Player Spotlight

Lorenzo Insigne...Believe the Hype

In the hours proceeding this blog posting, Napoli will have completed their biggest off-season maneuver... (in my opinion) Lorenzo Insigne a 1-year contract extension, which will run until 2017 (with an obvious pay increase for the kid).

[can Lavezzi lift this?]

You may be wondering why would Napoli be giving a 21-year old who has only ever played 1 minute of competitive calcio in the Serie A a contract extension?

Is it because in Napoli's last two friendly games he has tore it up with a goal and an assist against Bayern Munich or his assist and conistent pressure in Napoli's other friendly win over Bayern Leverkusen 2-1?

Is it because of how good "Lorenzinho" (as dubbed by the Napoli faithful) looked in his last two seasons playing under now Roma head coach Zednek Zemans 4-3-3?

- in the 2010/11 season Insigne was loaned to Foggia (who was coached by Zeman at the time) and scored 19 goals in 33 appearances.

- the following season Insigne was once again loaned out from Napoli to a Zeman coached Pescara team. Alongside fellow Italian youth prospects Marco Verratti and Ciro Immobile; Lorenzinho scored 18 goals in 37 appearances to help Pescara to promotion from Serie B to Serie A.

Although these could be factors in the re-signing. It mostly has to do with the fact that Napoli has just sold Lavezzi, and since Napoli head coach uses the 4-3-3, Insigne is the perfect candidate to replace Lavezzi on the left to pair up with Cavani and Hamsik.

I watched quite a bit of Pescara matches this past season to catch a glimpse of what I hoped would be a future Juventus signing in Marco Verratti (sigh) and Juventus owned striker Ciro Immobile. But it was Lorenzinho who caught my eye, and had me watching more Serie B soccer than I ever have.

His constant sprint with and without the ball on offense are very entertaining to watch. Having only recently joined the Italy Under-21 program, the hype around the young talent is quickly forming and with good reason.

A lot of credit must be given to Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentis for not only producing the greatest Italian comedy but for also locking down a player who let alone was born and raised in the streets of Napoli, but was brought up in the teams very own youth soccer system. And nothing upsets ultras more than letting your own youth prospects go.....just ask Massimo Moratti.

Poised to play a prominent role in the Napoli starting lineup this season, I believe he will help Napoli achieve a top 4 finish this season.

With players like Lorenzo Insigne and Matteo Destro going to better football clubs it will only help Italy's potential stars, to become superstars.


Who Is Mattia Destro?

Unless your a long time Football Manager player like myself and this blogs founder Dan Riccio than I really couldn't expect you to answer the title question. This blog post is not a "where will Italys hottest property end up" , because by the time YOU are reading this he could be at a press conference at the Stadio Olimpico being presented to the Roma faithful or in Paris doing keep ups in front of the Eiffel tower.

Hey french ppl look how high i can bounce it!

But who exactly is the young Man that is commanding so much attention from Italy's top clubs? Mattia Destro is a 2nd generation footballer. His father; Flavio Destro played for Ascoli in the 80s. After retiring with the Woodpeckers he became a coach, which would explain why Mattia started his youth career with the Ascoli club, also his city of birth. When his dad was promoted to the Italy's youth team as a coach, his son made the move to Inter's youth system at the age of 14. This is where he struck up a partnership with Italy's NEW golden son Mario Balotelli. Destro's knack for goal in his teens was overshadowed by SWAGotelli's but in 2008 when Mario had solidified him self as a member of Inter's senior team with strong performances off the bench, it was Mattia's time to get attention.

Mattia's fathers playing card

if he becomes half the player this video game predicts he will then....

Playing for Italy's Under 19 team between 2009 & 2010 without Balotelli is when Mattia got to show off his goalscoring skills, by scoring a remarkable 16 goals in 14 appearances for the little Azzurri. Its amazing to think that at this time is when Inter sent him and a few briefcases of cash to Genoa in exchange for Andrea Ranocchia. Yes Inter gave up on another one of their youth prospects, add him to the long list that now includes Pirlo, Santon, Bonnuci, and Balotelli to name a few.

With his tall stature and strong physique Mattia is a threat to score in front of goal in any game and he showed this in his first two seasons playing in the Serie A. In his first season with Genoa he appeared 16 times, but only started 3 and got 2 goals. His 2nd season with Siena was a lot more successful only starting 15 times and being subbed in another 15 he scored an impressive 12 goals!

state chitu'

When you consider the fact that he is only 20 years old and played for two weaker sides against arguably the best defences in club soccer. Averaging almost 1 goal per every 2 games he plays is a great sign that he will be a goalscoring threat in the Serie A for years to come.

as a Juve loyalist i gotta hope not to ever see this
Who ever wins the "Destro Sweepstakes" in Italy right now, will reap the benefits. If Roma do get him, as being predicted out of Italy at this very moment, they will definitely fight for a top 3 finish and be considered Scudetto contenders. Mattia Destro has the talent to score 15 goals per season, and the potential to win goal scoring titles. Also he's Italian and having to hear the last few years "Italy has no good upcoming prospects" its hard to root against him or Marco "the traitor' Verratti whether they play for the Zebras or not. I want to see a strong Italy in the future, Brazil 2014 might be to early but Euro 2016 is a realistic possibility.

Watching him this last season he reminded me a lot of a young Pippo Inzaghi in his ability to always be ahead of the defenders, but he also showed signs of Christian Vieri with his canon of a shot. All good things for the youngster.

So Who is Mattia Destro? Italy's hope at being more than just Balotelli.

By: Alessandro Sampogna

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