Andy Bangu (Vicenza): The 20-year-old Congolese midfielder has had a difficult autumn after a promising summer. He’s only made 3 substitute appearances in the last 7 matches as recently hired manager Nicola Zanini has opted for a more physical, disciplined midfield. It’s a real waste of talent, as Bangu’s the sort of player who can win matches with a moment of magic. However, given the slump the Lanerossi find themselves in—just 7 points from their past 7 matches—the mister could turn to the youngster to spark the attack, which has been fizzling. As ever, I’m a huge Bangu fan and think he could find a place in the Fiorentina squad sooner rather than later, although he’ll need to improve his defensive discipline. If he does, he should get minutes under Zanini and be even closer to ready for the big time.
Simone Minelli (Trapani): The 20-year-old winger has made just two appearances since October, both from the bench. Part of the problem is that, as a natural wide-man, he doesn’t really fit into manager Alessandro Calori’s 3-5-2, in which he’s forced to operate as a striker. The bigger issue, though, is that the Granata are in 2nd place and look like a good bet to be promoted, so Calori is unlikely to mess with the successful formula he’s found. It’s a shame, because Minelli’s a talented young attacker with live-wire quickness and a veteran’s intelligence. We hope he can scrap for some more minutes with the club, but at least U20 international duties will keep him busy.
Joshua Pérez (Livorno): The 19-year-old American winger has been slowly rounding into form, getting minutes in the club’s past 5 matches. Brought along slowly by manager Andrea Sottil—an ex-Viola player himself and father of Primavera winger Riccardo—he’s starting to pay dividends as a spark off the bench, assisting a late equalizer against Monza with a flawless cross.
It’s his first appearance on the scoresheet as a professional, and we’re expecting plenty more from him. With a healthy 10-point lead atop the standings already, Sottil may give the Californian a chance or two as a starter down the line, but for now, the supersub role clearly suits all parties involved. We’re excited to see Pérez continue to shine in his limited opportunities while building invaluable experience, and we can hardly wait to see what he does next year.
Amidu Salifu (Vicenza): The 25-year-old Ghanaian midfielder has won the new mister’s trust and has started 2 of the past 3 matches for Zanini, assisting a late but ultimately futile equalizer in the 3-2 loss at Pordenone a couple weeks ago. Finally healthy after nearly 4 years of knee issues, it’s probably too late for Salifu to make much of an impact for the Viola at this point, as we haven’t heard anything from the club about renewing his contract, which expires at the end of the year. A string of good performances could see him earn a look elsewhere, though, and we wish him nothing but the best. He was an excellent prospect once, and we’d love to see him fulfill that potential, in Florence or, more likely, elsewhere.
Mattia Trovato (Cosenza): The 19-year-old winger has finally started to earn the occasional appearance for the Lupi after missing the first 8 matches. He’s now got 3 appearances and is building a bit of momentum as he earns manager Piero Braglia’s trust. With a solidly midtable side, the mister may consider giving the former U18 international an extended run in the team somewhere down the road, but we’re not too worried either way. This is Trovato’s first time away from the friendly confines of the Primavera, so it’s all about getting his feet wet and developing an understanding of what it takes to be a professional. A few appearances are good, but he’s probably a year or two away from really making an impact.