Predicting Lazio’s Starting 11 for the 2018/19 season

Lazio fans re-creating their club logo
Lazio fans re-creating their club logo

 

At the end of a quite successful season for Lazio, it is already time to think about next year’s edition of the team. The craziness of the transfer window is already upon us, and as is the case every offseason, Lazio is right in the middle of many rumors involving their players. Finding out exactly who will leave and who will join the club is always an interesting, yet difficult task to predict. Today we will try our best at figuring out what this biancocelesti team might look like come the end of August.

Let’s start at the goalkeeper, where Thomas Strakosha won over the starting position last season from Federico Marchetti and never looked back. He played in every game and enjoyed great spells of play, while also having some tougher outings. He made crucial saves all season long, especially in the away game to Juventus, where he stole the win from a last second save on a Dybala penalty kick. Lazio gave up way too many goals this season, and should definitely bring in a quality, experienced backup keeper on the transfer market to be able to rest Strakosha in some games, helping him cope with the fatigue from playing in 3 competitions. Strakosha should still be Lazio’s starting goalkeeper for next season, but rumour has it, Liverpool is looking into a possible 30 million dollar offer for the goalkeeper. In case they do sell Strakosha, Lazio already made inquiries about bringing in Iker Casillas from Porto. Other potential backup options for Strakosha are Sportiello from Atalanta and Bizzari from Udinese. As for Marchetti, he is being linked to a move with Genoa.

In the back-end there is a lot of work to be done. As I already mentioned, Lazio gave up way too many goals this season compared to the other top 5 clubs in Seria A, and this is an aspect they need to work on in the transfer market if they want to be able to compete again with the big boys of the Italian championship. First and foremost, the hole left by the departure of Stefan De Vrij is a massive one to fill and needs to be the number one priority for Igli Tare. Names such as Badstuber, Glik, Nastasic and Acerbi are being linked to the biancoceleste. Reports claim a deal with Badstuber on a free transfer is close to being completed and Acerbi has accepted joining Lazio, but a price tag is still being negotiated with Sassuolo. In my opinion, Lazio needs to sign two of these defenders that bring the leadership and experience lost with De Vrij. Luiz Felipe and Stefan Radu will also feature in next year’s Lazio. Luiz Felipe was a great surprise this year, making 29 appearances as a 21-year-old, especially towards the end of the season. He gained some valuable experience this year, which can only help him going forward. As for Radu, he’s been a warrior for Lazio and will continue to give everything he has for this team. If they can manage his minutes a little more next year by adding to this defense, I think he can keep playing at a high level for the team. Lazio will have decisions to make when it comes to Caceres, Bastos and Wallace. Depending on who comes in via the transfer market, some of these defenders might no longer be part of the team’s plans moving forward. Caceres rarely played for Lazio this season, with injuries slowing him down, but I would like to see them give him another chance to prove himself, especially with the international experience he brings. His world cup showing might allow them to have a better idea on his status. As for Bastos and Wallace, they both had very disappointing seasons and one, if not both might not be apart of next year’s edition of the team.

In midfield the main question on every Lazio fans mind is will Milinkovic-Savic stick around for one more year. The future 100 million dollar man is the subject of many rumors all over Europe, with the biggest teams on the continent dreaming about adding the big man to their midfield. There’s no question how important Sergej is to this Lazio team, and losing him would create another hole impossible to fill. I truly feel Sergej might stick around for one more year with Lazio before being sold for a huge amount of money next offseason. The world cup could complicate holding on to Sergej if he continues his incredible form in Russia. We’ve seen in the past that a great showing in this tournament translates into huge offers, which might be hard for Lazio to pass up on. As for the rest of the midfield, Lucas Leiva is set to build on a great first season with Lazio in the defensive midfielder role. Marco Parolo will certainly retain his starting spot also hopefully alongside Milinkovic-Savic. As for Senad Lulic, there was news that he might play a more central position next season leaving the flanks to Adam Marusic and Jordan Lukaku. Lulic would also benefit from playing less minutes this upcoming season, as his play slowly deteriorated at the end of the season and being 32 years of age. Dusan Basta might be on his way out at the age of 33 and the team needs to decide if Patric is still part of their plans moving forward. Alessandro Murgia will have a role with next year’s team, as he continues to improve and has the trust of Inzaghi, replacing Parolo in the last few games of the season. Milan Badelj is being heavily linked to the biancoceleste on a free transfer, as are Ganso, Sandro and Soriano. Any added midfield depth would be important to the club, which will still be playing in three competitions next season.

Finally, in attack we will begin with Felipe Anderson. He is currently being linked to a move to Chelsea with a rumored 40 million dollar price tag. If this price tag is reached, I think Lazio must consider selling him, with Luis Alberto clearly holding the starter spot after his excellent breakout season, leading all of Serie A with 14 assists. Lazio would definitely need to replace Anderson if they do sell him, with last years target Iranian international Sardar Azmoun seen as a potential replacement. Finally at striker, everything will continue to go through Ciro Immobile, after scoring 29 goals and sharing “capocannoniere” honors with Inter’s Mauro Icardi. There are rumors AC Milan are pushing hard at persuading him to leave Lazio, but I just don’t see how they can make such a purchase with news of them facing Financial Fair Play sanctions after their settlement attempt failed. In my opinion, Ciro will be ready for another record-breaking season in a baby blue shirt come the start of the 2018/2019 campaign and Igli Tare confirmed the striker isn’t going anywhere. One aspect Lazio needs to work on during this transfer market is finding a suitable backup for Ciro, in order for him to stay fresh and not be as heavily depended upon like this past season. When Immobile wasn’t in the lineup this year, the team had trouble generating offense and goals, with Felipe Caicedo being underwhelming to say the least. He seems on his way out and not part of any future Lazio plans. Names such as Lucas Perez, Paolo Henrique and Andrea Petagna have been linked to Lazio.

Here is Lazio’s potential starting 11 next season:

Lazio potential starting 11 for 2018/19 season
Lazio potential starting 11 for 2018/19 season

 

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