Bargain Hunting: Three Relegation Bound Players

With the Serie A season coming to a close, many of the league’s relegation-bound sides will be putting their best players on the market. Needing to trim their wage bill, some players will be available cheaply, opening the room for bargains. Every year there’s a few players that stick out from the rest, and frankly deserve better than a season in Italy’s second division. Here are three players who might be worth a look into for Italy’s mid-table sides.

Chievo – Mariusz Stepinski (Striker)

In his second season in Italian football, Stepinski has grown immensely as a forward, and has done his best to lead Chievo’s misfiring front-line. While goals proved hard to come by in Verona this season, the Polish forward found the back of the net six times, two of which came in the early goings of the year against Juventus and Roma.

At just 24 years old, Stepinski deserves another shot at top flight football, albeit with a more progressive side. Simply put, any side in the bottom half of the table could make do with his services.

Midfielder Sofian Kiyine could also be of interest to sides looking to bolster their midfield with youth, and has demonstrated he’s more than capable of holding his own.

Empoli – Ismael Bennacer (Center Midfield) 

The Empoli midfielder has been in sensational form this season, and has done exceptionally well at the heart of the Tuscan’s midfield. Bennacer has proven equally capable of shielding the back four, as he is spreading the ball as evidenced through his five assists, and is undoubtedly ready for a bigger club. With many of Serie A’s sides missing a link between attack and defence, the Algerian could prove to be an under-the-radar, low-cost option.

However, English giants Arsenal reportedly have a lowly 6 million euros buy-back clause in the 21-year-old’s contract, and are worth monitoring themselves. With Empoli’s Serie A status in doubt, expect Bennacer to be on the move come summertime.

Teammate Francesco Caputo, and his 15 goals, are also worth mentioning, but his age may prove to be a deterrent for most sides. In any case, the striker could prove to be an interesting option for the newly-promoted sides.

Frosinone – Camillo Ciano (Attacking Midfielder)

With Frosinone going down to Serie B, many of their players will be available rather cheaply. While loanees Francesco Cassata, and Andrea Pinamonti are of great interest, they will return to their parent clubs Sassuolo and Inter respectively. If either is available again, they should definitely be made priorities. However, Serie A’s mid-table to lower tier sides would be wise to focus their attention on attacking midfielder Camillo Ciano. 

The 29-year-old has proven effective in a front two, and is versatile enough to play behind the striker as well. His seven goals and four assists illustrate he’s worthy of Italy’s top flight, and will undoubtedly be on the radar of the newly-promoted outfits looking for goals, and creativity in the final third. As he is nearing 30 years old, Ciano could prove to be a bargain.

Sportiello is worthy of consideration, as well, but is coming off one of his poorer seasons since establishing himself as a number one within Italy.

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Serie A Club of the Round – Empoli

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Two perfect results in this round, one rather predictable by Juventus against Frosinone, which has already been covered on the site, the other a little more surprising, by Empoli, which rolled past Sassuolo. The Azzurri had not won since December 9th and copped just two points in the past nine fixtures, against Cagliari and Chievo, and were beaten in all the remaining ones.

Giuseppe Iachini fielded Afriyie Acquah over Hamed Traorè and Cristiano Dell’Orco over Jacob Rasmussesn compared to his most used line-up. Sassuolo posed very little resistance, perhaps caught by surprise by the vigor of the opponents, and Francesco Caputo and company pulled the strings all game long. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 17

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Juventus: Sami Khedira should be back to the squad list after missing time with an ankle sprain. Joao Cancelo, Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli are not expected to return in 2018.

Napoli: Simone Verdi is likely to be called up as he has been working with the rest of the team for a week now. Mario Rui missed the last game due to muscle fatigue and has been excluded from the squad list again. Alex Meret has a sore shoulder that needs to be monitored. Allan has been ruled out due to back pain.

Inter: Kwadwo Asamoah is suspended. Matias Vecino (thigh) and Dalbert (calf) have been on the sidelines for the last few games, but they will be available. Joao Miranda is fatigued and is very likely to miss the game. Continue reading