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Loanee reports: Serie C

It’s the third tier in Italy, but the first tier in our hearts.

Italy U20 v B Italia
Ready to go.
Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Andy Bangu (Vicenza): The 20-year-old Congolese midfielder has tailed off a bit in the past few months, only making 1 start and 4 substitute appearances since December. This coincides with the arrival of new manager Nicola Zanini, who’s moved to a weird 4-3-1-2 shape that often seems to end up looking more like a 4-4-1-1. Bangu, whose exuberance in attack is always striking, probably doesn’t have the discipline to stay at home in the middle, and thus has been dropped to the bench. While he still have nothing but love for Andy, he needs to refine himself and embrace the defensive side of the game if he wants to earn more playing time, both this year and down the road. We still believe in him.

Amidu Salifu (Vicenza): The 25-year-old Ghanaian midfielder had earned a starting role for the Lanerossi under Zanini, but has been absent since late November after being found with fake immigration papers by authorities in Venice. It’s unclear exactly what’s going on, but he’s not being detained or anything. Given the recent issues with illegal registrations for players from western Africa, this could well be related. With a contract expiring at the end of the year, this probably ends any chance that Amidu will ever suit up for Fiorentina gain. Hopefully he reaches a quick resolution to the document problem and is allowed to continue plying his trade where he wants; we wish him only the best.

Joshua Pérez (Livorno): The 20-year-old American winger continues to impress as the top attacking substitute for le Triglie. While he doesn’t have the counting stats—goals and assists—to impress anyone (just 1 assist so far and no goals), his energy and skill on the wing create problems for just about everyone he faces, and he’s getting much smarter about his end product. The well-defined role for the capolista side has paid dividends in the Pérez’ development and he knows it, recently saying in an interview, “Other squads wanted me this season, but speaking with the management at Fiorentina, I realized that Livorno was the best solution. I’m doing well here, I like playing on the right wing and moving inside on my left foot to shoot on goal.” In such a perfect environment, the sky’s the limit for Josh; we think he’ll need a couple more years before he’s ready for the rigors of Serie A, but he’s doing everything right so far.

Mattia Trovato (Cosenza): The 20-year-old winger has finally gotten a bit of a runout, appearing in 8 of the past 10 for the Lupi, including starts in 3 of the past 5. It’s an encouraging improvement for a lad who’d 29 minutes before that stretch, and Cosenza hasn’t lost any of the matches he’s played in over that stretch. Interestingly enough, manager Piero Braglia has mostly used him as a central midfielder in a 3-5-2, where the youngster’s energy and pace can provide an extra spark in the middle of the park. Like all the players on this list, he’s not ready for Serie A yet, but his adaptability in this, his first professional posting, speaks well of him.

Simone Minelli (Trapani): The 21-year-old winger continues to work as an impact sub for the Granata, generally coming on as a striker in manager Alessandro Calori’s 3-5-2. Much like Josh Pérez, he hasn’t accumulated many gaudy stats, but he’s generally been a useful presence as he learns a new position, using his off-ball movement and excellent dribbling to create space for himself and others. We’d like to see him give Serie B a try next year, since he’s getting to be the age at which Serie C shouldn’t present too many challenges to a player of his pedigree.