Lazio were meant to be resemble something along the lines of a supermarket this summer as opposed to a club getting stronger. But as per usual with the Biancocelesti, savvy transfers and hidden gems are proving to be the backbone of their summer business.
The departure of Sergej Milinković-Savić seemed like a foregone conclusion for most of the season, with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and rivals Juventus fighting for his signature. However, the Biancolesti kept a hold of the midfielder and now the Serb can reach even bigger heights than last season, and perhaps go for more money in the future.
Other less flashy yet key players Lazio have managed to keep a hold of include last season’s top scorer Ciro Immobile, who may have been kept due to a stroke of luck due to Milan’s financial situation. Also young goalkeeping stalwart Thomas Strakosha has flown under the radar of the big clubs through Europe and will continue to be one of the best ‘keepers in Serie A.
As always, Claudio Lotito has tried to look for value in this crazy transfer market. His bargain driving skills became even more valuable after Lazio lost out on Champions League football last season and judging by their business, those skills have been in practice.
The shrewd signing of Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj on a free might prove to be a pillar of Lazio’s success over the next couple of the years. Inzaghi’s midfield has desperately lacked a go-to passer since Lucas Biglia’s departure and the Croatian provides stability and an impressive passing ability all on a free transfer.
Inzaghi’s high octane style could appear chaotic and uncontrolled at point, case in point with the final game of last season against Inter. When the games are a bit unhinged or Lazio are losing control, Badelj will be there to calm it down and recycle the ball.
The €10m price tag of Francesco Acerbi may seem steep but in this market it’s what you have to pay for proven, veteran Serie A quality. The departure of Stefan de Vrij may yet have shaken Lazio for the next couple of seasons but Acerbi will be able to come in right away and bring authority to a shaky backline.
Arguably Lazio’s most interesting summer purchase is that of Joaquin Correa from Sevilla. It was only two seasons ago during 2015-16 that the Argentina was then 20-21 year was catching attention as a fearless winger that could take anyone on.
Two seasons at Sevilla have proved to be unsuccessful for the former Sampdoria man with just five league goals and one assists during his two seasons in Sevilla.
However, Lotito is doing what he always does: betting on a player’s potential even if their previous move hasn’t worked out. The €15m fee seems steep but anyone who denies that Correa could well exceed that has a short memory indeed.
Due to Lazio’s financial situation, most of the team has to be made up of undervalued hidden gems or players on the cheap that were developed by the club. Well Riza Dirmisi appears to be just that. A €6.5m signing from Real Betis, the Dane will take over from club legend Senad Lulic at the left wingback spot when the time is ready.
Last season, the Aquile were one of the most cohesive teams, often trotting out the same XI in which the players seem on an almost telepathic wavelength. Now factor in they kept their two best players, which everybody expected them to lose, coupled with some solid signings with potential to be exceptional signings, and Lazio could well be finishing top four.
There are questions marks over Roma’s business this summer and we have no clue how good Napoli are actually going to be under Carlo Ancelotti. The Biancocelesti surprised everyone with their performances last year, but if they keep the same level and there’s a drop off or two, Champions League football could be theirs.