most important thing in this match for him, but that, as always, he wants us to do well.
With Vargas not back from South America and Cerci being punished, I'd expect a formation something like:
Lorenzo Di Silvestri/Romulo-Gamberini-Natali-Pasqual
The Weather Report shows periods of Heavy Rain in the afternoon tomorrow with temperatures of around 62F (17C).
Since our lads have been training in high 80s, low 90s (30ish), it might be a welcome break.