Serie A Previews: Gio Has Departed, But Parma Has Added Reinforcements

ORZINUOVI, ITALY - AUGUST 18: FC Parma manager Roberto Donadoni looks on during the pre-season friendly match between Parma FC and Panionios G.S..S at Stadio di Orzinuovi on August 18, 2012 in Orzinuovi, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Parma sold Sebastian Giovinco, but added new reinforcements. A total of 12 of their first team players are either new arrivals or players they previously had on loan who have signed permanent deals.

Parma have lost their best player, but they're still looking like a mid-table side at worst in an imbalanced Serie A. Their 8th place finish was impressive, especially considering their poor start, and they'll be hoping to improve on their record from last year even with Sebastian Giovinco gone. A total of 12 of their first team players are either new arrivals or players they previously had on loan who have signed permanent deals.

Their manager, Roberto Donadoni, looks to have fully recovered from his failed tenure as Italy manager and is leading Parma back to relevance in Serie A.

Last season

Donadoni guided Parma from the relegation battle to a comfortable top-half finish in less than half a season. There was a sizable gap between Parma and Italy's top seven teams, but they can take some pride in being the best of the rest.

Unlike the first year that Giovinco spent with the Crusaders, Giovinco was at his best last year and played his way onto the Italian national team with his performances.

Who's Out?

Unfortunately for Parma, Gio has gone back to Juventus. Parma made a profit of €8m on Giovinco, which allowed them to add a few new players. We'll get to them in a bit.

Francesco Valiani: Valiani is a utility man who filled in wherever needed in midfield, and has joined Siena for an undisclosed fee.

McDonald Mariga: Played well in central midfield on loan last season, but has returned to Inter Milan. Donadoni has added multiple central midfielders to replace him.

Who's In?

Parma have signed an absolutely unbelievable amount of new players. Because of they money they made from selling Giovinco -- as well as the wages they cleared off the books -- they were able to add plenty of reinforcements.

Amauri: Except actually. Yeah, this guy still plays in Serie A.

Sotiris Ninis: If you don't follow Greek football, you probably know Ninis best as the guy who always disappoints for Greece at international competitions. He's actually a very solid attacking midfielder who has the potential to adequately replace Giovinco. He arrived on a free transfer from Panathinaikos.

Dorlan Pabon: An absolute coup of a purchase for Parma. Pabon has become a key player for the Colombian national team over the last couple of years and is extremely versatile. He can play on either wing, as an attacking midfielder or as a striker. He's already scored twice in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying, including a goal against Argentina.

Aleandro Rosi: A right wing back, in from Roma.

Yohan Benalouane: Don't expect to see too much of Benalouane, but he's decent cover at central defense. He's spent the last couple of years at Cesena and also played for Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.

Marco Parolo: Joined from Cesena on a loan with an option to buy, and could slot right into a starting central midfield role. He was excellent over the last couple of years for a very average Cesena side, and might be even more impressive with some better talent around him.

Gianluca Musacci: Spent last season on loan and was solid cover in the center of midfield. He's now co-owned by Parma and Empoli and will provide solid cover again this year.

Jaime Valdes: Similar to Musacci in that he spent last season on loan, then joined the club over the summer. He is also cover, at attacking midfield.

Ignacio Fideleff: On loan from Napoli, where he never got much of a shot. The talented central defender was very good in the Argentine Primera as a youngster, but hasn't stuck in Italian football. It remains to be seen whether Donadoni thinks he has a future at Parma or if he's just cover.

Fabiano Santacroce: Another defender who has joined from Napoli. He's a backup central defender and moved to Parma on a co-ownership deal.

Alfriyie Acquah: One of the top young talents in African football, Acquah joins on loan with an option to purchase 50 percent of his rights from Palermo. He established himself in Palermo's first team last year as a teenager and hasn't even come close to reaching his ceiling. He might not contribute a lot this year for Parma, but he could turn out to be a massive coup for the club.

Pavol Bajza: At 20-years-old, he's just going to be a backup this season, but he could develop into Parma's No. 1 keeper eventually. He's been a regular starter as a teenager in Slovakia during the last two years and is the No. 1 of the Slovakia Under-21 national team.

Ishak Belfodil: The 20-year-old French-Algerian striker has a lot of promise, but he hasn't shown it yet. He hasn't scored a professional league goal, but Parma's banking on him improving. They paid Lyon €2.5m for his services.

Keep an eye on

Jonathan Biabiany. When he first started playing for Inter Milan, Biabiany was expected to become a first team regular for the team eventually. It never materialized, and he's landed at Parma. He had a very good second half of the season when Donadoni arrived, and he should enter this season as a starter. He's improved defensively in the last year as well, and has become a very versatile two-way winger. He can also play center forward if needed, and he might be needed for that role this year.

Predicted finish

Mid-table, inching towards top half. Expect a similar finish out of Parma from last year. Giovinco was a big loss and they were never going to be able to buy a player of similar quality to replace him, but they did an excellent job of using the profit made from his sale to build a much deeper side.

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