Former Italian champions back in Serie A after 11 years - and looking to stay there

Maurizio Lagana

Hellas Verona's dealings thus far in the transfer window have made the gialloblu look like a squad able to avoid relegation and stay in Serie A.

Hellas Verona are back in Serie A after 11 long years, and judging by their transfer market dealings, they're keen to stay there for more than just this season. A few really smart pieces of business prove not only that their Director of Football, Sean Sogliano, knows his job, but also that the team is going into the new season full of ambition.

Coach Andrea Mandorlini, who led the team to promotion, will stay on as Verona fight to remain in Serie A. He will be able to call upon most of the important players from last season, although the transfer market is long and some of the gialloblu players have attracted the attention of bigger clubs. It's been reported that Liverpool and Everton were interested in 21 year old midfielder Jorginho, while Daniele Cacia, whose 24 goals made him the top scorer in Serie B last season, may be on his way out, with Palermo rumored to be interested in snatching him up.

If Cacia leaves Verona, who would replace him? None other than the legendary Luca Toni. The veteran striker left his beloved Fiorentina in search of more playing time, seeking a side ready to give him what he still deserves. Toni scored the winning goal for the gialloblu in a friendly versus Dutch giants Feyenoord -- a possible sign of just how important he might be for Mandorlini's side.

The signing that makes Verona fans dream the most is certainly Ezequiel Cirigliano, the Argentinian playmaker with Italian passport on loan from River Plate. The exciting 21 year old is often described as a more creative version of Javier Mascherano. He is physically compact, has good technique and great vision and, if he adapts to Serie A quickly enough, should be an important addition to the Hellas squad.

In addition to Cirigliano and Toni, Sogliano has brought in Alejandro Gonzales, the Uruguayan defender from Penarol and, perhaps more importantly, Boško Janković. The Serbian, formerly of Genoa and Palermo, plays mostly behind the strikers and from that position manages to score a reasonable amount of goals every season.

Midfielder Massimo Donati, formerly of Celtic, Bari and Palermo, with a short and not so successful episode with Milan, is another good signing for Verona. At 32 years old, Donati is an experienced Serie A player and will no doubt help his team through the tough battle against relegation.

The most recent gialloblu signing, young midfielder Jacopo Sala, makes a return to Italy after episodes at Chelsea and Hamburg. Sala is a product of Atalanta's youth academy and played for the Italian Under-21s on a few occasions.

There are some rumors about other potential signings that could make Hellas even stronger, particularly the whispers that they are interested in Fiorentina's Romulo. They are looking for reinforcements in defense too, and were close to signing Zaragoza's Cristian Sapunaru before newly promoted Elche secured his signature.

Of the three newly promoted teams, Hellas Verona seems the most ambitious. If the gialloblu use the remaining month of the transfer window to make a few more significant additions to their squad, they'll certainly be a team worth talking about when the season starts.

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