The first competitive game of the 2022/23 season takes place on Sunday as the Gialloblù host Bari in the first round of the Coppa Italia at the Bentegodi.
Here's five things you need to know:
1. It's all change at the Bentegodi
This is the first competitive outing for new coach Gabriele Cioffi, who replaced Igor Tudor during the summer. Cioffi was a decent if unspectacular appointment after steering Udinese to a decent if unspectacular 13th place finish last season.
Proving slightly more controversial is the appointment of Francesco Marroccu as Direttore Sportivo. After he publicly declaring that Gianluca Caprari was untransferable, Caprari was unceremoniously transferred to Monza just a few weeks later! Expect Marroccu and club president Maurizio Setti to be closely scrutinised by the Curva on Sunday.
There are a few new faces on the pitch as well, with the arrival of youngsters Roberto Piccoli and Alessandro Cortinovis, both on loan from Atalanta. They have each represented Italy at youth level and great things are expected of them.
Keep an eye out also for Thomas Henry and Milan Đurić, who have arrived from Venezia and Salernitana respectively and can be expected to add brawn and experience to Verona’s new look frontline.
2. Sent packing
Despite the threat of a mass exodus, the only player of real significance to have left so far is the aforementioned Gianluca Caprari. He was one of Verona’s outstanding players last season, and his boots will be particularly hard to fill.
Two of last season’s most promising prospects, Matteo Cancellieri and Nicolò Casale, have also been released (both to Lazio), but their absence is likely to be less keenly felt than that of Caprari, who contributed twelve goals and seven assists last season.
3. Hanging on to the fuoriclasse
Despite all the speculation surrounding the likes of Barak, Ilic, Simeone, Tameze and Lazović, for the time being they remain on Verona’s books. The market closes on 1 September and it will be a miracle if any of them are still in Verona by then. Simeone in particular has spent much of the preseason on the sidelines, so don’t expect to see him against Bari on Sunday.
4. Connect Four
Despite the gloom surrounding the departure (and anticipated departure) of so many of the stars of the last couple of seasons, a vital core remains of the team that has so consistently surpassed expectations in recent years. Amongst the unsung heroes who have forged Verona’s identity, Miguel Veloso, Davide Faraoni, Koray Günter and Paweł Dawidowicz remain. Thanks to these stalwarts, this will be Verona’s fourth consecutive season in Serie A - a feat not achieved since the heydays of Bagnoli era in the 1980s!
5. The flying Scotsman
Don’t expect to catch a glimpse of Leith's finest, Josh Doig, this weekend. My understanding is that he’s stuck at home waiting for his work permit. Thanks a million Boris!
Finally, don't expect to see a full house at the Bentegodi against Bari either. Despite the presale of over 10,000 season tickets, most sensible Veronese will be sunning themselves on the beach on Sunday afternoon. The real action begins next weekend against Napoli!
The view from Bari
"I think it is fair to say that expectations for the forthcoming season are quite modest (apart from the usual cheerleaders).
Transfer activity has not really set pulses racing.
As usual, Bari's problem has been pruning a bloated squad to make room. Incoming we have Francesco Vicari from SPAL in central defence and a return of Michael Folorunsho on loan from Napoli. Up front (where the real issues are) only Damir Ceter, the young Columbian from Cagliari has arrived and he is clearly not match fit.
Personally I think coach Michele Mignani will approach the season much like last year with a very strong experienced midfield with a system more suited to playing away from home.
Individually much is expected of Argentine Rubén Botta to provide creative spark, though he is made of glass.
Sunday's game will be a much needed workout against a stronger outfit before the difficult Serie B opener at Parma."
Massive thanks to the Bari legends @fcbaribrit and @2ndfcbaribrit for their wisdom and insight!
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