Following the news that Gianluca Petrachi has been appointed as Roma’s new sporting director, it’s time to take a look at what he did in his previous role.
When Petrachi was appointed as Torino’s sporting director in 2010, the club were in Serie B, but under his guidance, they worked their way back up to the top flight, and are now regulars in the top half. They even reached the Round of 16 of the Europa League in 2014-15.
One of Petrachi’s key roles will be bringing new players to the club, after Roma were left with a dearth of quality by Monchi. Here, Giallorossi Yorkshire looks back at Petrachi’s five best signings during his decade in Turin.
5. Danilo D’Ambrosio (2010)
One of Petrachi’s first moves at Torino was the acquisition of Danilo D’Ambrosio from third-tier side Juve Stabia. The full-back, 22 years old at the time, helped his new side work their way back up to the top flight, before sealing a move to Inter in January 2014 – with Petrachi taking young midfielder Marco Benassi to Torino in return. While D’Ambrosio is hardly the best player on Inter’s roster, he is still a valuable member of their squad, and Petrachi’s negotiation to get Benassi in return was itself a shrewd piece of business, as he was sold on to Fiorentina three years later for more than double the fee.
4. Ciro Immobile (2013)
These days, Immobile is leading the line for Roma’s rivals Lazio, but it was after Petrachi took him to Torino in 2013 that he really began to show his potential. A Juventus youth product, Immobile had been prolific in Serie B for Pescara in 2011-12, but other than that, had never scored more than five goals in a season. Petrachi took a gamble on him, and it paid off, as he claimed the Capocannoniere award in his sole season with the club before sealing a move to Borussia Dortmund a year later – his 22-goal campaign earning Torino a quick profit.
3. Matteo Darmian (2011)
Another full-back who was given his real breakthrough at Torino, Darmian had come through the youth ranks at AC Milan before learning his trade on loan at Padova in Serie B. After playing a part-time role for Palermo in the top flight in 2010-11, Torino gave him his opportunity to become a regular starter back in the second tier. He immediately helped them gain promotion, and grew to prominence enough to make his Italy debut while at the club. In total, he made more than 150 appearances before sealing a move to Premier League giants Manchester United four years later.
2. Kamil Glik (2011)
Glik, like Darmian, made his way to Torino via Palermo – where he had been signed by future Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini. However, the Pole’s time on Sicily was uneventful, and he was shipped out on loan to Bari. He made just over a dozen appearances, and it was enough for Petrachi to convince Torino to make him part of their promotion project. After getting them back up to Serie A, Glik continued to establish himself as one of the league’s most consistent defenders, earning the role of captain in his third season with the club, before making a move to Monaco in 2016, where he became a league champion at the first time of asking.
1. Andrea Belotti (2015)
The figurehead of Torino’s rise to the top half of Serie A, Belotti was plucked from Palermo in 2013. His only prior Serie A campaign had brought just six goals, but Petrachi saw his value, and paid €7.5m to take him north. Belotti was an instant hit, doubling his tally from the previous season with a dozen goals. In 2016-17, he went even better, scoring 26 goals in a season in which he was eclipsed only by Dries Mertens and Roma’s own Edin Dzeko.
The big clubs were circling, but Petrachi drove a hard bargain, warding off the likes of Chelsea by slapping a €100m release clause into his contract. Perhaps that was the biggest success of Petrachi’s tenure at Torino – not just signing Belotti, but keeping him there. It’s a stance which surely wouldn’t be lost on the Roma fans still frustrated at the cheap and regular sales of some of the team’s prize assets.
Whether Petrachi will be able to replicate that work at Roma is another question. One only needs to look at the huge differences between the expectations of his predecessor Monchi and what was actually achieved, to take such appointments with a pinch of doubt. But Petrachi has one thing that Monchi never did, which may equip him better for success – experience in Serie A. Roma will be hoping that Petrachi proves himself to have more know-how than the Spaniard, so that he is able to complete more deals like those written about above.