As we roll into the new season, one thing is for certain: Marco Sportiello is the bonafide number one choice between the sticks. His role as second fiddle to Etrit Berisha at Atalanta last season saw his playtime go from consistent to non-existent, with Gasperini favouring the Albanian in what was definitely the right move.
However, this move did nothing to tarnish the excellent reputation Sportiello still has. Berisha's blinding season was an unfortunate circumstance for Sportiello, who had drawn interest from Serie A's big boys the previous year.
Coming in at a lofty 6'3 and hailing from Dezio in Lombardy, the goalkeeper's rise to fame wasn't as straightforward as could first be imagined. After graduating from Atalanta's world-class academy, the Italian was sold in a co-ownership deal to Sereno and later Poggibonsi. After meddling about in the lower leagues his break came in the 2012/13 season when he helped Atalanta clinch promotion. However, last year’s bench-warming was nothing new to Sportiello as he found himself 3rd choice while Andrea Consigli was the number one until the summer of 2014. The 2014/15 season saw his promotion to first choice as a result of Consigli's departure, and since he has proven himself to a be a fine choice between the posts.
Alas, onto Sportiello's current role in the squad. His bit part role last year was largely due to Sousa's preference for Ciprian Tatarusanu. The Romanian was incredibly consistent considering his time in the team. Sportiello's sporadic appearances did nothing to set the world alight, however it was patently clear the Tata was the man of the moment.
The latter's departure to Ranieri's Nantes has left a promising opportunity for Sportiello. Fiorentina's last January window was very impressive, and although being displaced by Berisha, Sportiello's stock is still very high. He is young, Italian, promising and fairly handsome. If Marco manages to do anywhere near as well as Tatarusanu, he will have done what was expected of him. While the rest of the squad is still up in arms, the Goalkeeper position is nailed down; Sportiello is the man.