It’s nearing the end of silly season and the transfer window has just twelve days remaining, but Lazio are still searching for a new signing. Unfortunately it is never easy to separate fact from fiction but it does seem that the Biancocelesti have two players on their radar. The first is Portuguese international Hugo Almeida who currently ply’s his trade with Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen. Bremen who have just lost Mesut Ozil to Real Madrid, have hinted that Almeida could also be sold. But Almeida may be holding his cards close to his chest as Bremen, after a 3-1 first leg win over Sampdoria this week, are on the verge of Champions League qualification. A Sampdoria comeback at Marassi next week may convince Almeida to relocate to Italy, but for now any transfer is firmly on hold.
Lazio are apparently favourites to sign the Mexican Giovani dos Santos who Tottenham Hotspur, his current club, have put up for sale, although the price tag of £7m may put off the Biancocelesti. Dos Santos will be hoping to reignite his career, which has seen him play lower league football with Ipswich Town after Tottenham loaned him out. If he does join Lazio he will become one of only a handful of professional players who have played in the ‘three strongest leagues’- La Liga, Premier League and Serie A.
At home, the Biancocelesti have loaned out ‘promising’ central defender Pablo Pintos. The 23-year-old Uruguayan has moved to Getafe in Spain for the season. And there is also a new development on unsettled Argentine Cristian Ledesma. Juventus are now heading the queue to sign the 27-year-old, and rivals Milan have also shown interest. It is expected that Ledesma, who could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, will sign for the Old Lady in the coming days. On another note the club’s new shirt sponsors are still unknown and at present it appears the club will start the new Serie A campaign without any advertisement on their shirt.
On to the campaign and it is worth looking at the Biancocelesti’s first four fixtures, all of which seem daunting for a club that finished the Serie A season in twelfth place. These exact four fixtures yielded just two points from a possible twelve last term. The Biancocelesti kick off their season with a tricky away fixture to Champions League contenders Sampdoria, and then there is a two-week break until they play their first home game of the season against Bologna. But there is no disguising the difficult nature of Lazio’s next two games: away to Fiorentina and then at home to Milan. Anything against Fiorentina will be a victory, and Lazio will be hosting the Rossoneri for their fourth league game, and the club from Milan should be curious opponents to watch. In the past a defeat would have been expected but Milan have fallen from grace somewhat over the last few seasons. However they are far from a poor side and still have a few world-class players, they will always be incredibly difficult to beat.
So to summarize the first four fixtures will indeed be difficult and the new campaign may well get off to a bad start. If this were to happen coach Edy Reja would certainly be under pressure. New signing Hernanes will in all probability take until Christmas to settle, as this is frequently a problem for South American players coming to Europe, and this, coupled with a series of defeats, could mean swift and drastic changes. It’s fair to say that the pressure will be on Reja from day one, and unless Lazio show the quality that they exhibited only briefly in the 2009/10 season then the Curva Nord, or the 12th man, could be in for a long, hard season once again. The tifosi will be looking eagerly for signs of improvement in their final pre-season friendly before the Serie A campaign begins, against the Spaniards Deportivo la Coruna at the Olmpico on Sunday.