Tuesday August 29 2017
Serie A Underappreciated XI

With transfer records shattered this summer, Ramez Nathan lists 11 Serie A players who ought to be worth more.

The producers of this season’s soap opera seem to have missed out on a wealth of talent from top playmakers, goal scorers and ruthless defenders not on anybody’s wish list this summer.

Alex Cordaz (Crotone)

The fact that he is 34 years old might be the biggest reason no team approached the goalkeeper. With five clean sheets in the final six fixtures for Crotone last season, Cordaz was the main man that sent Davide Nicola cycling back to his home town in Turin.

Davide Zappacosta (Torino)

Zappacosta certainly stepped up his game last season, making the starting line-up 25 times, doubling the tally from his first Toro campaign. The right back made five assists, four of them came from his pinpoint crosses, better than any other full-back in Serie A.

Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)

After a spectacular Atalanta fourth-place finish, all eyes were on Juventus purchase Mattia Caldara and Milan’s Andrea Conti, forgetting partner in crime Toloi. The Brazilian centre-back left his opponents frustrated and unable to free themselves with skillful tackles. Toloi made 106 interceptions, more than any Serie A player last season.

Antonio Barreca (Torino)

Even more impressive than his first Serie A campaign were his destructive displays in the U-21 Euros. The Italian left-back showcased his ability to damage opposition attempts in attack and with more work on his ability to build moves from the back, he will surely rule his flank.

Miralem Pjanic (Juventus)

Barcelona opted to pay all that cash on a midfielder from Guangzhou Evergrande and bargain insane numbers on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho instead of approaching Pjanic. The Bosnian midfielder has vastly improved his defensive game, beside his astonishing ability to make lofty passes to his teammates upfront.

Jorginho (Napoli)

The fact Jorginho can’t even get a call-up for Italy nowadays is downright mystifying. Holding the highest average passes per game in Serie A last season and setting the highest six records of touches per game in the last 10 years, the relentless Jorginho is one of the most underrated midfielders in Serie A.

Jose Callejon (Napoli)

It is weird to find Callejon on this list, but with the scintillating football produced by Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, the Spaniard did not make any transfer headlines this summer. Callejon has managed 12 assists in the previous campaign, better than any other Serie A player, not to forget the 14 goals he bagged.

Valter Birsa (Chievo)

The Milan outcast has shone the brightest for the Gialloblu, as Birsa scored seven goals and assisted nine last term. No Rossoneri player had a better record than the one set by the Slovenian playmaker that season.

Felipe Anderson (Lazio)

Two seasons back he was on top of Manchester United’s wish-list when Louis van Gaal was in charge. The Brazilian set a new personal best of nine assists last campaign and dancing feet that completed 117 successful dribbles, better than any Serie A player. It remains a mystery how Felipe Anderson is not wanted at least as much as teammate Keita Balde Diao.

Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta)

The Argentinean winger has reached double figures for the first time in Serie A, both for goals and assists. Il Papu left Italy back in 2013 for a brief stint at Metalist Kharkiv, but here he is now leading Atalanta in the Europa League after writing a historic chapter with the club last term.

Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

The former Capocannoniere was once lost, but now is found. After two dreadful spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla, Immobile returned to Italy for Lazio, scoring 23 goals in one season. It was actually an improvement on his top scorer tally of 22 for Torino in 2013-14.

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Have your say...
Keita Balde >>>> Felipe Anderson.

And I'm Brazilian.

Keita Balde is THE player Barcelona should have been pursuing, rather than going nuts with Dembele.
on the 1st September, 2017 at 7:48pm
@Dimitar Papu is really underrated, really wish Milan had signed him. Immobile is just judged on his spells at Dortmund and Sevilla, he's a top quality goal scorer.
on the 31st August, 2017 at 2:12pm
Stop pretending Crutone is a word-class player! Yes he is a very very hot prospect, maybe the hottest in Italy, but still a prospect. That means he is not underrated at all. Even he still must not be rated at all. He is to young to have expectations from him. His only task at that age must be gain experience while trying to score as much as possible and perform as well as possible.
From the provided list of players I would choose Papu Gomez and Immobile.
From AS Roma fan.
on the 31st August, 2017 at 8:58am
@Maldini's Heir this one I agree with you on.

Icardi is one of the most under-rated players I have ever witnessed, I would even say he's the best striker in Serie A which hurts as a Milan fan. If he was in PL and being hyped by the media he would be considered to be worth 100m+ like the figures that get mentioned with Dybala.

Jorginho continually not getting called up is unbearable, he would bring balance to the NT midfield and free Verratti to play his game like Motta does/did at PSG.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 11:43pm

What about Crutone? You can't be underrated if you haven't been rated yet. Only a player that's been playing for years can fall into this article.

Pjanic is a good player, but if anything a bit overrated.

Not sure why some of the bigger clubs didn't go for Zappacosta, given most had/have problems at full-back.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 11:41pm
Icardi with out a doubt is highly underrated. Toloi, and Papu are fantastic players for Atalanta. Some on that list are just filler for the article. Cordez? Immobile?...really?.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 9:12pm
Why is Pjanic in there? He's surely one of the more overrated players, as is Immobile.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 6:45pm
As a Juve fan, I have to say, Icardi is criminally underrated.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 5:08pm
it is stunning to me that jorginho doesn't get called up for Italy what does he have to do he is one of the best midfielders in the league and he is getting dropped for the likes of montolivo parolo and pellegrini who hasn't even played this season. As for zappacosta he too good to sit on torino bench for the likes of de silvestre it is a complete waste of a brilliant right back
on the 29th August, 2017 at 5:07pm
I agree MH on your last part. I hope one day the pendulum swings back and players decide the Hollywood transfer at 19 is worse for their career than one at 25.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 2:51pm
This season at Milan one or more of Borini, Silva, Cutrone (yes) or Kalinic will be considered a failure. While Cutrone is obviously on fire, if and when he dips in form and falls down the "pecking order" we can see the media and fans writing him off as a "potential star who peaked too soon". And what about the pressure on Silva? So these players may be better of staying put and rewarding the clubs that made them so under-appreciated.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:50am
All we have to do is look Immobile on the list. He found the perfect conditions at Torino and then was tempted away by Dortmund and it was a disaster. How many strikers especially have moved clubs only to lose all confidence and form? It's almost a cliche. I'm not saying players should never take a leap but the sheer number of transfers and the lack of any coherent strategy behind most football transfers (which are primarily driven by money) means that all too often they are a disaster.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:45am
The reason Messi performs at such a high level at Barca is because everything there is set up for him. As we move down through the millions of players between Messi and that star player in your local football club each level is separated by ability (more often physical and mental) but also circumstance. It's up to managers to create the right conditions to get the most of players. What career would Nicky Butt or Tom Cleverley have had without Alex Ferguson?
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:41am
In fact how many levels are there between Barcelona Messi and Argentina Messi? Barcelona Messi is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Argentina Messi would probably barely make it to the top 100 international footballers of all time. He's never won anything and performs nowhere near the level he does at club football. He's scored 510 goals in 587 games for Barca and "just" 58 in 118 for Argentina.
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:35am
Their under-appreciation may work in their favour! I bet you the likes of Darmian and Cerci wish they were more under-appreciated. For many players, possibly the majority, transfers ruin their careers. That's because it is very difficult to create the same conditions more than once. A combination of supporters, managers, coaches, team mates, tactics, form, confidence and luck all have a huge impact on how players' perform. How many levels of ability are between a non-league player and Messi?
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:30am
on the 29th August, 2017 at 7:12am

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