Vittorio Agostinelli (Lecco): The 21-year-old has yet to make an appearance for the newly-promoted Aquile. Having spent most of his Primavera career as a trequartista, he’s learning the nuances of a deeper position and clearly hasn’t earned manager Emiliano Bonazzoli’s (feel old?) trust. With Lecco hovering above the relegation places, perhaps the mister will give him a chance at some point out of desperation. It’s not a good sign that he’s been unable to establish himself for a second straight season at this level.
Grade: F Needs to get on the pitch.
Alessandro Bianco (Reggiana): The 21-year-old midfielder will hope to make his debut for the Italy U21s in the Euro qualifiers against Malta and Ireland. He’s built up some momentum for the Granata, starting every league game and helping them achieve a solid mid-table position. He’s yet to score but has notched a couple of assists and has earned plaudits aplenty, even notching Reggiana’s player of the month award in September. The only downside is that he’s a magnet for yellow cards, having already served a suspension, having collected 7 in 15 appearances.
Grade: B+ If he keeps this up, he could very well stake a claim for a spot in Fiorentina’s midfield next season.
Filippo Distefano (Ternana): The 20-year-old attacker has settled in as the Fere’s supersub, coming off the bench in all but 1 of his 10 appearances and scoring twice, which is tied for the team lead. If he keeps this up, manager Cristiano Lucarelli (feel old?) may have no choice but to promote him past Andrea Favilli or Antonio Raimondo. This versatility is a welcome sight for a player who spent much of his youth career on the wing; he’ll probably never be the kind of 9 who can lead the line, but he’s demonstrating that he can fit any role, and that’s very important for his development.
Grade: B Keep scoring and good things will come.
Costantino Favasuli (Ternana): The 19-year-old can play anywhere on the left side but has settled into central midfield pretty well, making 6 starts in his 12 appearances. He’s been uneven, as you’d expect from a teenager, but there have been flashes of potential as well. He does seem to be falling out of Lucarelli’s favor, starting just once over the past month, but at least he’s still involved.
Grade: C+ It’s just a matter of consistency.
Gabriele Ferrarini (Feralpisalò): In his 3rd straight Serie B stop, Ferrarini’s once again settled in as a first team regular. He started 2 of his first 4 matches and looked to be building momentum before a hamstring strain knocked him out for 6 weeks, and he’s only just getting his fitness back. His versatility and athleticism should get him back in manager Marco Zafferoni’s plans quite soon, although it may be too late for the newly-promoted Verdeblù, who find themselves in last place due to the league’s worst defense, which isn’t perhaps the healthiest atmosphere for a young defender.
Grade: C- The injury setback was a bummer but there’s plenty of season left to impress everyone.
Dimo Krastev (Catanzaro): The 20-year-old got 90 minutes in the Coppa Italia back in August and has remained glued to the bench since. With the newly-promoted Aquile del Sud soaring to 6th place, it will probably require an injury to someone ahead of him for a return to the XI, as manager Vincenzo Vivarini won’t change a system that’s working. It’s even knocked Krastev out of the Bulgaria setup, so you know he’ll be raring to prove himself when his chance finally arrives.
Grade: D- Can’t play well if you’re not even playing.
Lorenzo Lucchesi (Ternana): The 20-year-old central defender started the season glued to the bench but has forced his way into the XI over the past 3 weeks. The Fere have conceded 5 goals in those outings, which isn’t great, and whle Lucchesi could’ve been better, he’s not directly at fault for any of the goals scored. It’s tough to judge a defender stuck in a leaky rearguard but the Florentine native is putting in the tough work now to improve down the road.
OFICIAL | Lorenzo Lucchesi y Costantino Favasuli, nuevos jugadores de la Ternana.— ACF Fiorentina (@Sp_Fiorentina) August 5, 2023
Los dos jugadores de la Fiorentina se marchan cedidos al equipo de Serie B. pic.twitter.com/1AwiC3d7Ki
Grade: C+ It can’t all be roses and champagne, but even getting to the starting lineup has to be considered a success.
Out of Italy
Sofyan Amrabat (Manchester United): The Moroccan hasn’t won many fans so far, failing to displace either of Casemiro and Scott McTominay in the XI and spending much of his time as an emergency leftback, which doesn’t suit his skill set. He’s been involved in several of United’s worst performances this year and looks pretty hapless. At this point, it’s fair to wonder if the club will simply eat the €10 million loan fee and send him back to save the remaining €25 million to make the move permanent, which would be deeply awkward for everyone involved.
Grade: D The Man U miasma has infected him. There’s no escaping it. Not for anyone.
Aleksandr Kokorin (Aris Limassol): After his bizarre renaissance as Limassol’s leading scorer last year, the Viola meme got a move back. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t gone as well, as the convict is yet to score in his 5 appearances; in fact, 3 of the Light Brigade’s 4 wins came when Kokorin missed time due to injury, with their record in the remaining 5 a putrid W1 D2 L2. On the plus side, his contract expires in 2024, so he can go be somebody else’s problem, thank goodness.
Grade: F for who Fucking cares?
Louis Munteanu (Farul Constanța): The 21-year-old attacker hasn’t hit last season’s heights (10 goals, 6 assists) with Farul, despite a brace in his debut. Unfortunately, he hasn’t scored since, which is part of why his team finds itself in the relegation round places. Still, manager Gheorghe Hagi hasn’t given up on him, as Munteanu’s still a weekly starter, and despite the cracks in the rest of the team, Munteanu’s proven that he can do it in the SuperLiga, so it’s probably just a matter of time before the goals start pouring out again. He’d better hope so, as his Fiorentina contract runs out this summer and he’s likely auditioning for a new home as the Viola brass have no apparent interest in keeping him around.
Grade: C- A few more goals and it’ll all look much, much better.
Abdelhamid Sabiri (Al-Fayha): Despite missing the past 3 weeks with an injury, the Moroccan’s been pretty good in Saudi Arabia. He’s scored 1 in the league and laid on a couple of assists while notching twice more in the AFC Champions League, including a typically lovely howitzer from distance. The real question is if he’s done enough to earn a permanent move this summer, as he’s talked himself out of a job with Fiorentina. Given the amount of money floating around Saudi soccer, it’s a safe bet that he’ll remain in the kingdom for the foreseeable.
Grade: B+ Scoring goals, laying on assists, and not questioning Vincenzo Italiano is exactly what all parties involved want.