Perhaps it is loyalty, perhaps it is timing, or perhaps it is down to injury but, whatever the reason, Genoa’s Mattia Perin is continually overlooked.
The Grifone keeper has been tipped as Italy’s bright young thing for some time and yet, as another transfer window goes by, he remains at the Rossoblu.
Whilst this is not a problem for his club, it seems strange a player with his talent has not been lured away; he has been subject of interest and a move will no doubt come sooner rather than later.
Genoa director general Giorgio Perinetti stated prior to January his keeper wouldn’t leave in the winter window unless the club received a ridiculous offer and emphasised he would like to keep him for as long as possible.
With the Grifone caught up in a relegation battle, it is easy to see why he wouldn’t be allowed to depart at least until the summer – something the Perin agreed to. He previously stated that he was staying at the club until June and that January was not the right time to speak about moving.
Perin has been with the club for ten years and he has a strong loyalty to the club. That may well be tested again in the summer as Napoli are still rumoured to be interested in him as a replacement for Pepe Reina.
Perin has been with the Genoese since 2008 after moving from hometown club Latina. The Rossoblu identified the youngster as a potential asset for the future yet, as is often the case with young keepers, they loaned him out to gain experience.
His time at Padova gave him good grounding but it was his spell at Pescara that saw him really stand out as he dislodged the experienced Ivan Pelizzoli and, despite the team’s eventual relegation, showed he was capable of competing in Italy’s top flight.
Perin made good on the promise he showed at Pescara once back in the port city. The 6ft 2ins stopper is athletic and his natural attributes are complemented by his superb reactions, allowing him to make dramatic stand-out saves – especially in his early years.
One of his biggest assets is how quickly he can get up to the second ball. With Genoa’s leaky defence giving him plenty of opportunity to practice, he has become an expert at making some incredible double saves.
This speed is also evident when coming off his line; he is not afraid to play on the edge of his area and his footwork makes him the ideal modern-day goalkeeper. He also wins a good percentage of the crosses he comes for, giving the 25-year old a very rounded skill set.
One may ask, therefore, what the catch is. An athletic young goalkeeper, playing for a side that has tested him frequently throughout the 113 games he has played; there is little not to like. His ability to put mistakes aside and continue to perform only increases his appeal and, perhaps, adds to the mystery of why he remains in Genoa.
The answer is twofold. Firstly, Perin has suffered two cruciate ligament injuries in the last two years and, despite looking at fit as ever, that will be a concern for prospective buyers. Secondly, he is quite content in Genoa. While sidelined he told Gazzetta dello Sport of his ‘burning desire’ to get back into the Genoa side with his team-mates and spoke of his happiness in the city.
Like Bologna’s Simone Verdi, who turned down Serie A title challengers Napoli recently, Perin also argues the point it is more important to become a symbol of the club and an idol of the fans than move for money.
Whilst this is an admirable stance and one that will endear him to those who frequent the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, it may not end up being his decision. His leadership on the pitch and strength of character suggest he would have no problems fitting into the dressing room of one of Serie A's bigger clubs.
Genoa, too, may think find the money is too good to turn down although, at present, the suggestion is Perin would fetch no more than €20million. Perhaps, therefore, the combination of the lowly fee, injury concerns and Perin's preference to remain with the club will keep him in Genoa a while longer.