Steinkelsson in Salerno: Dare to Dream (2020/21) 2.2

Europe awaits Salernitana as Steinkelsson lead Salernitana to their best ever finish in Serie A.

The side from Salerno ensured the Salernitani dared to dream as Steinkelsson’s side went into the last game of the season with Champions League football still mathematically possible.

Calcio Mercato – In

Bruno Méndez

Bruno Méndez started his career at Montevideo Wanderers FC in 2016, breaking intot the first-team in 2017 and making 27 league appearances. In February 2019 he joined Sport Club Corinthians Paulista for £2.7m, making a total of 48 league appearances. 


During his time at the clun Méndez lifted the Brazilian São Paulo State Championship and also gained his single cap for Uruguay in a game against Brazil in November 2018. 


Méndez is renowned for his physical presence and ability to read the game, it was these traits along with the potential for the 21 year olds ability to develop into a top class Serie A defender which lead to his signature being captured for £3.2 million.

Agustin Rojas

Agustin Rojas began his career at Racing Club de Avellaneda in March 2014. The young midfielder made 19 appearances for the club in the Argentinian Primera División before being signed by Salernitana for £1 million.


Rojas is not a household name and will probably be more familiar to fans in Argenitna, however the Granata can expect a versitile player in Rojas who is comfortable playing as an advanced playmaker or deeper as a Mezzala or a central midfielder. Rojas has been praised for his decision making on the pitch and is able to play with both feet.

Genaro

Genaro began his career at Sevilla FC in 2013/14. During this time he went out on loan to Sevilla C and Sevilla Atheetico Club, making 24 league appearances. The Spaniard had less than six months left on his current deal with Sevilla and therefore Steinkelsson was able to secure his signature for £500k in January rather than competing with other clubs for his signature when he was a free-agent.


Genaro at 23 is a determined footballer with good levels of natural fitness, he has been identified by the scouting team as a player who has the potential to grow into a leading midfilder in Serie A, however he has gained a reputation for lacking the mentality to track back and mark players and not enjoy big games. 


This is something which Steinkelsson hopes he can develop with Genaro as he has been signed on an inital two year deal for Salernitana.

Calcio Mercato – Out

Steinkelsson agreed the sale of four players from the club in the January window, the first to leave was Marco Firenze who opted to sign for Serie B side Lecce as they looked to return to Serie A. Firenze had only made four appearances for Salernitana in Serie A and the £1 million fee which Lecce offered would help to raise monies to secure new signings.

Marco Migliorini was the second player to leave, the player was unhappy with his lack of first-team football and was put on the transfer list at his own request. Trapani offered £400k for the defender, which was accepted after Marco stating his desire to leave.

The sale of Francesco Di Tacchio was a tough decision, the player had showed his value at playing in Serie A, making nine appearances. However being the wrong side of 30 the decision was made to accept the offer of £1.2 from Montpellier HSC who play their football in Ligue 1.

Bristol City made the biggest offer in the window as they looked to secure the signing of Jack Bryne to boost their squad as it pushed for the Premier League. The fee of £3.2 million could not be rejected for a player which Salernitana secured only one and a half seasons ago from Shamrock Rovers for £300k.

January

It was not the best of starts to 2021 for Salernitana, draws against lowly placed Benevento and Fiorentina closed off the month of January. Steinkelsson’s side also suffered a very heavy defeat against Bologna, however the team showed their mental strength in bouncing back with a victory against Cagliari. All together the side claimed eight points from the 15 available across the month.

February

February was always going to be a stern test for the newly promoted Salernitana, a month which plotted the team against three top teams in back to back fixtures. Steinkelsson really ensured his sides reputation in the league grew as his sides performances across the month were excellent. Salernitana secured another eight points from 12, ensuring they didn’t lose a fixture and taking another massive scalp in doing the double of Juventus.

March

March was a month to remember for new signings Méndez (Perugia) and Rojas (Sassuolo), who both scored their first goals in their new club colours. Another month without defeat has seen Salernitana look like a real competitor for a Champions League spot. The eight remaining fixtures would be massive for the club in relation to joining Europes elite.

April

April has to have been the worst month in the history of the save to date in relation to the performance of the team. Despite winning the opening fixture against SPAL who were rock bottom of Serie A, Salernitana threw away a two goal lead at home to Parma and also conceded a last minute goal against Sampdoria. The occasion clearly getting the better of the team, Steinkelsson will hope the side will be able to draw from this experience to learn if facing the same scenario again.

May

Salernitana had a massive influence on the outcome of the Scudetto, their victories against title contenders Lazio and Milan basically handed the Old Lady another championship. Salernitana finished the season with a must win game against Udinese, both teams could secure Champions League Football.

The Salernitani were in dream land when Daramy put the Granata in the lead after eight minutes, this putting their side in fifth place, the fans were praying for Sampdoria to score against Napoli so their side could secure fourth.

Udinese were not going to lie down without a fight, a Kevin Lasagna hat-trick gave Udinese a 3-1 lead and also a one foot in the Champions League as Napoli were tied 1-1.

Salernitana battled back through goals from Anastasio and Maggiore which now meant that Napoli would qualify by a single point.

Unfortunately for them the drama was not finished, an 86th minute goal from Jakub Jankto handed the side from Naples defeat and handed Udinese the final Champions League place.

Analysis

On the pitch, despite the fantastic achievement of finishing 6th, Steinkelsson will be looking to improve his sides ability to kill off a game. Salernitana picked up the most draws (14) in Serie A across the campaign, maybe Magnus should look to approach the games next season in the way in which Mauricio Pochettino did during his days at Tottenham. The Argentinian rarely would end games in a draw, hypothetically if Salernitana lost half of their draws and won the other games they would have secured enough points to see them finish third.

Off the pitch Salernitana were one of ten clubs to finish the season with figures not in the red for the year. The club made a 16 million pound profit, which helped the club to pay off existing debts and enable the Board to expand the transfer budget available to Steinkelsson’s disposal ready for the Europa League next season.