Looking at Lazio's squad
, the team-- between the culture, the coaching, or whatever it may be-- simply can't be getting the best out of many of their players.
Let's take Valon Berisha, for example: he had
several trials with English Premier League clubs as a teenager, but didn't want to leave home at such a young age. He's worth 7.5 million EUR-- 10 when he joined us-- and he has 257 European club appearances since he was not even 20 years old, to go along with a plentiful 46 goals! On top of that, he has 34 international caps. And yet-- he can't get a game in, even when our midfield regulars were struggling!
Another example comes in the form
of Riza Durmisi. 147 club appearances, 51 of those in the Spanish La Liga, to go along with 10 goals and 22 caps for Denmark. He was only left out of the World Cup Finals squad in a shocking and bizarre coaching decision, which left all of the media and fans in Denmark scratching their heads. Can he get any playing time at all, even with a struggling and aging Lulic? Nope!
Then you've got other guys like Caceres, who is still good enough for Uruguay and Juventus but can't put a foot right in Rome, or Jordan Lukaku who was making his way into one of the best national teams in the world until he joined Lazio. Or what about Milan Badelj, who very nearly lifted the World Cup trophy as the lynchpin of his side, yet looks totally out of sorts in the biancoceleste shirt?
It's tempting to say that there is lots of driftwood in this Lazio side-- which is a common phenomenon in the Lotito era-- and that's why they're struggling. But unlike those deadweight-laden squads of the past, this time I see several
players who should be making significant contributions, but who aren't. And that points to some kind of present systemic issue with the club itself.
To show that I'm fair, some of these guys do
just stink: Wallace has a paper-thin CV, including a year's end "worst of Ligue 1" recognition, but seemed to be a pet project of Jorge Mendes, which is why he has a crazy value of 8 million EUR. Bastos is a wonderful footballer-- at the level of Angolan football, where he even captains the national side; he has a big heart, but isn't Serie A-level. Patric, Murgia, and Cataldi are all youth players-- the first for Barcelona-- who have probably already hit their ceilings.
There is also the opposite
case of Luiz Felipe, pseudo-fraudulently bought as a Serie B player for Lotito's Salernitana, but who has developed so rapidly that he's our second-best central defender, after Acerbi. It's just too bad there aren't more of these positive cases for the club to rest their hats on.