8 of Serie A’s best prospects

Posted on 06/08/2010


Seeing a young Roberto Baggio, Ronaldinho, or Fabregas is always exciting, but noticing young players which in 5 years can become one of the world’s best is rare. With Serie A’s relative down fall compared to other European leagues, it’s time to find some new stars, start ing from these eight prospects:

1. Davide Lanzafame (Juventus)

With Juve’s bad per for mance last season, the club has decided to rely on more Italian youth, and Davide Lanzafame has earned him self a spot in the starting 11 coming from Parma. He’s also played for Bari and Palermo at just 23 years-old, and his friends nick named him “Lanciafiamme”, which means flamethrower in Italian. Lanzafame is a winger, often play ing on the left side of the mid field in a 4–4-2, but he can also play on the right side with lit tle trou ble. While Juven tus are look ing to buy Kra sic for the left wing, maybe they could stick with Lanzafame for this season.

2. Phillippe Coutinho (Inter Milan)

While he looks a lot like AC Milan’s Brazil ian won der boy, Alexan dre Pato, Coutinho is a dif fer ent type of player, very sim i lar to Ronald inho. The young Brazil ian has already scored for Inter in a friendly against Panathi naikos, a stu pen dous vol ley with his left foot. He can play in a vari ety of offen sive posi tions: while his best would be behind the strik ers as a num ber 10, he can also play as a sec ond striker or start from the left wing and cut inside, like Ronald inho used to do in his Barcelona days. Coutinho loves the accel er a tion of pace and isn’t afraid to shoot, and with already a very advanced tac ti cal sense at 18 years-old, Coutinho will replace Snei jder in the future to then one day play for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.

3. Abel Hernandez (Palermo)

Her nan dez has big boots to fill, now that Edin son Cavani has left Palermo for Napoli, the new Uruguayan has to help Mic coli in attack at just 19 years-old. Her nan dez has already had 27 appear ances in Serie A for Palermo, and the young ster has also scored 7 goals for the Sicil ian team. A fast center-forward who knows how to fin ish in front of goal, and next to an expe ri enced and cre ative player like Fab rizio Mic coli, Her nan dez will be an impor tant player for Palermo this upcom ing sea son, and maybe for years to come.

4. Andrea Poli (Sampdoria)

Poli has a very bright future ahead of him, at just 20 years-old the young Ital ian is what could be described as a “Span ish” mid fielder. A player with a smart tac ti cal mind, which was inspired by Fab re gas and Ger rard, both great role mod els for a mid fielder. While he could best be described as a mix between Xavi and Ini esta, he’ll be play ing behind Cas sano and Pazz ini, ready to pro vide assists and maybe score a goal or two. While he still has a long way to go, Poli has already played in Serie B for Sas suolo where he scored 5 goals in 32 appear ances, and if that isn’t enough expe ri ence, he lost a U-19 Euro pean Cup final play ing for Italy, not bad for a 20 year-old.

5. Franco Zuculini (Genoa)

Zuculini was a rel a tively unknown name among Genoa’s super-transfers which now include Schalke 04’s Rafinha (paid about 9 mil lion Euros), but after a few friend lies for the rossoblu, the Argen tinean showed his worth. Zuculini was bought from Ger man club Hof fen heim, where he had 7 appear ances and one goal, which isn’t bad for a 19 year-old. While Zuculini would be clas si fied as a defen sive mid fielder, like a new Thi ago Motta, the Argen tinean with Ital ian ori gins loves to ser pen tine up the field with great drib bling abil ity. While he might be slightly obscured in a mid field com prised of the new sign ings Miguel Veloso, and Rafinha, Zuculini shouldn’t be underestimated.

6. Adem Ljajic (Fiorentina)

Fiorentina have always cul ti vated young tal ented play ers, and now that one of their biggest stars, Jovetic, will be out for at least 6 months after dam ag ing his knee lig a ments in prac tice, it’s time for young Lja jic to step up to the plate. There’s an empty spot which the 18 year-old could fill per fectly, he plays as a “tre quartista”, or num ber 10, and he would be a per fect player to put behind Gilardino in Fiorentina’s 4–2-3–1, next to Var gas and Mar chionni on the wings. Lja jic is already being com pared to Bag gio, they say he has the same feet and the same eyes, and the way he curls the ball into the back of the net from free kicks is cer tainly a won der ful sight. At just 18 years-old Lja jic could be inserted into Fiorentina’s start ing 11, play ing an impor tant part in replac ing Jovetic, another player who once, was a prospect like Ljajic.

7. Libor Kozak (Lazio)

Kozak is Lazio’s gem right now, hav ing scored seven times this pre-season in friend lies, the 21 year-old is an impor tant player for Lazio’s future. The striker from the Czech Repub lic is a true center-forward, strong and tall, often using his head to score goals. Libor Kozak has already played for Bres cia in Serie B where he scored four goals in 26 appear ances, and while he might not play that much this sea son, he’ll grow to be an impor tant player for Lazio’s future.

8. Alexan der Merkel (AC Milan)

A young mid fielder among an aging team, Merkel is a shin ing light for AC Milan who need to inject some youth and pace into the team. The 18 year-old with Beloruss ian par ents was born in Kaza khstan, but then immi grated to Ger many at six years-old, let ting the player choose among three national teams to play for in the future. A player who runs and works in a mid field which is slowed down thanks to old play ers like Gat tuso, Pirlo, and Ambrosini. Merkel is the begin ning of a young gen er a tion that AC Milan hopes to bring through the ranks, and one day call the win ning generation.

What are your thoughts on these eight play ers? Who are you most excited to see this upcom ing sea son? Share your thoughts by com ment ing below!

Posted in: Article, Serie A