It's all change at Genoa this season. Both the bench and the playing staff have had a bit of a shake-up as the Grifone bid to avoid a repeat of last season's nail-biting finale, which saw them secure survival by the skin of their teeth. The club have been somewhat frustrated in the transfer market as targets such as Adel Taarabt, Matias Silvestre, Rolando Bianchi and Alejandro Gomez have all moved to other clubs. Co-ownerships have been renewed with some players staying and others going. Pre-season has included a 1-0 victory against West Brom, a surprising loss of the same score to Turkish side Kaysespor and a goalless draw with Stoke City.
Just like the season prior, Genoa survived the drop to Serie B by a solitary league placing. The side went through three coaches, with Davide Ballardini succeeding both Luigi De Canio and Luigi Delneri to return for his second stint at the club. Ballardini's adventurous tactical approach saw the side stagger safely across the line. His thanks - the sack!
Marco Borriello has returned to AS Roma after his loan deal concluded. Borriello top scored for the port club with 12 goals last season and was expected to complete a permanent transfer to the Marassi in the summer. However, a straight swap deal with Alberto Gilardino (who has returned from a loan spell at Bologna) somehow broke down as the two clubs couldn't agree on a financial package. Gilardino remains in Genoa for now, but is the subject of a bid from Inter Milan, who want to send Ezequiel Schelotto to Genoa in exchange for the Azzurri frontman.
Ciro Immobile -Juventus bought out Genoa's half and loaned him to city rivals Torino. This came after Genoa stated earlier in the summer that this wouldn't happen. Immobile lost his place in the Genoa starting line-up in the latter part of last season.
Bosko Jankovic - Has joined Hellas Verona's new-look attack after finding game time hard to come by.
Club captain Marco Rossi has retired to become a club director. The 35-year-old spent ten years at Genoa, playing in all three divisions in the process.
Sebastien Frey - The Serie A veteran of 15 years has opted for a fresh challenge with Turkish side Bursaspor. The Frenchman's departure frees up a place for young prospect Mattia Perin to stake a claim between the sticks, after the 20-year-old spent last season on loan at Pescara.
President Enrico Presiozi raised some eyebrows when he appointed the untested Fabio Liverani to replace Davide Ballardini as coach. The 37-year-old former Perugia, Lazio, Fiorentina and Palermo man has been plucked from the club's youth set-up for his first stab at professional management. Daniele Delli Carri has also replaced Rino Foschi as sporting director.
Francesco Lodi - The former Catania midfielder surprised many when he swapped Sicily for Genoa, snubbing both Milan clubs and Juventus en route to signing. The 29-year-old dead ball specialist has been on the cusp of the national side, but has always just missed out. Chipped in with 15 goals and 14 assists during his two years with Catania, and more will be expected from him here. Has been handed the prestigious #10 shirt and will form a midfield partnership with Brazilian bruiser Francelino Matuzalem.
Mario Alberto Santana - The speedy winger has joined from Napoli after scoring four goals while on loan at Torino last season.
Keep An Eye On
Luca Antonelli - With a new custodian in goal, midfield lynchpin Rossi retired and speculation surrounding defensive partner Andreas Granqvist's future, Antonelli is the one constant at the heart of the Genoa defence. Nearly an ever present last season and an established international, the defender has snubbed enquiries from both Inter Milan and Napoli to stay at the Marassi. The fact that he missed the Confederations Cup through injury could be a blessing in disguise as Antonelli will be rested and ready for the new season. As the club look to fill the void left by Borriello and his goals, Antonelli will be just as important at the other end of the pitch.
The objective will be to improve on the dreaded 17th placed finish. With a novice coach and a squad still being put together, it will be hard. Goals haven't exactly flowed for the Grifone during pre-season as the side look to replace Borriello. The club have a good working relationship with AC Milan, with both assisting one another with deals for Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kevin Constant and Rodney Strasser in recent years. The Rossoneri could be about to lend a hand once more by loaning out Kingsley Boateng and M'Baye Niang to give both promising youngsters some vital game time.