JOURNEYMAN (TAKE TWO) – HUGE NEW JOB!

In a summer where I planned on moving to a top 5 division, there was one team that was available before the end of the season I had my eye on as soon as it became available.

That team was Lazio. A huge team in Italy and a club ready made to make a charge at European competitions. With a 5th placed finish last season, it’s only Europa League for us this season, but it’s absolutely a competition we should be looking to compete in and win.

As it’s only 2023 there are still some very familiar names in this side, having had such success with Lechia with our aggressive system, I’m going to implement it with this Lazio side.

With Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto as the midfield pairing, I have huge expectations for them this season. Ciro Immobile at 33 still has incredible physicals and I’m sure will provide plenty of goals for us, while wonderkid Yusuf Demir out wide is already one of the best players at the club at just 20 years of age!

Looking through the squad at first glance there’s a clear need for a partner to Luiz Felipe at the back, wanted by Real Madrid, Felipe is a monster at the back and someone I definitely want to keep around if we are to build a title challenging side. With Luis Alberto’s dead ball ability and Felipe’s height, reach and aggression, Felipe could be the Simic of this Lazio side and pop up with 8-10 goals a season.

Whether or not this is a title-winning, European challenging side is yet to be seen, I can see Lazio being a great challenge and step in our career, but whether it can be competitor in the champions League I am unsure, especially with FM22 around the corner, we don’t have the time to build this side into that.

I quickly got to work assessing the squad and moving some players on. After sales the transfer budget sat at around £38 million. The centre-back problem was the highest priority, so it was the first thing I addressed, Ben White was listed by Brighton (don’t worry I didn’t spend £50 million like a certain club) £10 million with £13 in instalments was enough to secure White’s services. A seriously good ball-playing defender should compliment Luiz perfectly as our centre-back pairing.

Our next big outlay, and potentially our last, was LWB Renan Lodi from Atletico Madrid. Having missed out on a few targets, Nuno Mendes on loan from Barca for instance, I took a chance with Lodi to see if a deal could be done and was pleasantly surprised. A vast improvement on Firpo, the only LB at the club. Lodi has a great set of attributes to play WB, crossing, dribbling and technique all 15 plus, with excellent marking and physicals to help do the defensive side of things.

Our final piece of business was young wonderkid Mickael Andre, only on loan from PSG, Andre offers good cover in midfield, a good addition for the Europa League and other cup competitions.

UP NEXT… THE SEASON BEGINS!

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