Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Eight

Lazio-Atalanta: the formula for the Biancocelesti never really changes, as Ciro Immobile is going like gangbusters this year, while Luis Alberto has been their second-best player, especially thanks to his playmaking, as he has already provided five assists. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa have both broken the ice, but they have yet to turn into consistent scorers. The ancillary contributors like Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic have been stuck in a timeshare, while Senad Lulic’s fantasy appeal is limited.

The Goddess lost Duvan Zapata for some time due to a muscular injury, so it now will have to be Luis Muriel’s time to shine as the primary go-to-guy. He has scored three times in five appearances despite the irregular playing time and, despite the different skillset, they might not take a big hit there. Continue reading

Assessing the striker market in Serie A

quagliarella

After previously analyzing the keeper, center back, wing back, midfielder and winger market in Serie A, it’s time to close out this series by analyzing the striker position. Let’s first look at the current situation for the top Italian teams:

 

Juventus- Cristiano Ronaldo did his part in the Champions League by scoring the bianconeri’s five last goals in the competition, Moise’ Kean broke out in 2019 while Mario Mandzukic ran out of gas in second part of season for second year in a row, Paulo Dybala struggled significantly playing next to Ronaldo and only scored 10 goals in all competitions. Higuain could be a significant factor here, because Juventus will be hard pressed to find him a new home to avoid his enormous wages impacting their balance sheet.

Napoli- while Milik scored over 20 goals this season, his miss in the group stages against Liverpool maybe the most memorable moment of his campaign. Dries Mertens had a very strong finish to the season and is determined to stay at club for foreseeable future while Roberto Inglese, who was on loan at Parma, could be used in a deal to secure a bigger name.

Atalanta- in a recent interview, the Bergamaschi’s president Percassi stated that Papu Gomez and Ilicic (who has just one year left on his deal) will stay while Duvan Zapata could be on the move. Highly rated prospect Musa Barrow struggled to find consistent playing time.

Inter- Lautaro Martinez had an overall positive season first season in Serie A since he proved to be a versatile striker but ended up with just 9 goals in all competitions- although he wasn’t help by the fact that Spalletti didn’t think he and Mauro Icardi could play together. Speaking of Icardi, it’s remarkable how much his stock has fallen in 2019…

Milan- with Marco Giampaolo expected to be the next manager, the rossoneri could be playing two strikers regularly- one of which will certainly be Piatek while Cutrone could represent a substantial plusvalenza by being sold since he’s a homegrown player. After a an uneven season in la Liga, Andre’ Silva will either return to Milan or more likely his agent Jorge Mendes will have to find him a third team in three years.

Roma- with the giallorossi determined to slash their payroll after failing to qualify for the Champions League, Edin Dzeko is certain to leave now that he has just one year on his deal. While Patrik Schick showed some flashes of his Sampdoria form at the beginning of 2019 after he hired a personal motivator, he still has yet to come close to justifying his transfer fee and there’s been a talk of a swap with Andre’ Silva that would send him to Milan where he would be reunited with Marco Giampaolo, the manager who got the most out of him.

Lazio- Ciro Immobile had his worst season at Lazio but still scored 15 goals in Serie A while Felipe Caicedo showed significant improvement in his second year in Italy. The biancocelesti have recently linked to FIFA superstar Wesley who would be an intriguing long term addition.

Let’s take a look at which strikers could be on the move:

 

Fabio Quagliarella- the 36 year old attacker finished the season as the league’s top scorer and could be on the move this summer. Napoli are considering bringing him back, which would also be an attempt to mend fences with their fan base. It however remains to be seen if Quagliarella is willing to go to a team where he won’t be a guaranteed starter since he’s looking to be part of Italy’s team for next year’s Euro.

zapata

Duvan Zapata/Josip Ilicic- Quagliarella isn’t the only former Napoli player linked with a return to the Amalfi coast this summer, in fact Duvan Zapata is now De Laurentiis and Giuntoli’s top target. The Colombian striker was an afterthought for Maurizio Sarri, but he would be an ideal number 9 in Ancelotti’s system. Atalanta’s president Percassi said that if an offer for around 50/60 million for Zapata he may not be able to say no..

Zapata isn’t the only Atalanta player linked to Napoli. In fact there are reliable reports that he has agreed to personal terms with the partenopei on a three year deal, and considering that he has just one year left on his current contract with Atalanta, they will almost certainly have to either give him a raise to extend him, or sell him this summer to avoid losing him for free in 2020.

 

Mauro Icardi- just 6 months ago many thought his 110 million exit clause was a relative bargain on the transfer market. But after all the recent drama and his inability to score from the run of play since returning to the team (in addition to missing a penalty in the key last match), his value has plummeted.

Icardi has made it clear he wants to stay at Inter, but it remains to be seen if Antonio Conte will allow him to be such a big distraction to the start of his new project. There has been talk of a potential swap for Dybala, which won’t be easy to pull off for a variety of reasons, but a club like Atletico Madrid, who isn’t afraid to invest in reclamation projects, could be an even better fit.

 dzeko

Edin Dzeko- regardless of what happens with Icardi, the Bosnian striker will almost certainly join Inter who are offering him a three year deal. Dzeko is a perfect fit for Conte’s system and is expected to be an ideal mentor for Lautaro Martinez.

 

Mario Mandzukic- despite signing an extension a few months ago, the Croatian striker will likely leave Juventus this summer. Mandzukic would have almost certainly stayed had Allegri not been relieved of his duties, but with Sarri expected to come, he’s less than an ideal fit in Juventus’ system moving forward. Manduzkic could cash in by playing in China for the next few season.

Andrea Petagna- the former Milan striker had a breakout season by scoring 16 goals for SPAL and could now move to a bigger club. Petagna would be an ideal fit at Roma since his style of play is so similar to Dzeko, in preparation for a potential move, his current club SPAL has already targeted Francesco Caputo, who also scored 16 goals last season playing for Empoli.

 

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 36

Torino FC v US Sassuolo - Serie A

Standings implications: Roma broke through late in the bout with Juventus, grabbing three points that allowed them to keep up with Milan and Atalanta, which upended Fiorentina and Genoa on Saturday. Inter dispatched Chievo and remained in third, while the Bergamaschi maintained their three-point lead over the rivals. Torino stayed close to the pack with a late comeback versus Sassuolo and Lazio returned to winning ways in Cagliari. In the suburbs of the standings, Empoli got the second W in a row, their first of the season on the road, by topping Sampdoria. Udinese did not fumble the Frosinone fixture, therefore the closest team is now Genoa that has just one more point than the Azzurri. Napoli beat SPAL. Bologna stayed in their relatively cozy spot with a win over Parma.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 35

quagliarella

Standings implications: Atalanta defeated Lazio and can the smell Champions League since Roma equalized against Genoa and Torino shared the spoils with Juventus. They are also one point away from Inter, who tied with Udinese. Milan outlasted Bologna and pulled even with the Giallorossi three points awai from the fourth place. The Biancocelesti dropped to minus seven, so barring something crazy they can only aim for Europa League. Napoli clinched the second position with a late comeback. Empoli bested Fiorentina and cut Udinese’s lead to two points and the Griffon’s one to four, thus rekindling their hopes. Frosinone have been mathematically relegated as Sassuolo completed the comeback late, while SPAL are officially safe after pummeling Chievo. Parma and Sampdoria drew in a meaningless but entertaining bout.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 26

cataldi

Standings implications: Juventus most likely inflicted the final blow to the title race with a 1-2 win over Napoli in a crazy game. Milan leapfrogged Inter in the third spot as they eked out a win against Sassuolo, while the Nerazzurri were blitzed by Cagliari back on Friday. Roma stayed behind as they got battered by Lazio, which re-entered the fray for the fourth spot, as they have six fewer points than the Beneamata, but have to recover one game. Atalanta and Torino remain in hot pursuit of an Europa League berth with their convincing victories over Fiorentina and Chievo. Massive points for the Sardinians and for Udinese in the relegation zone: the Friulani moved seven points clear of Bologna after besting them on Sunday afternoon. Frosinone and Empoli treaded waters down there with their gritty ties against Genoa and Parma. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 9

udinesenapoli

Serie A returns with a pretty decent slate capped off by the mouth-watering Milan derby on Sunday night.

Roma-Spal: the Giallorossi have solved some of their initial problems and have put together a three-game winning streak, defeating Frosinone, Lazio and Empoli. The Estensi are going in opposite direction, since have suffered four straight losses, to Fiorentina, Sassuolo, Sampdoria and Inter, after a hot start. Eusebio Di Francesco seems to have found the right scheme for his men, a 4-2-3-1 with Lorenzo Pellegrini in the hole. The youngster has been remarkable filling in for the injured Javier Pastore, to the point that there is a real competition here. Continue reading