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Dragusin's January sale highlights strategy of Italy's oldest club
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Dan Fitch
Genoa sold Radu Dragusin to Tottenham in January
Genoa sold Radu Dragusin to Tottenham in January

Genoa are looking to live up to their storied past by re-establishing themselves in Serie A.

After winning promotion back to the top flight last season, Italy's oldest club are now working towards staying where they belong, currently 12th after 27 games, a healthy 10 points clear of the bottom three.

While on the field they are on an upward curve, off the pitch they made headlines with their £26million sale of Romanian defender Radu Dragusin to Tottenham in January — the biggest deal of a subdued month of spending across Europe's top leagues.

Ahead of Genoa's home match against Monza on Saturday night, LiveScore spoke to their sporting director Marco Ottolini to find out more about the agreement and their innovative transfer strategy.

He said: "We have to find the right compromise between the results, the planning for the future and also the financial results.

"We had the plan to put value into top young players and see if they can stay here many years, or sell them.

"In the January market, we had to choose to sacrifice at least one player, a sacrifice that in our view was partially risky because Dragusin was a pillar of our squad.

"But we made some consideration and we decided it was the right step for us and him.

"We had many meetings [with Tottenham], there were other clubs involved. Tottenham was very interested in the player and in the end the player decided to go there."

Playing smart

Genoa have been creative in their recruitment, picking up a mix of inexpensive signings and loans to build a squad that contains 17 different nationalities.

Ottolini, 43, explained the strategy: "I think the DNA of Genoa is quite international. We think football is more and more global and we must exploit this.

"We have to blend this with an Italian style of football, which is evolving into a more modern kind of competition.

"So essentially the foreign players, if you check the squad, we try to find players who already know this competition.

"Or players coming directly from the rest of the world that can be easily helped by the other ones already speaking Italian, even foreigners, who can help them integrate as fast as possible."

Marco Ottolini is the sporting director at Genoa
Marco Ottolini is the sporting director at Genoa

Italian job

While Ottolini continues to enjoy success at boardroom level, boss Alberto Gilardino is receiving plaudits for his efforts in the dugout.

The 41-year-old retired Italian striker, who won the World Cup with his country in 2006 and the Champions League with AC Milan the following year, has fostered a strong relationship with Ottolini.

And the transfer guru says it is the passion of the fans that motivates those working behind the scenes at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

He added: "At Genoa we want to do things in a balanced and sustainable way. We want our fans to keep enjoying watching our team.

"There is such enthusiasm here and an atmosphere that is unique and difficult to describe in words.

"The shivers you have in our stadium and the love our supporters have for our club, which is the oldest in Italy. It is emotional to work for such a club.

"So we have to always keep this responsibility into consideration and establish ourselves in Serie A, which is where Genoa belongs."


Radu DragusinTottenham HotspurPremier LeagueGenoaSerie A
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