Serie A Preview: Atalanta

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

After a fairly quite campaign in which they once again exceeded all expectations, Atalanta had quite a summer with the fans protesting against the transfer of Cristian Vieri (pictured) from Fiorentina.

Apart from signing Vieri, Atalanta have done very well in signing the promising Luca Cigarini from Parma – it makes a change from seeing your own best young players continuously sold off – as well as taking Alessio Cerci on loan from Roma.

Otherwise, their only other highlight has been trying to fend off clubs wanting to take Sergio Floccari with the striker who came to the fore last season heavily interesting both Genoa and Palermo. As always with Atalanta, a substantial bid by any one of those two will see the striker go.

Last season was a significant one for Gigi Del Neri who finally managed to put together his reputation that had been shredded by a series of unlucky job choices. With a squad that seems stronger than last season and Atalanta’s perennial ability to produce talented young players, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them pushing on for a place in Europe.

Key Man: With Atalanta, there is only one option: Cristian Doni. The midfielder probably should have done more with his talent but try saying that in Bergamo where he is a living legend and with reason. Goalscorer, goal creator, team captain and a player who gives his all, he has been Atalanta’s outstanding player of the past decade.

Best bit of business: He was expected to join Juventus but for some that deal fizzled out. So instead Luca Cigarini has joined Atalanta hopeful of building on his fine showings for Parma last season.

Keep an eye out for… Michele Marconi. The latest to emerge from Atalanta’s youth scheme, Marconi made his debut towards the end of last season and Del Neri clearly has a lot of faith in him. The nineteen year old scored his first goal in the Coppa Italia first round win over Modena and with Vieri’s injury and Floccari’s possible departure, he could be getting his chance earlier than expected.

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