Is Sampdoria Midfielder Jose Campana Serie A's Next Star?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 23, 2014

Spain's Jose Campana kicks ball during the Under-20 World Cup Group A soccer match between the U.S. and Spain, in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, June 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Crystal Palace announced the departure of Jose Campana to Sampdoria, per Crystal Palace's website, so will he be a Serie A transfer success or flop?

To answer that question, here is a scouting report on Campana, a 21-year-old, 5'11", 163-pound Spanish central midfielder, who played on loan at Nurnberg last season.


Campana Positives

Campana has shown glimpses of being a virtuoso midfielder.

With Hamburg defensive midfielder Milan Badelj applying pressure, Campana completed a difficult in-swinging pass to then-Nurnberg (now Augsburg) utility player Markus Feulner.


Eintracht Frankfurt's defence was unlocked by an outstanding lofted pass from Campana to then-Nurnberg (now Bayer Leverkusen) centre-forward Josip Drmic. 


Campana is a creative, flamboyant and incisive passer.

He displayed the ability to control play when he made 42 of 50 passes, provided two scoring chances and created a goal against Eintracht Frankfurt, per FourFourTwo.


Sampdoria midfielders Angelo Palombo, Nenad Krsticic, Pedro Obiang and Renan combined for four assists last season.

Therefore, Sampdoria adding Campana, a midfielder with vision and a panache playing style is straight thinking, because he should succeed in Serie A.  

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Bundesliga and Premier League football is played at a frenetic pace, whereas Serie A football is more methodical and the play is slowed up, as noted by Napoli manager Rafa Benitez, who is well-versed in English football, having coached Liverpool and Chelsea

"When we talk about high tempo we talk about the Premier League. Physically in Germany they are strong and they play with high tempo," Benitez said, per Perform (h/t Miles Chambers at "The [Italian] style of football is you have to control the games and it is not easy."

Borja Valero flopped at West Bromwich Albion, but he is a world-class midfielder at Fiorentina.

He completed 87.8 percent of his 59.9 passes per game, created 81 scoring chances and registered nine assists last season. 

If Hellas Verona's Romulo, Torino's Omar El Kaddouri and Sassuolo's Francesco Magnanelli can flourish in Serie A, then so can Campana.

Given space, Campana displayed how pure his shooting stroke was, striking a shot past Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. 


Campana Negatives

A noticeable weakness in Campana's game is his defending. 

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan had possession, Campana did not press or cut off the Borussia Dortmund central attacking midfielder's passing lane. 

As a result, Mkhitaryan ambled along, surveyed his options and played a through-ball to then-Dortmund (now Bayern Munich) centre-forward Robert Lewandowski.


Instead of intervening, Campana just watched Werder Bremen centre-forward Franco Di Santo take a shot. 


Campana was a step behind play, which meant he could not contest then-Werder (now Wolfsburg) central attacking midfielder Aaron Hunt's shot. 


Stuttgart left-back Konstantin Rausch took advantage of Campana's aloofness. 


In 36 league games since the 2011-12 season, Campana only registered 36 tackles.

His ineffectiveness without the ball is a factor in why he only started 41.7 percent of games in the same period. 

Bottom Line

While it is a red flag that Campana failed to make a lasting impression at Sevilla, Crystal Palace and Nurnberg, don't forget about Shkodran Mustafi's career path. 

From 2009-2012, Mustafi did not start a single Premier League game for Everton.

He lacked experience and was not tested at senior level.

Sampdoria took a calculated bet on Mustafi, and it has paid dividends. He transitioned into a solid centre-back for Sampdoria and is a FIFA World Cup winner. 

Campana exudes quality.

He was a member of Spain's FIFA 2013 U-20 World Cup squad. A next generation comprising of young guns like Gerard Deulofeu, Jese Rodriguez, Juan Bernat, Oliver Torres, Paco Alcacer and Suso. 


Campana's through-ball to Deulofeu against the United States was a moment of genius. 


The ability is there and Sampdoria management believe they can tap into it.

Campana can turn into a success story like Mustafi.



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