In the summer of 2015, many Laziali were excited to hear that Lazio had officially signed Patricio Gabarrón Gil, simply known as Patric, from Barcelona. After four years spent at the youth academy of the Blaugrana and three years spent at La Masia (Barcelona B), Patric was ready to move on as it seemed the first team were not requiring his talent and skill.
The second signing from the Spanish top side in three years – the first was Keita Balde Diao who turned out to be a dominant attacking force for not only Lazio, but the Senegalese National Team, Monaco, and now Inter – Claudio Lotito, Igli Tare, and fans were once again banking on his success to help their club. A more experienced man and footballer, Patric came to the club at the age of 22; a player clearly intended for the first team. The Spaniard never stepped foot in the Lazio Primavera sides – he trained with the first team in the summer of his arrival and was included in the squad list right away in the 2015/16 season.
Since that date, Laziali have seen the player a total of 52 times. This may not seem like the smallest number, but in three years (on to four now) with 45+ matches in all competitions each year, you can see that Patric has played just over a full season for the club if he was a regular starter. It is also important to mention that he has only started 23 matches in the Serie A TIM in his tenure in Rome, making it evident that he is to be used as a second squad player (used to give the first team a rest). However, now 25 years of age, Simone Inzaghi is in charge and Patric may finally have the chance to prove himself in the Serie A TIM. After being excluding the player from the Europa League list from Inzaghi, the manager promised to give the Spaniard more playing time in the league and this is beginning to take shape. One question stands: will this be for the better or for the worst?
Most Laziali have been unimpressed with the player. When he has been given a chance to wear the biancocelesti colours over the past few years, he has failed to make a detrimental impact to change the game and support his teammates. This has resulted in a different option always being chosen ahead of him. Last year, the acquisition of Montenegrin Adam Marusic and veteran Laziale Dusan Basta kept him sidelined, but this year it is beginning to switch in favour of Patric. Many players of the Lazio starting eleven have failed to return to the form they were in last season and there have been outcries over it. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto are the main two targets, but additionally Marusic, who has been (until this date) Inzaghi’s underperforming go-to-man on the right flank of his 3-5-1-1 formation. When finally switching the player, Inzaghi chose Basta, and what a disappointing performance that was. He received two yellow cards within the first half to lead Lazio to a 4-1 loss in the Matchday 2 clash of the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt, showing how much age has impacted his game negatively.
In Matchday 9 of the Serie A TIM, Patric was given the nod to replace Marusic on the right flank from the 1′. An average performance from the player, I can personally say it was much better than the Montenegrin’s. Although Patric needs to work on his body language – as every time he receives a poor ball, does not receive a pass, or has a poor shot he waves his arms or kicks something – the player was more intelligent and more of a threat down the flank. Staying on the touch-line to occupy his opposing defender, playing back when no play was able to be made, and whipping in early crosses – when he received the ball he was always looking to play Luis Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic, or Ciro Immobile and moved up the pitch well. He played 90′ in the 2-0 victory.
A chance at redemption, Patric proved that he is an equivalent to Marusic. A few more starts to give the player some confidence once again, I believe that he could challenge Inzaghi’s opinion on who should be starting for this Lazio side.