Matias Fernandez (AC Milan): The Chilean playmaker’s reunion with Vincenzo Montella has been largely unsuccessful, as he’s picked up a muscle strain that’s kept him out of action thus far. Expected to miss at least a few more weeks, it’s entirely possible that the Rossoneri won’t bother paying the million euros to make his move permanent.
Jaime Baez (Spezia): The 21-year-old Uruguayan has firmly established himself as a starter on the left wing. Blessed with pace and technique, as well as a tremendous work rate and admirable tenacity, it’s always been a matter of finding his final product in Italy. Well, he got his first goal in Europe against Ternana a couple weeks ago with a typically hard-nosed effort, and seems to be well on his way.
Ricardo Bagadur (Benevento): The 21-year-old Croatian centerback is glued to the bench this season, only playing 7 minutes thus far. After a very successful campaign last year with Salernitana, one might have expected him to unseat veterans Fabio Lucioni and Emanuele Padella, but it hasn’t worked out. The Stregoni have a loan-to-buy option, although the Viola at least have a buyback clause inserted; the numbers haven’t been made public yet, but it shows that Corvino at least has some faith in the youngster. At least he’s ahead of former Fiorentina prospect Michele Camporese (on loan from Empoli) in the pecking order.
Gilberto (Latina): The 23-year-old Brazilian rightback started the first 3 matches of the season on the wing in Vincenzo Vivarini’s 3-5-2, but just 2 points from those matches has prompted a formation change to a 4-3-1-2, freezing him out. Given his history of petulance when not handed a starting berth, this development could spell trouble for him. Fiorentina obviously wants him to succeed, but he needs to show something this season.
Jacopo Petriccione (Ternana): The 21-year-old midfield schemer is enjoying life with the Feri, having started 5 of their 7 matches thus far. He’s been booked in 3 of them, which has always been his biggest problem, but came off the bench last week to assist the equalizer against Perugia (1:04 in the video). The former Cagliari and Siena product seems to finally be coming good.
Lorenzo Venuti (Benevento): The 21-year-old rightback has played every minute of every match thus far for the 3rd place Stregoni. Having just extended his contract with Fiorentina, the U21 international is building on his strong performance with Brescia last season and has obviously earned manager Marco Baroni’s trust. Between Venuti and Kevin Diks, the future looks rosy at the rightback spot.
Steve Beleck (Umraniyespor—Turkey): The 23-year-old Cameroonian striker has started both matches for his new club, playing 90 minutes in each. He has yet to score for the recently promoted side, which is a bit of a concern, but he’s probably the most talented striker on the roster, and his rugged style of play should mesh well with the Turkish second league. His contract with Fiorentina runs out next year, so a good campaign would go a long way towards securing his future.
Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt—Germany): The 23-year-old (his birthday was this past Wednesday, so auguri, Ante!) Croatian attacker is fully recovered from a nasty bout of the flu that forced him to miss the Launische Diva’s (quite a nickname) first 2 matches, and manager Niko Kovac—who knows him from their time together with the Croatian youth and senior national teams—has opted to ease him in, mostly using him on the left wing. He (fortuitously) assisted the late winner against Ingolstadt last week (0:14 in the video) for his first appearance on the scoresheet this season. Weirdly enough, it looks like his main competition for minutes is former Viola prospect Haris Seferovic.
Giuseppe Rossi (Celta Vigo—Spain): The 29-year-old striker isn’t finding life in la Liga much better than Serie A, as he’s been unable to unseat Iago Aspas or John Guidetti for a spot up top; instead, he’s come off the bench. He did play most of the Europa League match at Standard Liege and snatched a point for the Galicians with an absolute peach from distance.
However, manager Eduardo Berizzo clearly prefers the pace of Aspas and the brawn of Guidetti for the league, and it’ll probably take an injury (they do train with Facundo Roncaglia, so it’s very possible) for Beppo to get his chance in domestic play.
Andres Schetino (Sevilla—Spain): The 22-year-old Uruguayan defensive midfielder is playing with Sevilla’s reserves in the second division, which has so far suited him fine. He’s also spent some time a centerback for the Andalusians, although he’s dropped to the bench for the past 2 weeks. It seems almost certain that they’ll exercise their option to buy him, which is too bad. It seems like he’s more a casualty of Daniele Prade’s departure than anything, but it’s nice to see him actually take the pitch, at least.