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Loanee reports: Lega Pro and Serie D

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Andy Bangu is the real deal, yall. And some of these other kids are pretty dang good too.

It’s cool, bro. We want to hug Andy too.
andybangu21 on Instagram

Lega Pro

Artem Makarov (Taranto): The 19-year-old Russian goalkeeper has been felled by knee injuries. He’s only made a single appearance for the Ionici, back in a Coppa Italia fixture in late August. We don’t know when he’ll be back, which is a shame. This is his first season away from the Primavera and he’s a very good prospect; he split time in the youth ranks with Giacomo Satalino, who’s now reportedly an Arsenal target. However, with his injuries and the presence of 3 other goalkeepers in the squad, it could be a long and fruitless year in Apulia for young Artem.

Nicolo Gigli (Matera): The 19-year-old centerback remains nailed to the bench and has yet to make an appearance. As the low man on the totem pole, it’ll probably take some injuries to the players ahead of him for manager Gaetano Auteri to look his way. It’s disappointing, especially considering that Gigli suffered the same fate at Lecce last year. Like any young defender, he needs to play if he’s to develop; don’t be surprised to see him move in January.

Saverio Madrigali (Cosenza): The 21-year-old centerback is starting to play his way into manager Giorgio Roselli’s first XI, having started 2 of the past 3 matches and come on as an injury sub at leftback in the other. He’s looked average-to-above-average in all 3, bringing his totals on the year to 5 appearances (3 starts) for the Lupi. After his excellent season at Arezzo last year, another good one should see him get a chance in Serie B in 2017.

Amidu Salifu (Mantova): The 24-year-old Ghanaian defensive midfielder is finally starting to kick on a bit, having started the past 3 matches for the Virgiliani. It hasn’t been all roses, though, as they’ve conceded 6 goals and scored just 2 in losing all of those matches, sliding to 18th place in the table. Amidu himself still looks a bit tentative, as you’d expect from a player recovering from numerous knee injuries—he picked up a knock a few weeks ago as well—but occasionally shows glimpses of the midfield destroyer who looked like Serie A material so many years ago. This is probably his last chance to make an impression, so here’s hoping it works out.

Luzayadio Andy Bangu (Reggina): The 19-year-old Congolese midfielder (whose birthday was a couple of weeks ago, so auguri, young man) continues to impress, notching the winner and his 2nd goal of the year the day before his birthday against Juve Stabia.

Blessed with a powerful physique, pace, wonderful technique, and an uncanny ability to pop up in the box, he’s without a doubt one of the most exciting Fiorentina prospects in awhile. Manager Karel Zeman (yes, Zeman’s son) has clearly recognized this, handing Andyan appearance in all 11 games in the league and the Coppa (9 starts). Bangu already looks more than comfortable in the Lega Pro, and may get to tackle Serie B next season.

Marco Berardi (Tuttocuoio): The 20-year-old midfielder has started all but one match for the Neroverdi. He’s clearly endeared himself already to manager Luca Fiasconi, which isn’t surprising; as we saw last year at Pordenone, Marco’s got an impressive eye for goal, especially for a deep midfielder. With few other proven options in the middle, it’s his job to lose. It’s more likely, though, that he’ll take it and run with it.

Simone Minelli (AlbinoLeffe): The 19-year-old winger has firmly established himself as one of the more important players in attack for Massimiliano Alvini. He’s appeared in 9 of 10 matches for the Celeste, including 2 starts. He’s yet to get on the scoresheet, but has picked up 3 yellow cards. Mostly an impact sub, he’s mostly played at striker in Alvini’s 3-5-2. The formation is probably a big part of what’s holding him back, as young Simone is a wide attacker with heaps of promise—he’s been in Italy’s youth setup for awhile—but can’t quite seem to make it click in this, his first assignment outside of Florence. It’s only a matter of time, though, as he’s had some sparkling moments.

Jaime Baez (Spezia): The 21-year-old Uruguayan attacker may be falling out of favor a bit with manager Domenico di Carlo, who’s revoked his place in the starting lineup for the past 2 weeks, probably out of frustration that the promising young attacker’s end product just never seems quite right. He’s still a tantalizing talent, with technique, pace, and the never-say-die attitude that immediately endears him to fans. He’s certainly got the quality to regain his spot, and should do so fairly soon.

Serie D

Filippo Boccardi (Imolese): The 19-year-old centerback has quickly gelled with the Rossoblu, establishing himself as a regular starter in the backline. He’s put in shifts at his natural centerback spot, as well as at both fullback positions. With the club flying high in 3rd place, he could find himself a crucial piece in the chase for promotion. All in all, not bad for a kid out on his first-ever loan assignment.

Enea Sanna (Imolese): The 19-year-old rightback has installed himself as the top option for manager Francesco Baldini. He’s started all but 2 games, and came in off the bench in both of those. He’s also shown the adaptability to play on the left. He’s certainly settling into his inaugural campaign away from the comfort of Fiorentina.