Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Rocco Cammisola On June - 27 - 2011

Lazio’s Summer Shopping List

Lazio fans have been served the full range of emotions in the season just passed. An emphatic start was followed by a somewhat inevitable period of tailing off, eventually ending in a fifth placed finish. It was a campaign where incredibly fortunate late goals in favour of the Romans (against Udinese and Sampdoria) were countered by devastating winners against the run of play (Juventus). Despite missing out on fourth place - and thus the Champions League play off - the season provided many positives and building on this will be paramount to a successful 2011-12 season.

Statistics in football can be abused to misrepresent the game but they are also a valuable resource when they depict an undeniable truth. Some numbers make it all too clear where Lazio will need to strengthen in order to maintain their positive momentum.

31 The squad is swelling at the seams at the moment, containing thirty one players – exclusive of players on loan and in the Primavera (youth team) set up. Only twenty four of these played in any games last season. Coach Edy Reja has explicitly specified that he wants a squad of around twenty-two players next season, so there is room for manoeuvre when showing players the door this summer.

Taking into consideration the bloated squad size, the age of the players is also of concern. The average age of the squad is 28.9, higher than the league average of 27 and 106 days – the highest in Europe, incidentally.

The majority of the older players are surplus to requirements and should be offloaded as quickly as possible. These include the likes of Christian Manfredini, Lionel Scaloni, Fabio Firmani, Riccardo Bonetto and Guglielmo Stendardo, all of whom have played little or no part in the campaign.

37 The number of games that Hernanes has played for Lazio this season. The fans were warned when he moved that his exploits in the Brazilian league could leave him running on empty by the time Christmas rolled around. The 26 year old played his way through a mid season lull without any significant level of creative support from his team mates, but he won’t be able to carry the team indefinitely.

Creative backup has had to come from the ageing Stefano Mauri, the deep lying Cristian Ledesma or occasionally Pasquale Foggia off the bench. A repeat of last season from Mauri – 6 goals and 9 assists – appears to be an extremely unlikely eventuality and Foggia is out of form, out of confidence and in need of a change. Depth in this area is desperately needed, perhaps promoting a player from the Primavera – Tommaso Ceccarelli has shown glimpses of class recently.

55 Goals scored this season, a figure that places them 8th highest in Serie A, shared amongst eleven players. Worryingly, the main strike partnership of Sergio Floccari and Mauro Zarate have missed a hat full of chances – contributing just 17 goals between them to the total. Floccari in particular has been a cause for concern as the target man in Lazio’s formation.

The addition of Miroslav Klose – acquired for free, but with wages suspected to be upwards of €3 million – will hopefully provide some more clinical finishing. There are four target men at the club at the moment, at least one appears likely to leave if common sense prevails – that man should be Floccari.

Shopping list

  • Goalkeeper – a replacement for the upset and outward bound Fernando Muslera
  • Centre back – a younger, more mobile option to partner the experienced Andre Dias
  • Box to box midfielder (mediano) – energetic running to supplement the renewed youth Stefano Mauri appears to have discovered recently
  • Attacking midfielder – a winger or playmaker to provide depth for the band of three attacking players behind the target man

A trip to the scrapyard should include

  • Christian Manfredini (MF)
  • Lionel Scaloni (DF)
  • Fabio Firmani (MF)
  • Riccardo Bonetto (DF)
  • Guglielmo Stendardo (DF)
  • Mourad Meghni (MF)
  • Ivan Artipoli (DF)
  • Albano Bizzarri (GK)

Looking back at the last campaign where a European adventure was undertaken, there will be some trepidation as to whether or not the squad can cope with two major competitions. Especially if they continue to sell their best players – like Lichtsteiner. But with a few additions and a dash of squad stability, they should be confident of challenging for the European places again next season.

Rocco Cammisola

Rocco is a football writer who follows football in England and Italy for a number of sites, including his own - The Football Express ( Most of his writing focuses on the lesser talked about teams, attempting to bring them to the world's attention.

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