Lazio revitalised their squad this summer in an attempt to give Maurizio Sarri the tools he needs to close the gap to the top four, but the project still needs more time to reach its potential, Apollo Heyes suggests.
Maurizio Sarri had a strong debut season in the Italian capital, working hard to transition the team away from Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 counter attacking system to his own 4-3-3 fluid style. Things started a little slow, but eventually Lazio started to show the tell-tale signs of a true Sarri squad, giving the fans something to look forward to ahead of his second season in charge.
It’s been an interesting summer for Lazio, who’ve seen a long list of players depart to make way for the new additions. Vedat Muriqi and Denis Vavro were both sold and regulars like Lucas Leiva, Thomas Strakosha, Luiz Felipe and Pepe Reina left on free transfers.
Lazio took this opportunity to overhaul their squad, adding a number of new faces like Luis Maximiano, Marcos Antonio, Nicolo Casale, Mario Gila, Alessio Romagnoli, Matias Vecino and Matteo Cancellieri. The club are also hoping to pick up another goalkeeper as well as a left back.
It’ll likely take a little while for the new-look squad to gel properly in Sarri’s system, so it’s hard to imagine the team securing a top four finish this season, although some level of European qualification seems all but guaranteed.
Key man: Ciro Immobile
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The 32-year-old Italian striker did not seem to suffer at all during the transition from Inzaghi to Sarri, remaining a lethal and consistent threat in front of goal. Immobile won his fourth Capocannoniere title last campaign and he’ll be hoping to secure a record-breaking fifth this season.
Immobile is a leader on and off the pitch for the Biancocelesti, being a truly talismanic figure for the Roman club, and he’ll no doubt play a key role for them for years to come.
Coach: Maurizio Sarri
Sarri’s work at Napoli is proof of the magic he can work on the football pitch. His electric, fluid 4-3-3 system sees his teams move up the pitch quickly and ferociously, allowing them to overwhelm their opposition with a deadly attack.
The Italian coach’s style requires a clear understanding, and this takes time to develop, so it’s likely that some of the new arrivals will take a little while to make a strong impression in Rome. When all the elements of his Sarrismo system do click, his teams look able to beat any opponent.
Watch out for: Midfield magic
It seems as if Lazio will retain star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is quietly one of the best in his department in Europe. With the arrival of the talented Marcos Antonio, and possibly Ivan Ilic should Luis Alberto depart, there’s no doubt that Lazio’s midfield will be vital to their success this campaign. Expect quick passes, moments of flair and organised movements.