It’s hard to believe that the Serb captained Fiorentina a few times, considering the undignified manner of his exit from the Viola (then again, given how captains tend to end up with this team, maybe not). As much as he wanted to stay in Florence, the move to Chievo Verona was probably in everyone’s best interest. He settled right into life as a Donkey, probably helped by the sizeable ex-Viola contingent—Dario Dainelli and Alessandro Gamberini were both Fiorentina captains too, while Massimo Gobbi and Andrea Seculin were longtime players.
Anyways, Nenad firmly established himself in Rolando Maran’s XI. In the 10 matches he didn’t start, the Mussi Volanti only obtained 7 points. With the oldest team in the league, the Chievo brass is almost certain to pick up the option to buy him come 1 June, as Dainelli (38), Gamberini (36), and Bostjan Cesar (35) approach retirement. We still don’t know what price the teams agreed to when he moved—although there was a €300,000 loan fee—but it probably won’t cost the Gialloblu much more than €1.5 million. For a team like Chievo, it’s great business, and we wish him nothing but the best.
Final 2017-2018 grade: B- A very Tomović season, complete with a few mind-numbing blunders, but mostly quiet and unremarkable.
Last year was special for Lolo. He helped unfancied Benevento obtain an unlikely promotion to Serie A (their first ever) and established himself as one of the key cogs in the side. His intelligence, pace, and versatility gave him the look of a future star. So when the Stregoni snagged his services for their maiden Serie A campaign, it seemed like the perfect solution for everyone: Venuti got all the playing time he could handle in a familiar and comfortable environment, Benevento got one of its top players back, and Fiorentina got to keep one of their most promising youngsters.
Of course, it didn’t quite work that way. Benevento was, to put it charitably, terrible. They have an outside chance to equal Serie A’s all-time worst defense (Venezia conceded 89 in 1949) if they give up 6 goals against Chievo. While they’ve suffered a number of injuries and suspensions to defenders, it’s fair to say that nobody in that unit has covered himself in glory, Venuti included.
On the other hand, it’s awfully hard to evaluate a single player in such a miserably bad team. Lolo was forced to play centerback for several matches, where he’s clearly not comfortable, and it’s not like he got a whole lot of help from any of his teammates. The already legendarily bad Benevento season doesn’t rest on his shoulders. But it’s safe to say that, now 23 years old and with a whole year of getting wiped out by Serie A attackers, some of the shine is off him now. He extended his contract last summer until 2018, so this upcoming year will be absolutely critical for his future.
Final 2017-2018 grade: D We know it wasn’t your fault, but you’ve got to be a little bit better. Luckily for everyone, you get a great chance to do just that next season.