The summer had threatened to be a turbulent one in Bergamo as Atalanta‘s 2022/23 Serie A season drew to a close. Although the Nerazzurri confirmed their return to Europe after a one-year absence by qualifying for the 2023/24 Europa League, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Gian Piero Gasperini and his future on the bench at the Gewiss Stadium.

In what we have come to expect as typical Atalanta fashion, though, they managed things well. The club’s higher-ups sat down with Gasperini just days after the season ended, finding common ground that had appeared to be missing for a while and agreeing on what was needed for the club to continue competing in the top half of Serie A. After doubts that he would be in charge beyond this summer, Gasperini extended his stay at Atalanta until 2025, with an option to renew further until 2026.

With Gasperini at the helm still, Atalanta will be confident of punching above their weight and bloodying some of the traditional bigger sides’ noses again in 2023/24.

Gian Piero Gasperini celebrates leading Atalanta into Europe again for 2023/24. (@Atalanta_BC)

Atalanta signings and sales

Rasmus Hojlund was one of the standout names of the summer transfer window, with the Danish forward finally sealing his long-awaited move to Manchester United just a couple of weeks before the 2023/24 season’s scheduled start. As they tend to, though, Atalanta sold the forward on their terms and pocketed a more-than-healthy sum of near €80 million for a youngster who had spent just one season at the club and scored nine Serie A goals.

Beyond Hojlund, Jeremie Boga and Joakim Maehle were also allowed to leave, while second-choice goalkeeper Marco Sportiello‘s contract was not renewed and he joined AC Milan. Uncertainty remains over the future of Duvan Zapata, with AS Roma and Monza having been closely linked with the Colombian.

Gianluca Scamacca and Luca Percassi. (@Atalanta_BC)

In terms of arrivals, though, Atalanta have done some exciting things. El Bilal Toure joined from Almeria and fellow forward Gianluca Scamacca was signed from West Ham United, with La Dea beating both Inter and AS Roma to sign the Italian.

Mitchel Bakker was signed from Bayer Leverkusen as Maehle‘s replacement long before the Danish wing-back was shifted, Sead Kolasinac (free) came in to reinforce at centre-back, and Michel Adopo (free) joined from Torino as well. Replacing Sportiello, promising Italian goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi returned from his loan at Cremonese.

While Gasperini is insisting that additions are still needed, Atalanta‘s squad already looks a lot healthier than it did last term.

Atalanta 2023/24 season expectations

Atalanta’s El Bilal Toure. (@Atalanta_BC)

With recent history of regular Champions League qualifications – having been in the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition for three consecutive seasons – Atalanta have become used to expecting far greater things than any other historically provincial side in Serie A. With more limited resources than the sides they compete with at the top of the Italian football pyramid, though, the Nerazzurri are continuing to punch above their weight by being involved in the fight for European qualification.

Gasperini will have a tough task of managing a squad that isn’t as deep as those that Atalanta will be battling against, and he will need to strike a balance as he looks to compete in the Europa League and in Serie A, not forgetting the Coppa Italia as well.

As ever, expectations in Bergamo will be for the side to be competitive, and to be fighting for some kind of European place by the end of the season. The fans share an understanding that the first, and most important, expectation is that ‘la maglia sudata sempre’ – the shirt is always sweaty – and that motto is written on the inside of every player’s shirt and used by supporters to greet any new signing. Beyond that, their now-regular presence in the European places is a huge plus and something that the Atalanta fans will hope to see again at the end of 2023/24.

While it’s not an expectation, fans of the Nerazzurri can dream of fighting for a return to the Champions League while maintaining their understanding that any European qualification is success for Atalanta.

Marten de Roon celebrates a goal. (@Atalanta_BC)

Atalanta fixtures: First six 2023/24 Serie A matches

Atalanta enjoyed a strong start to the 2022/23 season, and they were the only side keeping up with pace-setters Napoli in the opening matchdays of the campaign. While the Bergamaschi will not be targetting the scudetto, they might well find themselves among the early leaders again this term, with their Matchday 4 trip to Fiorentina looking like the most challenging game on paper of their opening six matches.

DateFixture
Sun, August 20Sassuolo vs Atalanta
Sat, August 26Frosinone vs Atalanta
Sat, Sept 2Atalanta vs Monza
Sun, Sept 17Fiorentina vs Atalanta
Sept 22/23/24/25 TBDAtalanta vs Cagliari
Sept 26/27/28 TBDVerona vs Atalanta