Editor’s note: This post was written by Ryan Scalzo, guest contributor to Ultra Palermo
Andrea Mantovani’s days in Palermo seemed to be numbered.
The former prize possession of Stefano Pioli is on the outside looking in. After Palermo stumbled and dropped to Serie B, Mantovani bolted to Bologna in hopes of reviving his career and getting the opportunity again at first team football in Serie A. Who other than Pioli, Bologna’s coach, thought that Mantovani could find his form and help guide a weak team to salvation? That wasn’t the case though. After a poor season, Bologna was relegated, finishing in 19th place only ahead of Livorno.
Some may say Mantovani’s brightest moment in Rosanero would be his goal at the San Siro, a goal that kick started one of the most exhilarating matches in recent history. From there he has been in a steady decline, most likely due to injury issues. During his time in Sicily, he has missed 29 games due to injury, a startling figure that makes up 76% of a full Serie A season. It is hard to determine whether his decline is due injury alone or just that fact that he is in the twilight of his career.
Following the end to his loan and relegation with Bologna, Mantovani has returned to Palermo. He has been the talk of many rumors over the past couple weeks. The one holding the most truth could be that of the exchange with Sampdoria for Andrea Costa. Both seem to be on the outside looking in on their respectful teams and it does seems like it would make sense as they both play the same role. Palermo should make this deal happen if there is any truth to it. The 30-year-old Mantovani, at this point in his career is nothing more than an average bench player with experience.
Beppe Iachini’s preferred formation of the 3-5-2 is not the optimal one for Mantovani. He is not agile and quick enough to keep in unison with the younger and more athletic members of the back line. With the recent contract renewals of Siniša Anđelković and Milan Milanović it is safe to say Palermo have comparable players of Mantovani’s quality on their roster. Milanovic is a young and raw central defender, who, with work could develop the path that Ezequiel Muñoz has.
Also the addition of Zouhair Feddal coming in from Parma, on loan with the right to redemption has added another hurdle for Mantovani. Zamparini has also gone on record saying he tried to bring in Nicolas Spolli from relegated Catania, but they unwilling to make the deal. Following up with that, Zamparini has granted assurance that another defender will arrive. A few names have been brought up in the past couple weeks, including, Diego Barisone (Argentinos Juniors), Alexis Rolín (Catania), Oscar Duarte (Brugge).
It is safe to say that Andrea Mantovani is on his way out of Palermo. With all the speculation and rumors surrounding his future, Palermo has not made any statements to put an end to the speculation. From what their transactions say and what Zamparini has reiterated, Andrea will be sold. The ambitions are high for Zamparini and Palermo. He wants to take aim and model his club after that of Athletico Madrid. With these sort of lofty ambitions you must yield the old to make way for the new. The future of Palermo is bright, with the additional of quality signings and smart sales; something special could be in the making.