In recent seasons, Lazio have been a disappointment. Having finished in the top four just twice in the past nine seasons, fans have had to settle for cup success over league accomplishments. Known as a selling club, most of their best players have been sold on for profit, rarely becoming attached to the fans. Sadly, this is the case for many teams in Italy.
This season, however, has been quite a success. On Sunday, Simone Inzaghi’s side won the Rome Derby, beating rivals Roma 3-1, effectively ending their title hopes. This team is young and full of potential, suggesting that the weekend’s derby victory will not be the only moment of joy in the next few years for I Biancazzurri.
A squad of promising talent
Having sold players like Antonio Candreva, Lorik Cana and Brazilian midfielder Hernanes in recent seasons, Lazio have tried to replace older talent with younger talent. In their places, the team have brought in players such as Wesley Hoedt, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Jordan Lukaku and Stephan de Vrij. The list goes on, with Keita Balde and Felipe Anderson also key signings. The combined cost of all these players falls short of the £25 million mark.
Now, Lazio have over £100 million worth of talent on their books, but won’t sell unless forced to. The club isn’t exactly financially stable, with the board often forced to sell the team’s best players. This time, the club might be able to avoid losing them.
The average age of this Lazio team is 25.5 years old, meaning that there are still some experienced players in the side. The older players have played just as big a role in firing the side to fourth in the Serie A table. Lucas Biglia, Stephan Radu and Marco Parolo are all over 30 years of age and are valuable assets who can be sold on.
Selling younger players instead of older ones will not only be a mistake; it could potentially send the team in the wrong direction. In an ideal world, Lazio would keep everybody and strengthen in the summer. For them to be able to improve the squad as much as they want to, however, some of the players at the peak of their value may have to be moved on.
Simone Inzaghi Deserves Time
In a difficult managerial environment, Inzaghi needs time. In Italy, managers are getting less and less of an opportunity to build a long-term goal; teams like Palermo have already had four managers this season alone. If Lazio want to be successful, they need stability before anything else. Give Inzaghi time to build and achieve something at the club.
Lazio have reached the top four only twice in the last nine seasons. In that time, six different managers have been and gone. They need to make a change in philosophy to bring some more stability and end this run of frustration. Inzaghi deserves time to build an identity the club needs and deserves.
What the Future Holds
Lazio haven’t won the Scudetto since Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge. Fans in Rome have been waiting for 17 years and counting for another shot at winning the prestigious trophy. Cup success is something Lazio will have another chance at on June 2nd, as Inzaghi’s team take on a dominant Juventus side in the Coppa Italia final and win the competition for the fifth time since 2000.
Cup success is nothing new, but this young squad could very easily go on to be perennial high-achievers in the league as well. The players, the manager and the fans all have one thing in common. They are all hungry for success in a new era.