Pescara, a team currently sitting last in the Serie A table, is inevitably facing relegation. With that in mind, one can only think about the abundance of talent Delfini had only a few years ago.
Delfino Pescara had an influx of Italian starlets, and let them go by today’s standard for next to nothing. Zdenek Zeman, a strong enforcer of lively attacking play, boasted the almighty star Azzurri trio of Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, and Marco Verratti which lead them to Serie A promotion back in 2011-12. Along with the three Italian prodigies, Pescara have also employed standouts such as last-years Serie B capocannoniere winner Gianluca Lapadula and keeper Mattia Perin. From the aforementioned individuals, their accumulative transfer fees are being valued at an estimated 95 million euros. With that being said, one can only think:
“What was Pescara thinking?”
With Immobile and Insigne joining the club on loan, the profits there were not able to be maximized. However, under Pescara, the two flourished. Immobile netted 28 goals in 37 appearances, and was pivotal with their Serie A promotion in the 2011-12 Serie B campaign in which they were christened champions. Insigne, the Napoli and Azzurri sparkplug, netted 20 goals in 38 appearances for the Delfini. With the ‘Frattormaggiore’ homeboy now cultivated as a star for the Partenopei, the 25-year old has been a highly-sought after commodity, attracting the biggest of Premier league clubs, including Liverpool and Arsenal. Insigne has also been named the “rightful heir” to the Azzurri squad by Italian and Serie A legend, Antonio Di Natale.
Along with the two stars, Pescara also had bright Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin on loan, who is now valued around 20 million euros. With the three stars accumulatively being valued around 58 million euros, one can only wonder “what if” had Pescara decided to buy these relatively (at the time) cheap Italian players rather than loan. Due to their inability to retain these players, Pescara served as a vehicle to cultivate Italian superstars for big clubs rather than keep them for their own squad. While the Abruzzo club sorely miss the exploits of the above, one stands out from the rest.
Marco Verratti, a homeboy to the Abruzzo region, and was a Pescara academy graduate. He had the most appearances for the club of the trio, totaling 77 appearances on the pitch. He held a pivotal role in the engine room of the midfield, and was one of the main reasons the club got promoted due to his passionate and hard-nosed play. This passion caught the eye of French super-club Paris-Saint Germain, who snapped him up immediately following the 2011-12 campaign for a meager 10 million euros. The 24-year old playmaker is now the main priority of Italian giants Juventus, and is valued around 40-45 million by Transfermarkt. But, given the market, that figure will balloon due to today’s inflation and overpaying tendencies. Not to mention, with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona all said to be in the sweepstakes for his signature, the asking price is more likely to creep closer towards Paul Pogba’s world-record transfer fee (€105m) when he re-joined Manchester United last summer.
With the club destined for the drop back to Italy’s second division come May, Delfini fans are stuck wondering about what could have been.