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Loanee reports: Serie C

The third tier isn’t glamorous, but it’s a good proving ground for young talent.

Italy v Czech Republic- Elite Round U19
This is still one of my favorite-ever pictures of a goalkeeper.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

It’s been awhile since we checked in on the Fiorentina players out on loan in Serie C, so let’s stretch our in their direction. Without further ado, then, here we go.

Andy Bangu (Bisceglie): The 21-year-old Congolese midfielder spent the first part of the year on loan at Matera, where he’d been playing reasonably well, but switched to Bisceglie after the Biancazzurri neglected to pay its players for months, leading to its ejection from Serie C. The Nerrazurri Stellati seem a decent landing spot, though, as he’s immediately slotted into the starting lineup. Given that the team are in 17th—and thus in the relegation spots—largely due to the most anemic attack in the league (they’ve only scored 13 times in 25 matches), the youngster should have manager Rodolfo Vanoli’s permission to express himself going forward, which is good, as that’s where Bangu’s at his best. Perhaps his driving runs from deep and knack for finding creases in the opposing defense will spark his new side to safety, or at least to a few more goals.

Giuseppe Caso (Cuneo): The 20-year-old winger has settled into his role as the top attacking sub for the Aquile. He scored his first (and thus far only) goal of the campaign in December, demonstrating his pace (we knew he had plenty of that) and predatory instincts (which hadn’t really manifested themselves).

Although the scoring return isn’t great, he’s also notched an assist and won a penalty, which is about what you’d expect from a youngster wearing the 10 shirt. He’s looked lively and dangerous, although his end product hasn’t quite gotten up to snuff. That said, he looks like he’s worth keeping an eye on, given the sheer speed he brings to the pitch.

Michele Cerofolini (Bisceglie): The 20-year-old goalkeeper started the year with Cosenza, but Pantaleo Corvino moved him to Puglia in search of more playing time, which bodes well for Cerofolini’s future and the esteem in which the Viola brass hold him. It’s worked, too, as Vanoli has immediately annointed the Italy U20 number one as his starter in all 3 matches since he’s arrived, including the first clean sheet of his professional career in a scoreless draw against 2nd-place Trapani. He’s doing just fine and should get plenty of chances to continue his development.

Petko Hristov (Ternana): The 19-year-old Bulgarian centerback has looked quite sharp this year across his 12 appearances, scoring a fantastic header for his first goal at the club. He hasn’t played as much as we’d like due to injury—it seems like hamstrings are his weakness—and his work with the Bulgaria U21s (he’s skipped a couple of age groups at the international level, which bodes well for his future). With his primary competition for a starting role in the Rossoverdo backline comprising of three 30+ players (including former Viola man Modibo Diakité), we fully expect him to kick on and finish the year with at least 25 appearances. He’s still got a couple of years until he’s ready for Serie A, but he’s doing everything right so far and, if he stays on this track, should be a part of the team’s plans for the next decade or so.

Marco Marozzi (Fermana): The 20-year-old winger has struggled for minutes this year; he’s made just 6 appearances, all off the bench, and has yet to get on the scoresheet. It must be a frustrating debut campaign as a professional, but he’s not unfamiliar with this pattern. He was also mostly a bench option last year with the Primavera before coming on strong towards the end of the year and making himself a bigger part of the squad. Hopefully, he’ll follow the same path and force his way into manager Flavio Destro’s plans.

Luca Mosti (Bisceglie): The 20-year-old rightback transferred from Arezzo to Bisceglie (who’ve clearly developed some sort of rapport with Corvino) in January after not managing a single appearance for the Tuscan outfit. He’s at least seen the pitch now, coming on as a substitute for Bangu, of all people, in yesterday’s loss at Sicula Leonzio. While the move to another team that plays three at the back seems a bit odd for him, considering that he’s more of a fullback, but perhaps the Viola brass see his long-term position somewhere else.

Pierluigi Pinto (Arezzo): The 20-year-old centerback has taken to life as a professional footballer like the proverbial duck to water. He’s been one of the standout performers for the Amaranti this season, collecting 27 appearances and 6 yellow cards. He’s played the full 90 minutes of every match but one, for which he was suspended, and is a big part of why the Tuscan side sits in 4th place with the 3rd-best defensive record in Serie C-A. We knew he was good after a sterling career with the Primavera, but I don’t think anyone thought he’d adjust so quickly to playing against grown men. Not the fastest or most technical, he possesses strength and an excellent positional sense for such a young player. He’s another one to keep an eye for the long-term.

Amidu Salifu (Arezzo): The 26-year-old Ghanaian midfielder has come on a bit of late, starting 3 of the past 5 for the Amaranti and lasting the full 90 each time, but he’s still made just 9 appearances on the year. He’s also dealt with some injury issues that knocked him out for more than a month. Whether that’s good enough at this point to convince Arezzo to pick up the buying option in his loan deal is anyone’s guess. It’s a real shame for a player who showed so much promise before injuries robbed him of two years, and he’s never looked the same since. Still, you have to hope that he gets it together, as he’s the longest-tenured Viola player now, even if he hasn’t played for the senior side since 2012.

Luca Zanon (Robur Siena): The 22-year-old leftback has had a pretty solid year in Tuscany, making 19 appearances for the Bianconeri and helping them to 6th place in the table. He has been losing some minutes to 19-year-old Empoli loanee Marco Imperiale over the past month or so, but Zanon seems to remain the first-choice option by a hair. It’s likely that Robur will make his stay permanent when the season ends, as they seem to have an option in the loan (I haven’t been able to confirm either way but an option makes sense). Otherwise, he’ll enter the market as a free agent, given that his Viola contract runs out at the end of the year as well. Either way, we wish him the best for this year and beyond.