Three Players Lazio Are Set to Target

After yet another indifferent season in the nation’s capital, Lazio are now turning to the transfer window to bolster their roster. Following Simone Inzaghi’s contract extension, Lazio president Claudio Lotito is ready to reward his loyalty with a few signings. Over the past few days, a number of names have been linked with the biancocelesti. This season, their squad lacked depth, and inevitably cost them top four; a prospect Lotito and co. are looking to avoid next season.

1) Wesley Moraes – Club Brugge

Lazio have been linked with the Brazilian for the last couple of transfer windows, and seem to be closing in on him this coming summer. In recent times, Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Lazio have offered Club Brugge 15 million euros plus an additional 5 million in bonuses. Barring any hitches, the deal should be closed shortly.

The target man would provide some much needed depth to Lazio’s front-line, and could act as the perfect foil to Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo. At times this season, the Italian international was tasked with leading the line on his own, and could use the rest. Moraes is capable of holding up play as a target man or take on his defender.

Give his physical stature, Wesley will slot in wonderfully into the Italian game, and he’ll be able to impose himself on his new surroundings.

2) Manuel Lazzari – SPAL

The SPAL wingback had a phenomenal season with the Ferrara-based club, and is now attracting interest from Italy’s bigger clubs. In 33 appearances this season, Lazzari registered eight assists, and was a true force down the right, earning his first call-up to the senior national team.

This season, Lazio desperately needed depth at the wingback position, and generally deployed Adam Marusic down the right. However, after a bright debut season, the 25-year-old slowed down, and much like Immobile, needed rest. In his 40 appearances in all competitions, the Montenegrin scored three goals and added one assist; a far cry from his first season with Lazio.

Signing Lazzari would go a long way as it would not only offer some much needed fresh legs, but would also encourage competition.

3) Daniele Baselli – Torino 

Another player that has recently been linked to a move to Lazio is Torino’s Daniele Baselli. Since joining I Granata, Baselli’s game has stagnated, and he arguably needs a move away to further his development. Before joining Torino, Baselli was one of Italy’s most highly-rated youngsters, due to his impressive technique and wide range of passing.

While Lazio’s midfield ranks are deep enough for the time being, Marco Parolo, Lucas Leiva and Milan Badelj aren’t getting any younger, and could use some refreshing. Moreover, Baselli has a different skill-set to Inzaghi’s current midfielders, and could offer some much needed invention from the middle of the park.

His five goals in all competitions demonstrate that the talent’s there for Baselli, but he may need a change of scenery to continue his progression. Inzaghi might just prove to be the right manager for the 27-year-old, as he has a positive track record with players ready to take the next step.

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Five points to take away from a season of triumph and torment at Lazio

ciro (1)

Lazio’s campaign of highs and lows concluded with the latter on Sunday when Simone Inzaghi’s side lost 3-1 at Torino to finish the Serie A campaign in eighth place.

It was the Roman club’s worst league finish in three years and topped off a season of startling inconsistency.

The joy of a 3-0 win over Roma and an impressive 1-0 victory away to Inter was in stark contrast to lifeless performances that resulted in damaging defeats to the likes of Genoa, SPAL and above all the unforgivable 2-1 loss at home to already-relegated Chievo over Easter weekend.

The Coppa Italia triumph gave the campaign a huge lift, raising spirits and securing Europa League qualification for next season. Continue reading

AC Milan move for Simone Inzaghi is a logical step

Simone Inzaghi

The Serie A managerial mery-go-round has started even earlier this summer, with three of the top five sides in Italy parting ways with their managers, just weeks after the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Max Allegri brings to an end his five year term with Italy’s dominant force, Juventus, whilst Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti has been fired, despite securing a top four finish.

However, former AS Roma boss Spalletti will not be the only managerial change at the San Siro this summer, with rivals AC Milan having already dispensed with head coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Continue reading

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 must dust off chequebook to ward off Juventus interest in Simone Inzaghi

Simone Inzaghi

As the haze from the post-Coppa Italia celebrations begins to clear, some images are stronger than others.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic rising higher than anyone to head in the opener. Joaquin Correa bursting through the Atalanta defence to seal Lazio’s seventh win in the competition.

And Simone Inzaghi being lifted on the shoulders of his players after masterminding the 2-0 victory from the touchline.

It was the crowning achievement of Inzaghi’s tenure in charge of the Roman club and one that silenced the critics, who had started to emerge after an inconsistent season in which he failed to achieve the objective of Champions League qualification. Continue reading

A Look At Juventus’ Coaching Candidates

With the future of Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri hanging in the balance after their recent European failure, a number of names have been linked with the bianconero hot seat. As Champions League glory remains the target, it remains to be seen just who president Andrea Agnelli will elect to lead the charge for the upcoming season. Here are the possibilities for the Juventus job.

Pochettino

1) Mauricio Pochettino 

The Tottenham Hotspur manager has done an exceptional job with limited resources throughout his time in London, and has led the English side to their first Champions League final in their history. Win or lose against Liverpool come June 1st, Pochettino has alluded to the fact that his five-year tenure may be coming to an end. Italian media outlets have ran with his comments, and have recently linked him with the Juventus post.

The Argentine tactician has a clear philosophy at all clubs he’s been with, something Juventus have lacked under Allegri this season. However, one stumbling block remains his salary. According to Corriere dello Sport, Pochettino is demanding 20 million euros per season, making it rather difficult for the Italian champions to compete with suitors.

In any case, Pochettino should be Agnelli’s primary target, and would undoubtedly make the most of Juventus’ deep roster. With European glory as their priority, the Argentine may just prove to be exactly what Juventus need.

conte

2) Antonio Conte

Much like Pochettino, former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been heavily linked with a return to Juventus in recent times. That being said, Sky’s Gianluca Di Marzio recently reported that the former Juventus tactician is extremely close to penning a deal with fierce rivals Inter. Regardless of these reports, Conte, a manager who set the first building blocks for this Juventus side eight years ago, remains a concrete possibility for the job.

A main concern for Agnelli, however, other than the fallout from his abrupt departure, is Conte’s ability to juggle European football along with domestic demands. In the past, the Italian tactician rarely rotated his eleven, and often struggled to replicate his side’s domestic form in Europe, crashing out of the Champions League group stages in disappointing fashion. Despite this, Conte recently came out in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, and claimed his stints with Chelsea and Italy have made him a better manager in this respect.

Moreover, it’s important to consider that Juventus’ side today are much stronger than Conte’s Juve, which is likely playing a decisive factor in the tactician’s decision to stall talks with Inter for the time being. While a reunion with Marotta at Inter is likely for Conte, don’t be surprised to see the veteran tactician replacing the man who succeeded him come summertime.

Lazio v Salzburg - UEFA Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Stadio Olimpico

3) Allegri v the field

Other than Pochettino and Conte, a number of other managers have been linked with the Juventus job, albeit less seriously. According to recent reports, Agnelli is also weighing up the option of hiring France boss Didier Deschamps. Much like Allegri, the French tactician is pragmatic with his approach, and would represent maintaining the status quo for Juventus.

Otherwise, Simone Inzaghi, Gian Piero Gasperini and Sinisa Mihajlovic have also been linked. The trio are all familiar with Italian football, and all have different merits. Firstly, Gasperini has done fantastic with Atalanta, getting them to their first Coppa Italia final in decades, and is two wins away from Champions League qualification. However, doubts remain over his ability to translate this to a big club, as seen through his past failure with Inter. In addition, there’s no reason why Gasperini should leave Atalanta after leading them to the first Champions League qualification in recent times. After all, Gasperini and gli Orobici are a match-made in heaven.

Inzaghi and Mihajlovic are interesting appointments in their own way, but frankly, are not Juventus calibre, especially if Champions League is the objective. If the bianconeri’s primary options aren’t feasible, Allegri may prove to be the best of the rest.

For the time being, no one really knows which way Agnelli is leaning, and could very well keep Allegri at the helm for the upcoming season. However, if recent reports are anything to go by, the Juventus president will likely be replacing Allegri by season’s end.

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Inzaghi ponders whether to stick or twist as Lazio reserves impress

caicedo

Ferocious Champions League races have become something of a theme across Europe this season with teams from England, Germany and Spain taking the top four fight to the final few weeks.

Nowhere is the battle as competitive as in Italy, though, where four points separate five teams between fourth and eighth place with four rounds of action remaining.

For Lazio, the jig appeared to be up when they fell to a harrowing 2-1 defeat at home to relegated Chievo over Easter weekend. Continue reading

Lazio Face Top Four Setback Following Milan Defeat

milanlazio

After narrowly succumbing to Milan by a score of 1-0 on the weekend, Lazio find themselves languishing in eighth place, six points back of fourth place; albeit with a game in hand. The good news is that they’re still very much in the race for top four. Unfortunately for them, however, so are the other five teams alongside them.

Lazio went into the game in relatively poor form dropping points against SPAL and Sassuolo prior, yet only found themselves three points adrift Milan. Against the rossoneri, Inzaghi’s men started relatively well and were unlucky not to find the back of the net first, with Ciro Immobile hitting the post. As fate would have it, Milan were awarded a penalty with just over ten minutes to play, and Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie converted it with aplomb.

With just over seven games left, and with only six points separating fourth place from eighth, the race for Champions League football has never been closer. As a result, the biancocelesti are going to have to win out their remaining games, if they want a chance. In their next clash, they’ll be taking on a relegation threatened Udinese, a clash that will be harder than the table suggests.

Following the game with Udinese, Inzaghi’s men then have Sampdoria, Atalanta, and Cagliari on the agenda. While Lazio will be the favourites with the odds-makers for these clashes, it is typically in these types of games that Inzaghi’s men struggle. Moreover, Sampdoria and Atalanta have proven they can go toe-to-toe with just about any side in Italy, and will prove to be an equal match for Lazio. After all, there’s a reason these sides are still alive in the race for European football this late in the season.

In the past, Serie A’s provinciali have been Lazio’s bogey sides, and were a major reason behind their failed qualification to last season’s Champions League. If they win their game in hand, Lazio join Roma, and Atalanta in the pack behind Milan, and are in it with a chance. If they don’t, they might as well forget top four altogether.

With Roma experiencing a resurgence of sorts under Claudio Ranieri’s guidance, it will be important for Lazio to exhibit consistency in order to pip their fierce rivals to Champions League football. Roma, however, still have to take on Inter, and Juventus and will be travelling to the Stadio Luigi Ferrari to take on Genoa, which is never easy. Then, of course, there’s Milan.

While the rossoneri had shown signs of slowing down in recent weeks, dropping points against Inter, Sampdoria, Udinese and Juventus in their last four, their win against Lazio will undoubtedly spur them on. With clashes coming up against Parma, Torino and Bologna, there’s no reason why Milan shouldn’t pick up, at the very least, seven points out of their next nine, and continue their march for top four football. Their fate is very much in their own hands.

Lazio’s focus should be on overtaking Milan and Roma, however, they shouldn’t forget about Atalanta either. Even if they win their game in hand, gli Orobici will still have one point more than Lazio. As a result, they must beat them in their head-to-head game on May 5, and win out. Luckily for Lazio, Atalanta have one of the most difficult run-ins taking on Napoli, and Juventus.

While Lazio’s game in hand still gives them hope for top four football, they will have to be at their very best over the next couple of weeks, otherwise they can forget about top four football. Factor in their semi-final clash in the Coppa Italia against Milan, and their schedule is complicated further. In any case, Inzaghi’s men will be hungry to return Champions League football to the nation’s capital; something that hasn’t been done in over a decade at Lazio.

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Crucial Stretch Ahead For Lazio

lazio

With the race for top four intensifying, Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio will have to demonstrate they are serious about their Champions League aspirations.

After the international break, the biancocelesti will travel to the San Siro to take on Inter. Inzaghi’s men currently sit eight points behind third-place Inter, and will need to claim all three points if they want to have a serious shot at qualifying for Europe’s elite competition next season.

Notorious for their strong finishes, Lazio have been in decent form in league play, losing only one of their last six clashes. Their most recent 4-1 thumping of Parma is a good indicator that Lazio are ready to put their past inconsistencies behind them and push on. In addition to dispatching Parma, the biancocelesti also defeated fierce rivals, and fellow top four competitors, Roma comfortably 3-0 just a few weeks back.

While the international break may take some wind out of their sails, they will need to maintain this form against Inter and beat an Icardi-less side. The good news for Lazio, is that their playmaker Luis Alberto, is demonstrating last season’s form, and is consistently pulling the strings between the lines again. Against Parma, the Spaniard was all over the pitch, scoring one goal and registering two assists, in what was arguably his best performance of the season.

fiorentinalazio

After Inter, the capital-based side will also get the opportunity to play the current holders of fourth place, Milan, in mid-April. Much like their clash against Inter, this encounter will have massive implications for Champions League football, and they will need to be up for it. Coming off their first defeat in league play since December, Gattuso’s men will be eager to extend their lead over Lazio. Currently, the rossoneri hold a six-point cushion over Lazio, however, that may be subject to change, considering there are three fixtures before their clash.

With that being said, Milan don’t exactly have it easy prior to their game against Lazio, having to travel to Sampdoria and league leaders Juventus. Regardless, much of their top four fate will depend on their encounter against Lazio.

In the meantime, Inzaghi’s men will have to dispatch SPAL, Udinese and Sassuolo. While on paper Lazio are favourites for the three points, only a fool would take these games for granted. In the past, Lazio have dropped points against the league’s cellar dwellers and mid-table outfits; something that will need to be avoided in the month of April.

Moreover, with both SPAL and Udinese fighting for survival, these clashes will be anything but straightforward. Regardless, much like the teams around them, Lazio have no choice but to claim the three points on all three occasions, otherwise, like last season, they will be on the outside looking in come May.

As the season winds down to a close, it’s now time to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Until now, Lazio have done well to remain with the pack despite their struggles and injury concerns. With clashes against direct competitors on the horizon, the biancocelesti have no choice: Win out, or miss out. At the very least, their fate’s in their own hands.

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