L'AQUILA, ITALY - JULY 19: Goalkeeper Luca Savelloni of Pescara in action during day five of the Pescara Calcio pre-season training camp on July 19, 2012 in Rivisondoli near L'Aquila, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Pescara lost their coach as well as their top three players over the summer. Yes, they were great in Serie B last season, but it's likely they'll flounder in Italy's top division.
As recently as 2009-2010, Pescara were in Lega Pro, in the third division of Italian football. With Zdeněk Zeman at the helm, the Dolphins stayed in Serie B just two seasons before breaking back into the top division, for the first time in 19 years. But with Zeman now at AS Roma, and having lost their top three players, does Pescara have what it takes to compete?
1st, Serie B -- automatic promotion to Serie A.
Zdeněk Zeman: The flashy manager, known for his all-out attacking style, was scooped up by Roma in the summer.
Marco Verratti: The many words I have for Paris Saint-Germain and its theft of footballers from Italy are not appropriate in this forum. Suffice it to say, Pescara's immensely talented 19-year-old midfielder has left the country.
Ciro Immobile: On loan from Juventus last season, the young forward scored 28 goals for Pescara, the most in Serie B. But Genoa, thinking ahead, bought co-ownership of the player in January, and Immobile will play for them this season.
Vladimir Weiss: Pescara's biggest signing of the summer was the Slovak winger, who, while decent enough with both Rangers and Espanyol, isn't exactly consistent. He's the sort that would likely thrive under Zeman. Alas, alas.
Keep An Eye On
Um...Pescara's youngsters, once again? With Stroppa the former coach of a Primavera side, you have to think he knows what he's doing with the kids. The Dolphins have brought in Alessandro Crescenzi, 20-year-old defender on loan from AS Roma; Gastón Brugman, age 19, on loan from Empoli; Uroš Ćosić, also 19, loaned from CSKA Moscow, and Birkir Bjarnason, who, at 24, isn't exceedingly young for a midfielder but still has a fun name to say.
Pescara is one fish that might end up getting thrown back for being too small. Yes, they had a great squad last season, but without the money and name to attract replacements, they likely won't be able to compete in the top division. But it could be fun to watch them try.