Sampdoria chief Pasquale Sensibile admits they're happy Rafa Benitez turned them down over the summer. Sensibile confirmed they held talks with the former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach before going with Ciro Ferrara.

"With the benefit of hindsight, he thought it was a mistake and it was fortunate for us that we have not come to a complete agreement," he said.

"We reached the economic agreement inside a half-hour. Our ideas on youth development were the same of ours - and our owner even wanted to discuss a longer contract with him.

"But he wanted a budget of €30 million. He wanted us to compete immediately, which was incompatible with our needs. At that point, we made a choice consistent with our intentions."