Reports this morning revealed that Lazio are extremely close to their first signing of the summer. Danish left-back Riza Durmisi. Durmisi is currently playing at Real Betis in La Liga but a switch to Lazio seems imminent for the 24-year-old. Durmisi has been at Betis since 2016, when he signed from Danish club Brondby for around €2.5m.
In this newsletter exclusive article, I’ll take a closer look at Lazio’s potentially first signing of the summer. With a brief bit about the player’s background before going more in-depth about how he will fit in at the club.
A first, and fascinating, point to note is that although Riza Durmisi is Danish, having 22 caps for the national team, but he was born a second generation Dane to an Albanian family. This may have brought the player to Igli Tare’s attention; with Tare having brought Albanians to Lazio in the past (Berisha, Strakosha).
Having started playing for Brondby’s youth teams at the age of 6, Durmisi spent 12 years in the academy before making his debut in 2012. In this time, he played for Denmark’s U16 and U17 teams. He spent a further 3 years at Brondby as a professional before moving to Betis in 2016 for €2.5m. Whilst making 105 appearances for Brondby’s first team, Durmisi played for Denmark’s U19 and U21 teams; as well as making his debut for the national team.
In the 17/18 season, Durmisi made 24 appearances for Real Betis. He scored twice and assisted three, helping Betis attain a stunning season in La Liga. With an average pass accuracy of 84.9%, 1.6 tackles, 1.3 long balls and 34.4 total passes per game, Durmisi was a valuable part of the Betis set up.
Strengths and Weaknesses
In terms of his strengths, Durmisi is a keen passer of the ball. He often works to hold up play and play short passes to work his teammates into the game. Similar in style to Senad Lulic perhaps, Durmisi is a reliable wing-back. Whilst Durmisi’s passing is his primary skill, he is adept at tackling without diving into tackles.
Durmisi is versatile and able to play at either left-back, left-midfield or left-wing. The Dane is speedy too, and will cause defenders all sorts of problems if signed for Lazio. Not only this, but he is a skilful dribbler too; making up for his lack in defensive ability.
As far as weaknesses go; his tackling and crossing can be easily identified as problems. Although he is good at staying on his feet, his tackling is not as good as it could be. His crossing can be wayward but I’ll explain why this may not be too much of a problem if he were to sign for Lazio in a moment.
How will Riza Durmisi fit in at Lazio?
As mentioned before, Durmsi’s versatility will allow him to occupy the LWB slot in Inzaghi’s 3-5-1-1 set-up. His speed and dribbling ability will allow him to break into important positions, whilst holding up play and setting up a teammate with a short pass.
Durmisi is more of a defensive reliability than Jordan Lukaku also; and will allow Senad Lulic to be deployed as a central midfielder. My thinking on this issue is that Durmisi could eventually follow a similar transition for Lazio; filtering into central midfield when needed in the upcoming season.
Interestingly, for the Lazio management to sign a left-sided player with a skill for holding up play indicates that they are already looking to the post Milinkovic-Savic era at Lazio. This will allow for a different kind of central midfielder to be signed without the Lazio system suffering as a result. A very fascinating move and surely not just a coincidence.