BLOG ITALIA
Wednesday September 30 2020
Lazio still lacking valid options

The Scudetto run crumbled due to a lack of strength in depth, so Lee Bushe explains why Lazio fans fear a similar outcome in Serie A and the Champions League this season.

Not for the first time, Lazio supporters voiced their discontent with Claudio Lotito’s running of the club. Displaying a banner over a bridge in Rome, they did not hold back, accusing the club of making “false promises” towards them and complaining about the “usual havoc” in the transfer window.

Indeed, it’s been a frustrating summer for the Biancocelesti. And it started off so promisingly too. Coming off the back of one of their most successful seasons in recent memory - in which they qualified for the Champions League for the first time in over a decade - the club pursued David Silva. It was a statement of intent. A big-name signing to befit Lazio’s newfound status as one of Italy’s top clubs.

It wasn’t to be. David Silva snubbed Lazio’s offer in favour of a return to Spain, in what would turn out to be the beginning of an underwhelming - and at times, infuriating - transfer window. The Biancocelesti have made just three signings so far: goalkeeper Pepe Reina, central-midfielder Gonzalo Escalante and striker Vedat Muriqi.

Reina and Escalante arrived on a free and are hardly game-changing signings, with the pair instead providing quality in depth as Lazio attempt to juggle their domestic and European obligations. Muriqi, on the other hand, is an excellent purchase, having just had a couple of prolific seasons in the Turkish Super Lig, and will hopefully be the reliable vice-Immobile that Lazio have been crying out for.

Mohamed Fares should’ve joined the club by now too, and the delays in getting his deal over the line has been the most frustrating part of the transfer window so far. The Algerian took his medical two weeks ago, and has been training with the Lazio squad ever since, but is still technically a SPAL player as the Biancocelesti have yet to confirm the deal.

This is due to the club’s problems with the FIGC’s liquidity index. In short, Lazio need to sell a player before they can buy one. This issue is also preventing Lazio from re-signing Wesley Hoedt, who had medicals scheduled with the club last weekend before they were cancelled. These transfers should go through eventually, with Wallace reportedly close to a move away.

Fares should prove to be a shrewd signing. He’s used to playing in a formation similar to Simone Inzaghi’s and has flourished playing as a left-wing-back within that system, a position that Lazio were in dire need of. There are question marks over Hoedt’s return, though. The centre-back previously had a two-year spell with the Biancocelesti between 2015 and 2017 before making a €17m move to Premier League side Southampton.

Having not really set the world alight during his time in Rome, he was quickly forgotten about. That was up until last week, when rumours started to surface about his return to the club. It’s a disappointing signing to say the least, especially when you take into consideration that Lazio really needed a centre-back, one that ideally has enough quality to play in the Champions League.

There are signs that Lazio will end the transfer window in a positive fashion, however, with Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira reportedly close to completing a loan move (with the option to buy). Though Lazio fans, having experienced an incredibly frustrating transfer window, will probably only believe it when the club makes an official announcement.

Even with these arrivals, it would be a stretch to say they are befitting of a top-four team. Indeed, Milan and Napoli - who didn’t qualify for the Champions League - have had much better transfer windows and seem a more likely bet to finish in the top-four this season.

Lazio’s main strength, and one that provides optimism that they can retain their top-four place, is that they’ve managed to keep all their key players from last season. It won’t be easy, though, especially now they have to juggle both Serie A and the Champions League, a task made harder by the Biancocelesti’s failure to significantly strengthen their squad.

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Have your say...
As long as there's a president like Lotito, Lazio can never ever expect to do something significant! As everyone rightfully so said, they simply OVERACHIEVED last season, it means that with lack of a wish to spend some money & SD like Tare, who's only on a level of a club that fights for midtable position, how can you expect to convince powerful players to come and join Lazio?
In a case they're lucky & get an easier CL group, maybe we'll see them not embarrassing themselves. But, I doubt it!
on the 1st October, 2020 at 3:00pm
Very underwhelming. The way they reacted after missing out on Silva made me feel that they might use that as an excuse for their poor transfer market! So far, only positives are Muriqi & that they've kept their best players. I feel like Lazio might get left behind by some other clubs now. It's hard to keep any enthusiasm going when the club itself seems to lack ambition. They already finished poor last season. They may have brought in 6 players but the level of them doesn't seem high enough!
on the 30th September, 2020 at 10:23pm
We didn't "hear it here first", anony.
As soon as Lazio was in contention for a CL place last season, EVERYONE predicted:

1. Lazio will not upgrade their team with Superstars...

2. They will be out of CL at group stage & concentrate on getting 4th in Serie A.


AAANND, the one you forgot, :

3. They will not get a top 4 spot this season.


I predict that even Roma will finish above them. I don't say it with malice; I sincerely believe the two Roman clubs will be much closer in table this time.
on the 30th September, 2020 at 9:34pm
inzaghi lazio team has completely overachieved considering the quality of the players and the age of some of them. It is a motley crew of rejects and disappointments which has delivered lazio some form of success. being so it is paper thin obvious weaknesses are evident. they have to complete the deal for fares that is the most obvious piece of business lazio need to do, not sure about hoedt. They are going to struggle just to make the top 4.
on the 30th September, 2020 at 9:26pm
i think Lotito knows his squad is more than likely not going to get past the group stage (with or without new signings) so he is happy to maintain the squad much the same as what it is and collect the extra revenue the champtions league group stage provides. the will exit the group stage, collect the revenue and concentrate on a top four finish for this season. you heard it here first
on the 30th September, 2020 at 2:06pm
I'm not sure what's so positive about Pereira arriving. Positive because he's arriving from an over-hyped league?

Lazio needed top CB and LWB and as of yet, have neither.

They overachieved last season with a largely average squad.

Expect a push for the top 4 and CL group stage/L16 or Europa knockouts at best this season.
on the 30th September, 2020 at 9:54am

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