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SAMPDORIA HAD SOME SERIOUS TALENT IN THEIR 2016-17 SQUAD WHO WOULD GO ON TO BECOME STAR NAMES

Sampdoria nowadays are a long way off from the Serie A and European trophy winning days of the 1990s. Those heights have long been replaced by middling finishes and no silverware since the Coppa Italia in 1994. It has been some time since they have had bonafide stars who are household names.

 

Their most exciting prospect in the current squad is Danish attacker Mikkel Damsgaard who had a breakout tournament at Euro 2020. La Samp will be hoping the 21-year-old stays at the club and continues his development but it will not be easy. This is nothing new for the club. In the past, they have had some truly wonderful players who are now world-beaters.

 

No season was this truer than the 2016-17 season when more than half of Sampdoria’s squad were filled with budding stars. FootTheBall looks at the biggest names that had their stepping stone at Stadio Luigi Ferraris that year.

 

It was only a single season with Sampdoria but his quality was for all to witness. Fernandes joined from Udinese on loan and made 35 appearances across all competitions. He scored five goals and two goals while there were clear signs of his visionary play that has so defined him now. His performances were enough to convince Sporting of his value, who signed him in 2017.

 

Since then, his career has been on an upward trajectory of epic proportions. His two-and-a-half years in Portugal yielded some really stupendous numbers and also silverware. Fernandes contributed 67 goal contributions (39 goals, 28 assists) while Sporting won the Taca de Portugal and Taca da Liga (twice). The playmaker himself was also Player of the Year twice in consecutive seasons before his January 2020 switch to Manchester United for €80 million including add-ons.

 

With the Red Devils, he has continued his rampaging ways with 18 goals and 12 assists in 2020-21 in the league as well as cementing himself in the national team. Fernandes has become the talisman of United and will surely be scaling new heights soon.

 

LUIS MURIEL 

The man once known as the ‘Colombian Ronaldo’ has been a serial goal scorer for all his years at the top level. The 2016-17 season was a breakout campaign for Muriel with him scoring 11 goals in Serie A, his best return up to that point. Known for his agility, pace, and eye for goal, he was snapped up by Sevilla in 2017 but endured a disappointing time in Spain.

 

Muriel found the net only 10 times in one-and-a-half years and soon found himself falling in the pecking order. After a loan spell with Fiorentina, he joined fellow Italian side Atalanta in 2019. The last two years have seen a lethal Muriel banging in goals regularly, finishing the 2020-21 campaign with 26 goals in all competitions.

 

He also helped Colombia finish third at the Copa America and even though he is mostly used from the bench at club level, there is no doubting his finishing ability when the chance comes.

 

MILAN SKRINIAR

The Slovakian centre-back joined Sampdoria from Zilina back in his homeland in January 2016. He became the youngest defender to appear in 35 matches in the next season that saw a dream move to Inter materialize. Since then, Skriniar has developed into one of the most important pieces for the Nerazzurri.

 

His composed nature on the ball coupled with excellent sense of tackling and interceptions make him a nightmare to get past as evidenced by him having at least 30 appearances every season since. Additionally, he has also taken to mentoring young defenders of Inter and is a fixture for the national team.

 

Skriniar had a passing accuracy of 92% and also provided three goals along with 14 clean sheets as Inter stormed to the Serie A title. At just 26-years-old, there is sure to be some sizeable offers coming for him soon.

 

PATRIK SCHICK

Having been a serial winner with Sparta Prague, Schick joined Sampdoria and had a fantastic debut season scoring 11 goals in Serie A from just 14 starts. Roma came calling and having been designated the lone striker, he failed to adequately perform. After two frustrating years yielded just five goals in the league, he had a loan spell with RB Leipzig in 2019-20.

 

Now teamed up with Timo Werner, Schick found his scoring touch, netting 10 times in 22 appearances. That was enough for Bayer Leverkusen to sign him in order to replace the departing Kevin Volland. He bagged nine goals last season but his main impact was at the Euros of this year.

 

Schick’s goal against Scotland from beyond the centre line was a thing of beauty and was voted the ‘Goal of the Tournament.’ Furthermore, he also won the Silver Boot for his three strikes and one assist in total. If he can continue that form this upcoming campaign, he will be an in-demand man soon.

 

LUCAS TORREIRA

The 20-year-old had his Serie A baptism with Sampdoria in the 2016-17 campaign. He quickly established himself as a key piece in the team. Noted for his defensive mind and ability to hound opposition players on the ball from midfield, he also contributed key goals for La Samp.

Torreira racked up 86 interceptions along with a passing accuracy of 87% from 35 starts. The next year saw him net four times as well before a transfer to Arsenal. He continued playing regularly for the Gunners and helped them win the FA Cup in 2019-20 as well as becoming a starter for Uruguay.

 

However, with a drop in game time last year, he joined Atletico Madrid on loan for 2020-21 which was a very underwhelming season. Torreira only had three starts out of his 19 appearances along with just 12 interceptions. Now back at Arsenal, it remains to be seen what his future holds next.

 

DENNIS PRAET

The 27-year-old joined Sampdoria in 2016 after winning six trophies with Anderlecht. Mostly deployed in the centre of the midfield, he made more than a 100 appearances for the club in three seasons. Praet was a steady presence who was always looking to move the ball forward along with his willingness to join the attack.

 

He joined Leicester City in 2019 where he has been mainly used from the bench as an enforcer or for fresh legs late in games. Nevertheless, there is no doubting Praet’s commitment to the game when he is on the pitch and he was also in Belgium’s squad for Euro 2020. His game is further set to improve in England after winning the FA Cup. He has become a total utility player who remains involved in the club’s plans for the future.

HIPSTER FAVOURITES

FABIO QUAGLIARELLA 

The relic of Italian football still going strong at 38-years-old. Quagliarella has spent his entire professional career playing for various clubs across the top-three divisions. He is a three-time Serie A winner with Juventus and joined Sampdoria in January 2016.

 

Since then, he has been having some of his most productive years scoring in double digits for five campaigns straight. Among these, the highlight was of course the 2018-19 season. Quagliarella shocked the entire country by netting 26 goals to go with eight assists. He became the second-oldest player to win the Golden Boot after Luca Toni.

 

Furthermore, he was also voted the ‘Best Forward’ for that year. In the 2020-21 campaign, he was again Sampdoria’s top scorer with 13 strikes and the captain continues to lead the line with distinction. Quagliarella has provided many memorable moments across his long and storied career along with being a name synonymous with the younger generation aiming to follow the footsteps of goal scoring in .

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