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Loanee reports: Lega Pro and Serie D

Think we forgot about the Viola youngsters in Italy’s lower leagues? Nah, brah.

Italy U19 v Czech Republic U19 - International Friendly
Coming soon to an Azzurini match near you.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Lega Pro

Artem Makarov (Taranto): The 20-year-old Russian goalkeeper (whose birthday was just 2 weeks ago) remains sidelined with a serious knee injury. He may recover before the season ends, but right now, we’re just hoping he can get himself healthy again. After all, it’s one heck of a player who can force the Primavera coaches to play him even with Giacomo Satalino available.

Nicolo Gigli (Matera): The 20-year-old centerback has finally made his debut for the southerners, playing all 180 minutes in a 2-1 win over Lecce and in a 0-1 win at Foggia. Both were in the Coppa Italia, though, and he has yet to make his first appearance in the league. If we’re being perfectly frank, he looked quite unconvincing in both of those matches. Whether it was just rust from nearly 2 months on the bench or a reflection of the player is up to manager Gaetano Auteri, but young Nicolo has a long way to go to if he wants to gain a starting berth this season.

Saverio Madrigali (Cosenza): The 21-year-old centerback has been dropped to the bench for the past month in favor of Edoardo Blondett. The move has corresponded with a drop in form for the Lupi, though, and manager Giorgio Roselli may well bring the young defender back into the set up soon. If he can’t make his way back into the first team, it may be time to seriously reassess his place in the youth setup, especially with his contract expiring at the end of the season. In an interview he gave with last month, though, he expressed optimism that he’d return to Florence, emphasizing that his dream is to play with the senior side.

Amidu Salifu (Mantova): The 24-year-old Ghanaian midfielder had a brief injury scare in mid-November, but has bounced back to reclaim his recently-won starting berth. While he hasn’t exactly set the world alight with the Virgiliani, he’s at least been reasonably healthy for the first time in 3 years. His contract also comes up at the end of the year, so he’ll have to impress to stick with Fiorentina. Given that he’s originally a Corvino player, any signs of life may be enough to convince the club to stick with him a bit longer.

Luzayadio Andy Bangu (Reggina): The 19-year-old Congolese midfielder remains one of the key men for the Amaranti, even if the results aren’t quite coming the way they were earlier in the season. He’s been stuck at 3 goals for the past month, although that’s hardly a skimpy return for a midfielder. He’s also spent some time playing on the wing, although his natural position is surely a more central one. Regardless, he may be the crown jewel in the Viola youth ranks, although it’ll probably another couple of seasons before he starts making noise with the big boys.

Marco Berardi (Tuttocuoio): The 20-year-old midfielder continues chugging along for the Conciari. While not the most dynamic player, he’s a smart, hard-working midfield cog who tends to endear himself to coaches by rarely making mistakes. He’s another one with a contract expiring this summer, so his performance for the rest of the year will probably determine whether or not he’ll be brought back.

Simone Minelli (AlbinoLeffe): The 19-year-old winger is finally gaining some traction with the Celeste, starting the past 2 matches. He’s yet to get on the scoresheet, but it should be a matter of time for the pocket-sized attacker, who’s also shown the ability to play just off the shoulder of the striker in a more central role. He’s capable of scoring, too, as he came off the bench to net the winner against Switzerland in his debut for the Italy U20s this past month.

Serie D

Filippo Boccardi (Imolese): The 19-year-old centerback remains first-choice for manager Francesco Baldini. He’s now started matches at every spot in the back four, although his future is certainly in the heart of the defense. He’s started all 13 matches and has helped them to the third-best defense in the league, propelling his side to 5th place in the table—and in the final promotion playoff spot—and just 4 points off the leaders.

Enea Sanna (Imolese): The 19-year-old rightback has fallen somewhat out of favor with Baldini, as he’s played just 52 minutes in the last 6 matches after opening the season as the unquestioned starter. His propensity for finding the referee’s book may have something to do with it, as he picked up yellow cards in 3 of the 4 matches preceding his demotion. It’s a long season, though, and he should have plenty of chances to win his way back into his manager’s good graces.