The column of the week from Richard Hough for all the Verona-lovers speaking english.
Di Carmine out, oven ready Lasagna
It was inevitable that Verona would seek to strengthen the attack during the transfer window
When Samuel Di Carmine arrived in Verona back in July 2018 Hellas Verona had just been relegated to Serie B. But, the appointment of an exciting new World Cup winning coach and an influx of intriguing new players, including a prolific Serie B goal scorer, fostered a mood of quiet optimism around the Bentegodi, as the squad prepared for yet another season in the Italian second tier.
A decent hardworking player, Di Carmine had scored 22 goals for Perugia the previous season, and expectations were high that he could repeat the feat with Hellas.
Hellas secured promotion thanks to a spirited last minute playoff campaign following the eventual dismissal of Fabio Grosso at the tail end of the season.
In fact, few of the players brought in during the Grosso ‘era’ emerged with their reputations enhanced. Amongst them, Luca Marrone, Santiago Colombatto, Alessandro Crescenzi and Karim Laribi, have all since returned on to relative obscurity, in stark contrast to those players brought in under Ivan Juric since the summer of 2019.
Di Carmine managed 12 goals in his first season with Hellas, just eight last season when the Gialloblù returned to Serie A. In the current season, he hasn’t scored a single goal and, with the arrival of Nikola Kalinić in October, Di Carmine has found himself spending more and more time on the bench.
Few would question his work rate, commitment, or decency as a human being, but as a striker he is judged primarily on his ability to score goals.
He isn’t the only striker to have failed to deliver in recent years for Hellas. Kalinić himself has also struggled with form and fitness this season, with just 1 goal from 8 appearances. Mariusz Stępiński is another who failed to deliver for Hellas. The Pole scored just 3 goals in 21 appearances, before being loaned out to Serie B outfit Lecce, where he has netted 5 times in 18 appearances.
With Stępiński, Di Carmine and Kalinić all struggling to find the net, it was perhaps inevitable that Verona would seek to strengthen in this area during the current transfer window. Di Carmine has been dispatched south to Crotone, currently at the foot of Serie A, where he should enjoy more game time. In his place, Hellas have invested in Kevin Lasagna (28 years old) in a deal said to be worth €9 million. Lasagna has managed just 2 goals in 17 appearances for Udinese this season, but has averaged 9 goals a season in each of the previous three campaigns. Not a bad return for a team that consistently finishes in the second half of the table.
Lasagna is match fit, having played regularly for Udinese in the current campaign, so he could be thrown straight in at the deep end against Roma on Sunday night. If he can score on his debut that would be a great start. If he can manage 10 goals a season, he will be the first player to have done so since Pazzini and the great Luca Toni, and that is exactly what Hellas are missing right now.
© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA