In typical Claudio Lotito fashion, the negotiation between Lazio and Sassuolo took a while, but they reached an agreement and Francesco Acerbi can head to the Italian Capital. The player had to force his hand and did not show up for the usual pre-season medicals in order to push for the transfer. The Rome-based club have reportedly paid a €10M fee and the player signed a five-year contract.
The Biancocelesti were looking to replace Stefan De Vrij, who bolted to Inter for free, and zeroed in on Acerbi. The 30-year-old centre-back is coming off yet another solid season in Emilia and felt it was time to move, again, to a bigger club after his failed stint at Milan when he was younger and probably unprepared.
Acerbi is a two-time cancer survivor, but after getting ill in 2013 and 2014, he played over 100 games in a row without missing a single minute, proving to be a real ironman. He notched over 30 appearances in each of the last four seasons. A natural leader, he has all the tools of a modern defender: physicality, attentiveness, proper technique and also a touch of elegance. He has accumulated experience as the key cog of a three-man defence in the final few months of last season under Giuseppe Iachini, the same role he is expected to take on with the Eagles.
Acerbi is a late bloomer and cut his teeth in the lower leagues mainly with Pavia and Reggina. He got to Serie A with Chievo in 2011, at age 23, and he impressed for his all-around game. Milan signed him the following summer, but he was rather disappointing with the Rossoneri and they let him go in January, when he returned to the Flying Donkeys. Sassuolo swooped in July of 2013 and he became a mainstay there. He has two caps with Italy under his belt, with Cesare Prandelli and Antonio Conte.
It is a nice landing spot for Acerbi, who will lead to back-line of a team fighting to qualify to Champions and Europa League and will play in the second continental competition. Danilo Cataldi, who had decent stint Benevento last year, was initially part of the deal, but the evaluation of the midfielder became a point of contention and the sides opted to move forward without including him.
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