Where next for Simone Inzaghi?

Simone Inzaghi

Since being appointed as Lazio’s interim head coach in 2016, Simone Inzaghi has transformed the biancocelesti into one of the league’s most compact sides, and has consistently delivered silverware, winning the Supercoppa in 2017 against Juventus, and most recently claiming the Coppa Italia this season after dispatching Atalanta. The two trophies are indicative of Inzaghi’s good work at the club, but it may be time for the Italian tactician to consider his future, and evaluate the possibility of joining one of Italy’s elite.

With both Juventus, and Milan considering him for their managerial vacancy, Inzaghi would be wise to wait before committing his future to Lazio. While club president Claudio Lotito and Inzaghi have an excellent rapport – to a point where the former views his tactician as ‘his son’ – it’s time Inzaghi demands more.

Given the current roster at his disposal, it’s clear Inzaghi’s gotten the most out of them, and has arguably seen his side peak. If they are to build off their two trophies, and consistently qualify for the Champions League, an aspiration shared by the entire club, they will undoubtedly need reinforcements. Going into next season, Lazio could arguably use another centre-back, a wing-back, and another striker to compete with Immobile and Caicedo.

Since Inzaghi’s hiring, Lotito has been conservative in the transfer market, and has opted for minor reinforcements rather than a complete squad upheaval. While this helps build chemistry, Lazio will need to dip into their transfer funds if they want to compete with the Milan clubs, and fierce rivals Roma. As the competition grows, so does their need to spend.

If Lotito guarantees Inzaghi a higher salary and more say on the transfer market, the Italian tactician should heavily consider remaining at Lazio for the foreseeable future. However, the managerial vacancy at Juventus may complicate affairs.

The bianconeri are far and away the best side in Italy, and don’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Armed with Cristiano Ronaldo, coaching Juventus is an enticing prospect for any manager, let alone an up and coming Italian one like Inzaghi. Given his positive relationship with Fabio Paratici that goes back to their childhood, the Lazio tactician could emerge as a front-runner for the role. His experience in Serie A will undoubtedly put him near the top of Juve’s list, but he’s not there alone.

In recent times, Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked to the vacancy. In any case, joining Juventus would allow Inzaghi to take the next step in his career, and is a unique opportunity to grow his trophy case and reputation within the peninsula.

Milan, on the other hand, are frankly a less enticing option at the moment, but their appeal cannot be discounted. Despite their recent struggles, the rossoneri remain one of the league’s sleeping giants, and have improved significantly since last season. A lot, however, will depend on Champions League qualification, and whether or not, they will pip Inter or Atalanta to the final spot.

If they manage to claim top four, and promise to reinforce in key areas notably centre-back and left-wing, Inzaghi may be tempted to abandon his Lazio post for greener pastures.

While managing the biancocelesti has given Inzaghi the exposure and the necessary experience to take the next step from the primavera, managing one of Juventus or Milan may be an opportunity he can’t afford to turn down at this point in his career. After all, there aren’t many top class managers currently on the market, and by mere process of elimination, Inzaghi may find himself in contention for the jobs.

Much like he has done his entire career, expect Inzaghi to seize the opportunity and continue to propel his managerial career forward. That is, unless, Lotito makes him an offer he can’t refuse…

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Lazio’s Winless Streak Continues Against Sampdoria

Winless in their last four going into Saturday’s clash against Sampdoria, Lazio needed to rebound at home. After a dubious stoppage time penalty shot from Ciro Immobile put the hosts ahead late, it seemed like it would finally be their day. Yet, in the 99th minute, a headed-on long ball found its path to an onrushing Riccardo Saponara who expertly lobbed Strakosha with a deft touch, stripping the biancocelesti of the three points. The draw was Lazio’s fourth consecutive and sees the side trailing an injury-riddled Milan by a point for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Lazio’s struggles haven’t gone unnoticed in the peninsula leading Simone Inzaghi to the hot-seat. With Champions League football as the objective, the Italian tactician is facing pressure for the first time since taking over in the nation’s capital. Throughout this poor stretch, the biancocelesti have largely been wasteful in front of goal, averaging a mere goal a game. Outside of their talisman Immobile, no player on the team has more than three Serie A goals, leading many to believe they’re a one-man show in the final third. Despite their struggles, Lotito has assured the fans Inzaghi is here to stay.

“The coach will be here for the next few years. We’ve put a lot of things in place to grow the club and it can happen that some games don’t go in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean catastrophes or broken relationships,” said the Lazio president.

When it goes wrong it’s easy to scapegoat the manager but both Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto have been shadows of their former selves and have been wholly ineffective in the final phase, whereas last season they were key contributors. While the Serbian’s price-tag was quoted near the 100 million mark just this summer, Lazio president Claudio Lotito will be lucky to recoup even half of that if he keeps performing like this. Luis Alberto, on the other hand, has failed to follow up his debut season in Serie A and has suffered from the same inconsistency problems that plagued him earlier in his career.

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Former Juventus director Moggi talks Ronaldo, Scudetto race and more


Former disgraced Juventus director Luciano Moggi gave a wide-ranging interview to Corriere dello Sport, weighing in on some hot topics. He was permanently banned from football following the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, which cost the Bianconeri two league titles. “I still have many friends in the football world, I follow my Juventus. I talk to Andrea Agnelli a lot, he is a smart guy. He spent 12 years with us and he learned everything. He knows that we won our Scudetti on the pitch and nobody helped us.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “FIAT (now FCA) had a big role. I had acquired him from Sporting when he was 18 for Salas and £5 billions (about €2.5M). But Salas preferred River Plate and Ronaldo moved to Manchester United. Continue reading

Best young midfielder in Serie A: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic


The skills of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic were clear since the first game he played with Lazio and his rise to stardom has been irresistible over the last calendar year. The Biancocelesti managed to snatch him away from Fiorentina at the last minute and they are reaping great benefits on the pitch. It will be an extremely rich pay day when they will decide to cash in on him, but he is only 22 and could decide to enjoy him for a little longer.

His combination of size and playmaking make him almost impossible to guard. He also tends to play between the lines, in a no man’s land where he thrives because he usually has some room to operate. His physical tools always helped him, but his growth has been fuelled by visible improvements from the technical standpoint. When he first arrived, he was more way more comfortable as attacking midfielder, but now he can easily cover the box-to-box position, which is probably where he will spend most of his time in his career.

In his lone season in Belgium after the move from Vojvodina, he tallied six goals in 24 appearances. He scored once in his first season in Serie A, when he featured sparingly, then in 2016/2017 he finished with seven goals and ten assists between the Italian league and the domestic cup. The coach Simone Inzaghi fully learned how to use him in properly and his value skyrocketed. He has scored once this season, a stunner from long range against Chievo Verona: in a time when the attack was heavily undermanned due to injuries, primarily to Felipe Anderson and Luis Nani, his partnership with Luis Alberto right behind Ciro Immobile has propelled Lazio to the top positions in the standings.

He is obviously a force in the air, but also a good passer. He is averaging 2.4 shots per game, 1.6 key passes and 2 dribbles, per WhoScored. He has completed 82% of his passes and has dished 0.2 through balls and 2 long balls per game, per WhoScored.

The president Claudio Lotito said that he turned down a €70M offer for him in the summer: while he can be a little bombastic in his statements, there is no denying that there is a lot of interest in the young Serbian. Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus and Inter have all been rumoured to be after him at some point. His versatility make him an extremely palatable prospect. Despite the buzz, Milinkovic-Savic recently extended his contract till 2022: Lazio is a very expensive boutique and will try to hold onto him as long as possible. They paid €6M two years ago from Genk and recently gave another €9M to the Belgian club to waive their rights on the 50% of the money received from future sale. At €15M, he is still one of the best bargains in Serie A and the Biancocelesti are project to at least triple that sum when they will ship him.

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