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Sunday July 19 2020
Will Lazio go to the next level?

With Champions League qualification within reach, Lee Bushe wonders if Lazio will reinvest in a deeper squad or carry on penny-pinching…

Barring a catastrophe, Lazio should qualify for the Champions League come the end of the season. Booking their spot in Europe’s elite competition is an impressive achievement, but they will feel slightly disappointed that they weren’t able to push Juventus all the way in the end.

Indeed, Simone Inzaghi’s side were in second place and within a point of Juventus prior to football’s postponement in March. They have endured a dire run of form since the resumption in late June - winning just two of their last seven - and have dropped to fourth, eight points adrift of the Old Lady at the top of the table.

Lazio’s recent on-field woes can be attributed to two factors: a lack of quality in depth and the sharp decline in confidence that seemed to accompany Serie A top-scorer Ciro Immobile’s suspension for the Milan defeat. They haven’t been able to recover from that devastating blow.

The blame cannot fall solely on the shoulders of Inzaghi, who is simply making the best out of what he has. Their injury crisis isn’t the root problem either, as clubs should have adequate back-up in the case of such events. It was always evident this season that squad rotation wasn’t an option, going back to the disastrous Europa League campaign, a tournament they were only too happy to crash out of.

Lazio fans like to have a pop at their owner, Claudio Lotito, but he saved the Biancocelesti from financial ruin and subsequently transformed them into one of the most stable clubs in Italy. Having said that, the entrepreneur is notoriously frugal and the transfer policy that has originated from that - while mostly successful - has some flaws.

Fundamentally, the policy is to find value where others don’t see it. So Lazio look towards undervalued players in lesser-reputation leagues, such as Adam Marusic or Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, or towards unwanted flops, such as Immobile and Luis Alberto. This strategy has evidently paid dividends, but can be risky, especially when it comes to signing players from inferior leagues.

The risk is that, while a player might perform well in say, the Danish league, he might struggle to adapt to high-level football. Denis Vavro is a good example of this. Signed from FC Copenhagen last summer, he has made just seven league appearances so far, each one equally discouraging as the last.

The worst part about Vavro’s acquisition is that he was to fill a position Lazio desperately needed, centre-back. Instead, he rots on the bench, even with the Biancocelesti’s packed schedule. Having paid €10.5m for him, you can’t help but feel that Lotito could’ve bought a more proven (i.e. reliable) option for just a bit more money. This is even more frustrating now Lazio are having big problems at the back.

Vavro isn’t alone in this. Other recent signings like Valon Berisha (who has now been sold on) and Riza Durmizi, both of whom should have provided quality in depth, haven’t been up to par.

Another factor is Lotito’s tendency to cash in on key players. While this hasn’t happened to the likes of Immobile, Milinkovic-Savic (in spite of the relentless transfer speculation), and Luis Alberto yet, Keita Balde Diao, Antonio Candreva and Hernanes have been moved on in the past. How are Lazio meant to grow or even sustain success if they sell their stars?

Being in the Champions League will be enormously beneficial for the club. They will be provided with new avenues to further increase revenue, not just from UEFA, but also shirt sponsorships. Not only that, Lazio will be a more attractive destination for high-calibre players. Will they reinvest that in the squad or try to bolster their coffers instead?

If they fail to take advantage of this, it is difficult to foresee them being a regular fixture in Italy’s top four. Lazio shouldn’t abolish their current transfer policy, as it has yielded more success than failure, but should raise the bar in terms of the players they try to sign. They should seek to sign proven - but not necessarily at their peak or beyond - players, add better quality in depth and fight tooth and nail to keep their star men. 

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Have your say...
@pinturicchio
Why do you try to tear down great players and criticize other bloggers with your nfantile language. Its isn't the first time.
Immobile has grown as a man and player under Inzaghi and Lazio, something it seems
you have yet to do.
Maybe you never heard the expreesion "if you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all "
Constant negativity is a sure sign of immaturity and insecurity.

Cheers to all the great players who have entertained us thru this crisis
GRAZIE!!
on the 21st July, 2020 at 2:05pm
PS:

Everytime Immobile's been given a chance to play for a top club, he blows it horribly.

Even Dzeko, despite being at an advanced age, is in demand.

Also, check how stats for Gli Azzurri. How many crucial goals? How many times has he delivered on his own?

LMAO, sorry to break it to you punk, that is not how a top striker performs. An average-over-achieving striker, yes.
on the 21st July, 2020 at 9:48am
@Crüpto-Mör0n


LMFAO there's always 1 of you, hiding in the bushes, wanting to exclaim how much of a connoisseur he/she is in these matters, just because he/she sees a small correlation (which isn't causation).

Answer these questions, then, Mr. Einstein:

1) Failed miserably at Dortmund JUST after his Capocannoniere season - WHY?

2) Never stands up and delivers - tell me the last match in Europe or Serie A he blew away the opposition singlehandedly?


Go back to your FM, kid.
on the 21st July, 2020 at 9:44am
@Pinturicchio
Immobile doesnt add anything when he is not scoring? What kind of bad mushrooms you had over there? He is key player for Inzaghi system, even when on bad scoring run. Pressing, assisting, always running to spaces to create room for others. Reliable, almost never injured. He has almost goal per game ratio in nearly 140 games in team who have only 2 creative midfielders in Luis Alberto and Sergej. Imagine him in team where wingbacks/wingers could actually contribute to attack too..
on the 21st July, 2020 at 2:44am
@romalat yes it is a very depressing situation when it comes to stadia in italy. Due to the rivalry between the Roman clubs I know this is very unlikely/difficult but would both Roman clubs chances be increased if they tackled this together much like AC and inter have in Milan. Unlikely I know but if it were for the greater good!
on the 20th July, 2020 at 10:27pm
@Varsavia

Try to keep up, will you?

Immobile is a very error-prone striker - for his goal-scoring feats, he misses crucial chances in important games. Worse still, he adds NOTHING to the team if he doesn't score, he becomes a liability when he's not able to score.

And most of all, Juventus did own him previously, but he never made that leap to top quality, even when Alex was made to leave and duds like Vucinic were given chances. Proof? Check how horrible Immobile is with the NT as well.
on the 20th July, 2020 at 11:02am
@ACM

Good Luck with a Stadio. We in the other half of Rome since 2011 know struggle in this department & have dealt with the Roman bureaucracy & red tape which is 'beyond' ridiculous. Corrupt to the core.

If Lazio do plan to have a new studio and get away from council owned property you will have a serious challenge in you're hands. It will take years or even decades before a shovel is even in the dirt, we're living proof!
on the 20th July, 2020 at 10:50am
2. Surely ownership and directors have a duty to explore avenues to increase revenue streams and also push to have their own stadium. Crying about not having enough money is not good enough.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 10:54pm
1. I respect lotito and Tarres work to get Lazio to where they are. The club seems to well run, some great players brought to the club for modest fees and a very good manger in place. As owner and director seem quite competent it leads me to wonder what ideas they are working on to increase revenue streams. I also haven’t heard anything regarding their efforts for a new stadium. Lotito has regularly bemoaned the fact their income is nowhere near Juventus
on the 19th July, 2020 at 10:51pm
Lazio have done very well to be where they are, especially given their resources are far inferior to the likes of Milan, Napoli and Roma.

Lotito has sold well getting good value for Candreva, Keita, Hoedt and Anderson recently, replacing well. They have signed underrated Italian talent in Immobile, Parolo and Acerbi recently. Lazzari and Correa signings show they have increasingly spent.

UCL money is great but replacing the likes of Lulic, Radu, Parolo and Lucas who are aging will be hard.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 8:10pm
Lazio and Atalanta have been an exciting addition to Serie A. The fact that both have competed at a high level bodes well for their teams and the league. With the accelerated schedule both have suffered from a lack of depth , injury and overall fatigue. But hope springs eternal and the future is bright for both clubs and inspiring to the lesser teams that lack the funds but make up for it with playing energy and good coaching, Ie:Sassuolo. The league is becoming a hotbed of welcome competetion.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 2:38pm
last time they qualified for the champions league in 08 lotito didn't spend anything worth talking about it doesn't bode well.

There is something to be said for backing the players who got lazio in that position in the first place however a 35 year parolo can't realistically be expected to play 2 or 3 times a week. they need to sign a quality fwd, dmf, lwb, cb, cmf to be able to be effective in the cl and serie a.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 2:11pm
I used 2 wonder how ambitious Lazio would be if they were 2 maintain a scudettto push? They were a joy to watch before the lockdown but in reality they had 2 forsake the EL + clubs like Sassuolo + Atalanta have a comparable or superior squad depth! I worry now with their downturn in form + if they do finish on a low, that they'll just stay as they are? It was similar with Torino who didn't invest after making the EL Q round n they've struggled. Things can get a bit stale! Inzaghi's done well tho
on the 19th July, 2020 at 1:01pm
Actually, why Juve is not buying C. Immobile?
on the 19th July, 2020 at 12:53pm
Their penny-pinching has taken them this far - so who knows! Roma and Napoli dropped the ball so we'll see how Lazio fills their shoes in Europe. Seeing a trend in their tendency to implode at the end of every season since Inzaghi took charge (past seasons seemed they were also in for a CL spot then drop major points). We'll see what happens. Good luck to them.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 6:21am
Penny pinching is Lotito's middle name. So, no, Lazio will not deepen their roster. They will start strong then run out of steam towards the end of the campaign. Which is sad, because with a deeper squad they could really challenge for the Scudetto.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 5:41am
They've overachieved with what is a pretty average squad overall. Hopefully they can pull out a win vs Juve to keep the slim title race going.

They are a well run club, but they don't spend money and that will always hold them back in the end.

They need 2 CBs, and depth elsewhere. They should trim out all the fringe players too. No need for 47 players on their books.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 2:53am

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