Salernitana secure their first ever Scudetto under the guidance of the Swedish sensation, Magnus Steinkelsson.
Calcio Mercato – In
Dominik Szoboszlai is a well known name across Europe, he began his career at Magyar Testgyakorlok Kore Budapest Futball Club in 2014/15 before moving to Videoton in 2015/16. In 2016/17 he joined Fußballclub Liefering, making 42 league appearances and scored 16 goals.
In 2016/17 the Hungarian was picked up by the pioneering scouting department of FC Red Bull Salzburg, where he made 33 league appearances amd lifted the tipp3-Bundesliga in 2018.
Szobszlai moved back to Fußballclub Liegering for a second time in 2018, however he re-joined Salzburg after 6 months, making 46 appearances.
The Mezzala already has the ability to play at Serie A level and he was brought in to dictate the play in the Granata midfiled. The fee for the International was £20 million, who signed on a five year contract.
Magnus Kaastrup is a name which will probably only be familar with football fans in Denmark. He started his football career at Aarhus Gymnastikforening in 2015/16, breaking into the first-team in 2017 and making a total of 58 appearances over a seven year period.
Magnus has also spent some of his footballing career in Germany, he secured a loan move to Dortmund where he played for the second team for a season which aided his development.
Magnus is a extremely skillful winger who has blistering pace and flair, he was signed by Steinkelsson and Salernitana for £6 million with a view to operating from the right.
Manuel Gasparini is a player with a growing reputation among football fans in Italy, he began his career at Udinese in July 2012 but failed to make a league appearance during his eight years at the club. The goalkeeper was a part of the Italy U20s side who lifted the European U20 Elite League in 2020.
It was in this tournament which he caught the eye of Serie A giants Internazionale, Manuel made his senior debut for the club in Serie A in a box office fixture against Roma. However this was his only appearance for the side; with Emil Audero, Jesse Joronen and Vladan Dekic infront of him in squad the youngster (20) opted to join Salernitana for £3.6 million as the chance to gain first team experience was too hard to turn down.
Carlos Vitor started his career at Botafogo in April 2017, breaking into the first team in 2020, making a total of 64 league appearances. During the defenders rise in profile Carlos spent a season on loan at Nice where he made 10 appearances in the French Ligue 1.
It was during this time that the Brazilian was picked up by the Salernitana scouts and highlighted to Magnus, a fee of £1.5 million was agreed between the two clubs seeing the player move to Salerno.
The start to 2023 would be a testing month for the Granata who would have to play Juventus (2nd) and Napoli (5th) at the Arechi and also travel to the Stadio Olimpico to play Lazio (4th) and the San Siro to face Milan (6th).
Lazio at the Olimpico to get the ball rolling, Ciro Immobile gave the home side the lead after 20 seconds, fortunately the away side recovered and a brace from Salcedo either side of a red card for Méndez, after a reckless challenge handed Lazio defeat. 2-1.
Steinkelsson opted to fully rotate his side as Salernitana faced Frosinine in the cup, the young Granata did him proud, picking off their opponents with precision passing. Defender Rocher opened the scoring, Lafon scored a brace and Maolida got involved from the bench. Notably Ryan Gravenberch claimed three assists as he impressed during a rare start. 4-1.
Juventus would be next to visit the Arechi as they looked to close the gap on the early season table toppers, Ronaldo had a few half chances which he may regret missing; David secured the victory as Salernitana really flexed their muscles in a complete display. 1-0.
Salernitana travelled to the San Siro to play the Rossoneri, a venue where the Granata have struggled in previous seasons (1W 4L). Belotti showed his class to score with a driven shot in the first half before prolific David grabbed an equalizer with ten minutes to go. 1-1 the final score finished, Salernitana have often left Milan with their tales between their legs, yes the home side should probably have won, however Magnus will be happy to have taken a share of the points.
Napoli were then destroyed at home, Salernitana are looking likely to be a real challenger for this years Scudetto. Goals from David and Campeol and a brace from Salcedo put a smile on Steinkelsson who boasts a free-scoring side. 4-1.
The month was wrapped up with a quarter final cup victory over Udinese 4-1, the Granata fielded a youth team to dispose of their Serie A opponents. The same team were rewarded with a start in the league against lowly placed SPAL (15th) a Selcedo goal ensured the three points were secured as the run of form continued. 1-0.
Magnus faced off against Lazio in the Semi Final of the TIM Cup in the opening fixture of the month, the Granata were targeted to reach the Quarter Finals of the competition; Magnus has stated his ambition to add to the single piece of silverware won at the club.
The game against Lazio saw the home side dominated and a brace from Luca Jovic with Pinamonti adding the other gave Lazio the upper hand in the two leg tie. Salcedo scored late on to give the Granata a lifeline, all be it a very small one. 3-1.
Salernitana bounced back by defeating Fiorentina (9th) at home, Gravenberch scored an excellent brace after Maolida gave Steinkelsson’s side the early lead. 3-0.
The performance in the second leg of the Semi Final was as bad as he opening fixture, Lazio eventually running out winners 0-1; the result was particularly disheartening as Salernitana struggled to create any chances in what was a dull 90 minutes.
Mid table Arezzo (12th) were defeated by the familiar scoreline 3-0; Salcedo scored a brace, his form in front of goal has really improved and he is now forming a mean partnership with David. Brobbey on loan from Ajax scored the other goal, the Dutchman was brought in by Steinkelsson to add competition for places up top.
The opening fixture couldn’t have started off much worse, the Granata suffering their opening defeat of the season to Udinese (14th) 0-1. Steinkelsson took full blame for resting his entire first eleven with the Champions League match against Arsenal in three days time.
The Champions League first knock-out round and Arsenal were next at the Arechi. These two fixtures would be the highest profile matches in Salernitana’s club history; the Granata ensured they got off on the right foot as Szoboszlai opened the scoring in the 14th minute to send the home fans wild. Arsenal were clearly rattled and Steinkelsson encouraged his side to go and push for more. Sebastiano Esposito finished a clear cut chance on the 39th minute which changed Magnus’ team talk, the Swede demanded more from his side and David delivered by slotting home in the 63rd minute. The ecstasy was short lived Lucas Torreira headed home from a corner to bring Arsenal back in the tie, the visitors took full advantage with seven minutes left on the clock as Esposito grabbed his second. Arsenal took the away goal advantage back to England the score finishing 2-3.
Salernitana bounced back defeating high flyers Bologna (7th) at the Arechi; Godfred Donsah gave the visitors the lead, however after a some stern words at the break Salcedo got the home team back on level terms before a David Brace secured the points 3-1.
Salernitana would open the month of March with a home fixture against Torino (18th), the month would close at home to Frosinine (9th). The Granata would travel away to the San Siro as they face Inter (2nd) and the Olimpico to face Roma (11th) between the home games, there would also be a Champions League First Round Knockout tie second leg against Arsenal to navigate.
Torino visited the Arechi, they are a team in serious turmoil and look odds on to drop into Serie B after spending the majority of the season in the bottom three. Goals from Gravenberch a brace from David and Maolida completing the rout, secured a 4-2 victory for Magnus’ men.
Roma were defeated by 3-0 at the Olimpico, a penalty from Passlack opened the scoring before David added another for the season. Defender Varnier scored his first goal in Granata colours as the side from Salerno left the capital with all three points.
Inter and the San Siro, Steinkelsson’s side have always struggled against Lukaku and Martinez amd today it would be no different. Martinez scoring a marvellous hat-trick and Lukaku ading a brace really highlighted the need for the Granata to Rolls Royce centre back.
Looking at the diagram below which shows Inter’s key passes, literally all balls are over the top of the defence, Steinkelsson might look to add a CB with a high level of pace or just look to play with a deep back-line.
Arsenal vs Salernitana
The second leg of the Champions League tie saw the Granata travel to London and Arsenal. Steinkelsson’s side trailed 3-2 with Arsenal holding the advantage having scored three away goals.
Salernitana started the game like a side possessed, they exploded out of the blocks and Arsenal could not live with the intensity. After 16 minutes the score had been swung from 3-2 down to 5-3 up thanks to goals from Passlack (7), David (11) and Salcedo (16).
Arsenal fought back through Pepe on the 51st minute and then levelled through Lacazette on the 73rd minute making the score 5-5, if stayed like this the game would be heading into extra-time.
Gravenberch had different thoughts on his mind as he sent the Salernitana fans wild scoring on the 76th minute, Arsenal were clearly relieved at getting back into the game and had momentarily switched off. Lacazette doubled his tally scoring on the 86th minute which lead to a very tense final few minyes for both sets of fans. The final whistle blew as Steinkelsson ran down the touchline to celebrate with his squad. The result 4-3 on the night, 6-6 on aggregate with Salernitana progressing on away goals.
The above image shows the key passes which were completed by Salernitana in their famous victory, Steinkelsson focusing on attacks down the right.
Frosinone were punished by David who secured a hat-trick and walked off with the match ball, the additional goal was scored by Kaastrup in the 4-0 victory.
Salernitana travelled to Bergamo to face Atalanta (10th) to start the month. The Granata high on form and confidence showed the Nerazzurri why they are Scudetto challengers slotting four goals past them in an easy victory. Steinkelsson spoke after the game of his pride in his side, stating that he was impressed with the attacking pressure shown in the opening 12 minutes which saw gaols from Salcedo (3 mins), David (7 mins) and Szoboszlai (12 mins). 4-2.
Salernitana then faced off against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the opportunity to play in front of 98,700 fans could be deemed as a once in a life-time opportunity for some of the Granata; the side took the occasion in their stride. Rocher opened the scoring in the 17 minute before David added number two minutes later, Ermacora slammed home the third prior to the break to give Salernitana a commanding lead. Everton gave his team a glimmer of hope, cooly slotting in a one on one in the 93rd minute. 3-1. Barcelona will be without Bernardo Silva for the 2nd leg as the midfielder received a red card for a two footed challenge in the 41st minute.
Steinkelsson returned to the Arechi and recieved a hero’s welcome pre-game, celebrations were to continue as his side defeated Sampdoria (9th) thanks to a Ryan Gravenberch hat-trick. 3-1.
Barcelona were to then look to overcome a two goal deficit, needing to score three goals or more to progress, this was not their night Rocher again showed to be a thorn in the Catalan side his goal was followed by a strike from Salcedo and all but confirm Salernitana’s progress into the Semi-Finals. 2-1.
Perugia (15th) managed to bring Salernitana back to earth after the heights of their mid-week success, a late goal from Salcedo was enough to save the travelling side some pride as the game finished 1-1.
Consenza (16th) then visited Salerno, the side struggling in Serie A were easily dispatched after Vera opened the scoring followed by goals from David and Kaastrup. The Canadians goal took his tally to 20 league goals for the Granata.
Sassuolo (19th) fighting for their Serie A lives secured a surprise result at home, the side near the foot of the table defeated league leaders to reduce their position at the top of the league to just six points. 0-2.
The Champions League Semi-Final and a trip to the mighty Anfield to face Liverpool, a fixture which for many of the Granata was the biggest occasion in the young squads professional careers. Travelling to Anfield is one of the biggest challenges a side can face and it was the case for Magnus and Salernitana as the Granata were defeated 0-2.
The squad re-established their swagger by defeating Lazio in the next fixture, a solitary goal from Maolida proved to be the difference between 1st and 3rd place. 1-0.
The final month of the season was in front of Salernitana, the Granata’s destiny would be in their own hands as Inter trailed them by three points having played the extra game.
Salernitana crashed out of the Champions League, Magnus’ men could not overturn the 1st leg deficit and were defeated by a stronger Liverpool side 0-2, 0-4 Agg.
The Granata followed up their defeat with a tough fixture away to Juventus, it looked as if a first half Salcedo strike was going to be enough to secure the victory, however Ronaldo equalised with minutes left on the clock. 1-1.
Milan were next up in the schedule, the Rossoneri a team which have got the better of the sides previous meetings with Salernitana only winning once before. Belotti gave the visitors the lead, however today there would be a different outcome. David was a man on a mission to secure the Scudetto and the Capocannoniere, his perfect hat-trick securing the points and his 30th goal of the season. 3-1.
Napoli were than hammered in a game which four players got on the score sheet (Varnier, David, Maggiore & Lafon) 4-1. Before Steinkelssons side recovered from a wobble at home to SPAL, the home team found themselves two goals down in the first 20 minutes only to produce a magnificent come back through Salcedo and a David brace. 3-2.
The 21st of May will be a day which will forever live on in the hearts of the people of Salerno, the day when their Salernitana defeated Fiorentina and secured the sides first ever Scudetto. The victory was secured by Salcedo scoring a brace and Gomez getting in on the act. The achievement of Steinkelsson is one which the Swede will remember for his lifetime. 3-1.
The final games of the campaign would be an opportunity to introduce some fresh blood into the side and maybe wave goodbye to some of the Granata stole-warts. Parma were the first team to visit the Arechi and greet Salernitana to the field through a clapping tunnel of honour. They were spared no mersey as Salernitana won 3-1 Salcedo, Mantovani and Maolida. The season was wrapped up with a victory against Arezzo with youngster Lafon scoring a brace. 2-1.