Mancini, Italy: The forward problem is serious
For Italy, the attacker is a very serious problem.
Colombia, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Brazil, Argentina, Serbia, Gambia, France, Denmark, Nigeria, England, Poland, Angola, Paraguay, Portugal. We haven’t gone crazy: this is the list of nationalities of the starting strikers in our Serie A, not counting Italians but not too many. Behind the eternal Ciro Immobile, who at the age of 33 begins to feel the inevitable wear and tear of time on his body, under the heading “centre forward” is as good as nothing. And Mancio snorts.
Scamacca, who emigrated across the English Channel before fully understanding his strengths and weaknesses, still needs time to take the weight of the world on his shoulders – he ended up on the bench in the meantime – and the competition in the role is missing. The only Serie A teams to choose to invest in one Italian bomber I am Sassuolo and Monza – self-sufficient teams by vocation – while Empoli welcomed another one in January highlanders like Ciccio Caputo. Little, very little, almost nothing. According to some, the much-cited and criticized “growth decree” has helped boost the international appeal of our championship – allowing clubs to offer foreign champions competitive salaries – but has exhausted the pool for the national team.
To make matters worse, the Azzurri’s few top scorers are not doing so well: Ciro has been trying to climb back up to the top scorer position but since the beginning of October his muscles have been torturing him like never before . We are already five stations due to various complaints. Positive at Empoli last year, Sassuolese Pinamonti has struggled more than expected to fit into Dionisi’s game plans and has so far failed to pick up the baton bequeathed to him by expatriate Scamacca. Berardi’s return on a permanent basis and his assists seemed to help him make sense of his season, but his physique has also teased him.
Also Petagna, who has a little more experience than the ex-Inter player and was welcomed in Monza as a perfect partner for the other new signing Caprari, had a thousand difficulties before – that is recent history – he started with a certain starting frequency from the first Minute. That being said, the possible alternatives on the horizon are few, very few. Starting with the “Gallo” Belotti – once one of those rare certainties – who gives Roma a lot, but not in terms of goals.
The future doesn’t look particularly rosy either. As well as the usual scamacca, there’s Colombo from Lecce – who appears to have returned to the Baroni hierarchy after a golden period behind Gambian Ceesay – Pellegri del Toro – reserve for Sanabria and always injured – Piccoli from Empoli – who has changed fifth jersey in three years – and the “new Toni” Lorenzo Lucca, also on the bench in Amsterdam. The latter, after a year of ups and downs at Pisa, preferred trying life and career experience at Ajax rather than finding himself in Serie A as a reserve for an immobile over-30-year-old, as would have happened had he moved there Bologna, it’s a shame that you usually play in the second team in Holland too.
Another who has had very high expectations centered on him and who has slumped in completely inexplicable ways is Juventus player Moise Kean, who had excelled in a season in Paris only to fall into a downward spiral that he couldn’t have seems end. Allegri defends him with drawn sword and Mancini is still counting on it, but his attitudes always play against him. The Vercelli player with the pigtails first suffered the shame of being left out of the squad for the victorious EM 2021, then ended up in the Juventus meat grinder despite starting as a substitute for CR7, was finally first by Vlahovic, then by Milik and ousted finally by the ugly copy of itself.
Raspadori, not a true centre-forward but the best in the Blues yet due to his distance, is struggling with the harsh reality of an impossible-to-beat Osimhen and he too has had serious injury problems – Italians are good people but with fragile muscles.
For the next few calls, everyone expects a “handful” like Zaniolo, but the record is crying. There was a little talk about Andrea Compagno, very successful and productive but in Romania one who has not gone beyond amateurs in Italy. Then came the name of Mateo Retegui, the Tigre’s one-two Argentinian centre-forward who will hopefully rejuvenate an aboriginal-blue-shirt idyll born since the 1930s – but which today seems to be the classic desperation move.
From João Pedro, his protagonist and ours despite the loss to North Macedonia, Mancini’s decisions were increasingly shaped by the postmodern, with players launched as cries for help rather than real sporting merits. And if Gnonto’s choice was premature, but all in all seemed spot on, he called on immature players not to dare any further definitions pointedly – like Cancellieri, Zerbin or Salvatore Esposito, who have played little or nothing at their respective clubs, or Pafundi, twenty minutes in total in Serie A, there is a danger of devaluing the blue shirt too much. No longer a reward for a path that has reached its peak, but a simple incentive to get teams full of foreigners to at least give chances to underrated players.
This task should not be taken on by the CT but by the FA creating ad hoc regulatory regimes that make it more beneficial for clubs to focus on developing a ‘blue’ player rather than finding the first nobody to come out cheaply abroad comes prices. The Italian national youth teams achieve great resultseven better than in a past where our U21 hoarded European laurels. Why is all this talent wasted? If winning the Nations League was an important goal, especially for morale, qualifying for the EM 2024 – as reigning champions – must not be missed. And if the Italian center forward is gone: San Pablito, help us!