Benevento earned their first-ever promotion to Serie A after downing Carpi in the playoff. It’s a substantial accomplishment, considering that they won the Lega Pro last year; back-to-back promotions are the stuff of legends. The Campanians are, of course, over the moon, but they’re already making plans for their maiden voyage in the top flight.
Manager Marco Baroni achieved this historic feat through defensive solidity, boasting the 7th-best goals-against record in Serie B despite lacking any well-known defenders; former Fiorentina prospect Michele Camporese stacked up the third-most minutes in the backline, if that’s any indication. The second-most used defender, though, was 22-year-old Viola loanee Lorenzo Venuti, who mostly worked at rightback but also deputized on the left and sometimes even in the wide midfield spots.
Now Baroni is desperate to ensure his defender stays put, pressuring chairman Oreste Vigorito to strike a deal to bring Venuti back. So far, the plan seems to be another year on loan, although this time Benevento would have an option to buy the player, although Fiorentina would get a buy-back clause as well. Nothing will get done, however, before the player returns from his vacation on an island off the coast of Mozambique.
It’s a solid piece of business for everyone involved. Lollo would get the continuity of sticking with his old mates (lots of ex-Gigliati in this Benevento side: Andrea de Falco, Camporese, and Ricardo Bagadur, who’s been sent back to Florence) as well as a chance to play regular Serie A minutes. Benevento would get a player they can count on for their first trip top-level promotion. Fiorentina would get to let a promising youngster develop and bring him back if it all works out for a reasonable fee.
For the record, we’re big Venuti fans. He’s got lots of quality, having torn up the Primavera league and earned some time with the U21s. He’s also a local kid, hailing from Montevarchi, less than an hour southeast of Florence. He’s an old-school, workhorse fullback, the type that never stops running. His positioning is good, his tackling solid, and his instincts excellent. He doesn’t offer as much going forward at this stage besides tireless overlapping, but that’ll come with time. His final stats on the season were 41 appearances, 2 assists, and 5 yellow cards. Hopefully a deal can be reached so he can exceed those numbers next year, then return to Fiorentina as a steady and experienced fullback.