Andrea Petagna: Lazio’s next Vice-Immobile?
Last summer, after a disappointing season for both Felipe Caicedo and Nani, the search for a rotation option for Lazio in attack began. Furthermore, the then-recent departure of Filip Djordjevic freed up space in the biancocelesti roster. One of the names linked was Atalanta forward Andrea Petagna, 22, with his agent saying the forward was open to a move.
Now, in the summer of 2019, the search continues. Petagna spent the season on loan with SPAL; who exercised their option to sign the player permanently and, therefore, it will now be the Ferrara-based club that Lazio must deal with if they wish to sign the Italian forward. Caicedo has again been linked with an exit and, if this is the case, Lazio will surely move for a new vice-Immobile.
Andrea Petagna is known primarily for his upper body strength. His commanding frame makes him a strong physical presence and makes up for his lack of pace. Incredibly strong, this makes him a valuable asset for creating chances; with an average of 0.8 key passes per game. Additionally, with 1.3 long balls per game on average, Petagna is a great contributor to the transitional stage of play.
Finishing was previously considered to be one of Petagna’s primary weaknesses. In the 17/18 season, when it came to sticking the ball into the back of the net, he scored just six goals in 39 appearances (11 as a substitute). However, things took a different turn this season, Petagna scoring 16 in 35 starts for SPAL and deservedly placing among some of the top scorers of the league.
Having played for Italy’s U16, U17, U18, U19, U20, U21 and main national teams, there is great faith in the young striker’s potential. Last season, Petagna only missed 3 games through injury, coming after a hernia put him out for the final games of the season.
How would Petagna fit in at Lazio?
If Andrea Petagna joined Lazio, it would signify one of two things. Either Felipe Caicedo’s imminent departure or a potential switch in formation for the Biancocelesti. Simone Inzaghi has toyed with the idea of switching to a more conventional four-at-the-back formation in the past and this could give Lazio the chance to utilise Petagna in a 4-back, 2-striker formation – perhaps akin to that of Marco Giampaolo’s formation at Sampdoria last season.
With Petagna’s hold-up play and passing ability, he could work well paired with, or behind, Ciro Immobile up front. The player could be available for around €20m to €25m, which could prove to be an issue in Lazio’s pursuit of the Italian forward; the Biancocelesti having been reluctant to wrap up a deal for Club Brugge striker Wesley Moraes for a similar figure.
Personally, I’d rate Andrea Petagna as a 8/10 transfer for Lazio. The cost would not be too high and the player appears to be interested. At just 23-years-old, he has a lot of potential and could be a short-term cover and long-term replacement for prolific forward Ciro Immobile.
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