“It’s useless to keep telling me to go away. I’m more tired than anyone else, but a serious buyer has never arrived…if they do, I’ll sell up tomorrow. If they don’t, I must keep going out of responsibility.”
For all of the drama that has surrounded Genoa in recent years in the form of seemingly constant changes of manager, players coming and going and investigations into transfer irregularities, you can’t accuse President Enrico Preziosi of lacking commitment to Italy’s oldest football club.
In 2013, Preziosi stated “Over the last few years I have lost €140m by investing in Genoa…I am ashamed to even admit it [in the context of a global financial downturn that hit Italy particularly hard]”
As a businessman and entrepreneur who built his fortune through Giochi Preziosi, a toy manufacturer, Preziosi has since operated Genoa with an eye on the club’s bottom line. This is certainly evident in Genoa’s dealings in the transfer market as the club have developed somewhat of a reputation for buying low and selling high – giving young players an opportunity to play in Serie A and pique the interest of bigger clubs in the process.
While plusvalenza* is a more revealing lens through which to look at a club’s financial performance than transfer net spend – The Swiss Ramble does an excellent job of deep diving into the specifics of this at http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2012/09/genoa-strange-relationship.html while David Amoyal often speaks about this topic to on his great podcast Calcioland – the club’s net spend does paint a picture of its transfer window machinations.
|Season||Transfer funds IN (millions of Euros)||Transfer funds OUT (millions of Euros)|
Figures from transfermarkt.de
In the process, Genoa have bought and then sold players such as:
|PLAYER||Bought for (millions of Euros)||Sold for (millions of Euros)|
|Stefano Sturaro||Youth Product||9.6m to Juventus|
|Rolando Mandragora||Youth Product||9.0m to Juventus|
|Andrea Bertolacci||1.2m from Roma||8.5m to Roma|
|Stephan El Shaarawy||Youth Product||15.5m to AC Milan|
|Iago Falque||2m from Spurs||7.0m to Roma|
|Leonardo Pavoletti||3m from Sassuolo||18.0m to Napoli|
|Diego Perotti||0.35m from Sevilla||9.0m to Roma|
|Pietro Pellegri||Youth Product||20.9m to Monaco|
|Giovanni Simeone||5.1m from River Plate||17.0m to Fiorentina|
|Krzysztof Piatek||4.5m from Cracovia Krakow||35.0m to AC Milan|
|Diego Laxalt||5.8m from Inter||17.0m to AC Milan|
|Armando Izzo||0.4m from Avellino||9.7m to Torino|
|Mattia Perin||Youth Product||12.0m to Juventus|
|Cristian Romero||4.25m from Belgrano||26.0m to Juventus|
This looks great on the surface but it begs the question – what has this all led to? In recent years, their highest league finish in Serie A was 5th in 2008/09 when the goals of Diego Milito powered them into a European place. Genoa also finished 6th in 2014/15 but aside from that, results have been mediocre at best. The club has bounced around in the bottom half of the table, culminating in a 17th place finish last season.
The Swiss Ramble insightfully made the point that “The awful dilemma for Genoa is that the only thing that keeps the club relatively stable financially is their frenetic player trading, which is also the thing that hurts their chances of progressing on the pitch.” Not much has changed in this regard for Genoa and with Preziosi’s declaration in recent weeks that “We are in negotiations to sell the club and the solidity of the other party is guaranteed” one wonders what the club’s future looks like.
Will the current model continue or will new owners attempt to stabilise the club? Will Genoa’s tenuous grip on a Serie A place relent and cause them to drop to Serie B or will they be able to build on the talent in the squad towards consistent top half of the table finishes?
Either way, Genoa will be a fascinating subplot of the upcoming season and given the rate at which players “break out” at the northern side, here are aheadofthecurva’s list of names to watch at Genoa this year:
Pawel Jarosynski (Left back)
Andrea Pinamonti (Striker)
Andrea Favilli (Striker)
Lorenzo Callegari (Central Midfielder)
Christian Kouame (Striker)
*plusvalenza is much like the English term “capital gains”. For example, if a club brings a player through from its youth academy then sells him for €20m, the plusvalenza is 20m because there was no initial investment in the player in terms of acquiring him.
If that same player is purchased by (let’s say) Roma for €20m on a 4 year contract, the amortized value of the player decreases by €5m each year of the contract (€20m divided by 4 years = €5m per year). Therefore, the player’s amortized value 2 years into that contract would be €10m and if he was then sold at that time for €17m, the plusvalenza would be €7m.