Pisa is not exactly a thing of the past in Italian football, but Jonathan Cohen joins an intriguing and stable project with realistic and sane ambitions. In fact, these are the most optimistic days near the famous tower for 30 years, and fans are excited to hear about extensive investments in the club from the new controlling shareholder. The stated goal is to qualify for the first division, but that really does not have to happen as early as next season, and the foundations are being built gradually. Pisa’s last visit to Serie A was somewhere in 1991, when Diego Simeone wore the media, and management is in no hurry to go anywhere. They are willing to wait another year or two, and will not endanger the club financially.
After all, the history of Pisa is fraught with financial collapses. It went bankrupt in 1994, and was on the verge of disappearing again in 2009, when it was relegated to the Fifth League. Coaches never held up there, the staffs changed at breakneck speed, and the management was mostly amateurish. That all changed in late 2016, when businessman Giuseppe Corrado, a die.hard Juventus fan, bought the club and became its president.
He was defined in the local media as “the savior of Pisa”, and indeed proved that the nickname is justified. In 2018, he appointed the anonymous Luca D’Angelo as coach, and since then they have been working in harmony, while expressing mutual trust. In his debut season, Pisa was promoted to the second division and stuck in it too much. Now, in order to move forward, an investor has been recruited outside Italy.
Last January, 75 percent of the club was sold to Alexander Knaster, a British.American Jewish millionaire of Russian descent, while Corrado was left to run the entire business as president. Canaster has previously tried unsuccessfully to acquire Sampdoria, and as part of the adventure he met Gianluca Viali, who serves, among other things, as a partner in a venture that brings investors together with groups. Together with the legendary former striker, who also serves as Roberto Mancini’s assistant in the Italian national team, he is the homemaker on the Pisa project.
So far, Canaster has invested around 20 million euros, most of which are for extensive renovation at Gribaldi Stadium, located in the city center, a few hundred meters from the tower. Canaster’s entry into the venture was conditioned on him receiving all the revenue from the operation of the modern stadium, and he believes the move may be profitable. At the same time, a state.of.the.art training facility is also in the final planning stages.
The interest of the American Alexander Knaster in acquiring 75% of the #Pisa– An American billionaire who would join the Corrado family in running the team and invest a lot of money #ForzaPisa #ForzaNeroazzurri #let’s step pic.twitter.com/v47nVVJE2s
. PisaSportingClubESP (AcPisa1909ESP) January 10, 2021
As for net football, two months ago, Claudio Cagliani, the older brother of the legendary Giorgio Caglini, was appointed sporting director. For more than seven years, Claudio worked at Juventus, in a role apparently matched by the captain, and was praised for managing the young team and monitoring the loaned players. As a native of Pisa and a fan of the team since he remembers himself, he could not refuse the offer of Corrado and Canaster, and left the old lady. “In the new position I have a lot more powers, and he is also a lot more challenging. I am grateful for the opportunity, and hope to bring here the win.win spirit that characterizes Juventus and my brother,” Cagliani declared.
Meanwhile, he has already strengthened the squad with a host of players, including two nurtured in Juventus’ young squad – midfielder Idrice Torre and stopper Pietro Brauto, but the process has only just begun. Cohen was marked by Cagliani and Corrado as a key player for the team for years to come – the great talent around which the Pisa offensive game will be built. The second league in Italy is not as glamorous as the first, but it is easy to see why Cohen was convinced that this was the right move for him.
Juventus thanks Claudio Chiellini.https: //t.co/FWxggewJxG pic.twitter.com/IIwYLFD4Iy
– JuventusFC (juventusfc) June 3, 2021
Instead of jumping too high, he arrives at a club that assigns him the role of main star. If and when Pisa is promoted to Serie A, success will be registered in his name. Even if that does not happen, he will be exposed to the many scouts who will come to the Pisa Games on a weekly basis, and may benefit from Claudio Cagliani’s branching connections. As part of proper management and budget maintenance, Pisa should sell the stars when it receives the right offers.
“The goal is to advance the works on the stadium and the training facility, and to advance a number of places in the table,” Corrado explained the plans for the new campaign, and the goal should be achievable, given that Pisa finished only 14th last season – despite winning 54 Goals, the fourth best balance in the league. “Then, in 2023, we already want to strive to qualify for the first league,” the president stressed.
The many fans, in a city that is crazy about football, believe him. They prefer quiet management over promises detached from reality. Pisa is known for a huge crowd with a huge impact – for example, stormy demonstrations forced the previous management to bring back in 2016 the beloved and revered coach Gennaro Gattuso who chose to leave when the agreements with him were not honored. Gattuso has been advancing for a long time, but he is well remembered in the city, as are other big names who have passed through it.
Marco Tardelli started his career in Pisa in the 70’s, for Donga it was the first European stop in 1987, Simeone was relegated to the second division, Christian Vieri paid a quick visit early in his career, as was Leonardo Bonucci who was once loaned to Pisa from Inter who did not really believe at him. Is Cohen good enough to join the honorable mention list? The burden of proof will be on him.