Foreign Leagues

6 Underrated Serie A Players English Clubs Should Target

 • by Adam Digby
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There have been countless stars from Serie A linked with moves to the Premier League in recent weeks.

But away from big names like Andrea Belotti and Dries Mertens, there are several players whose performances have gone unnoticed by a wider audience.

So let’s shine a little light on them. We’ve picked out six under the radar players Premier League clubs looking for a bargain should be paying close attention to over the last two months of 2016/17.

Łukasz Skorupski (Empoli)

Were it not for the performances of Skorupski this season, Empoli could be in very serious danger of being relegated.

While the likes of Palermo, Crotone and Pescara occupy Serie A’s bottom three places, the Tuscan side sit 17th with just five points separating them from the trio of clubs destined for the drop.

Empoli’s biggest problem has been their lack of goals, the club have managed just 20 in the first 32 matches of the campaign. But their defensive record – owed in no small part to their Polish goalkeeper – has kept them afloat.

Skorupski found himself surplus to requirements at parent club AS Roma following the arrival of compatriot Wojciech Szczęsny and Brazilian Alisson, but the 25-year-old has been superb at Empoli.

His tally of 122 saves ranks second in the league and only five goalkeepers have managed more than his total of ten clean sheets.

Skorupski has also stopped three of the seven penalties he’s faced this term and with Corriere dello Sport reporting he could be available for as little as €7 million, several Premier League clubs should be interested. 

Andrea Conti (Atalanta)

Thanks to the club’s impressive form this season, there have been no shortage of scouts at Atalanta games.

The Bergamo-based club currently sit fifth in the table and could well seal a Europa League berth. Several players have impressed during the campaign, with Franck Kessie arguably gaining the most attention.

However, keen-eyed observers at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia could not have failed to notice the excellent displays from young right-back Andrea Conti.

The 23-year-old only made his Serie A debut in January 2016, but he looks assured, dependable and consistent up and down the flank.

Averaging two tackles and 2.4 interceptions per game, Conti has been diligent defensively even when asked to play on the unfamiliar left-hand side of midfield.

He is certainly better in his natural role but Conti has weighed in with five goals and five assists during the season. His crossing and general distribution have also become sharper and more effective every time he takes to the field.

Read More: The rise of atalanta and franck kessie

Lorenzo Pellegrini (Sassuolo)

Much like Conti, when people discuss Lorenzo Pellegrini’s club, his name is found below a number of high-profile team-mates such as Domenico Berardi and Grégoire Defrel.

But the young midfielder has been busy establishing himself as a reliable performer in the Sassuolo midfield.

A product of the AS Roma youth sector, the left-footed youngster stepped in when the club suffered an injury crisis and has not relinquished his place on his team-mates’ return.

Strong, intelligent and tactically aware, the 20-year-old has been excellent defensively and is tenacious in his pursuit of the ball, while he has also weighed in with six goals and six assists.

Pellegrini also gained valuable experience in Sassuolo’s progress to the Europa League group stage, proving he can stand tall in difficult environments like Athletic Bilbao’s intimidating San Mames.

Mario Lemina (Juventus)

Unlike many on this list, Lemina will perhaps be well-known to some but as Juventus continue to improve the depth of options available to Max Allegri, the Gabon international could still be on the move this summer.

Already behind the likes of Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio, the arrivals of Tomas Rincon and Rodrigo Bentancur in recent months will likely make Lemina surplus to requirements.

The 23-year-old possesses energy, a strong work ethic and a desire to improve, and not being good enough for the current Juventus side is certainly not a crime.

Lemina has all the attributes to shine in the Premier League and any number of clubs could do well to move early in the transfer window for him.

Daniele Baselli (Torino)

The arrival of Joe Hart and the incredible goal scoring exploits of Andrea Belotti have seen Torino receive much more attention than at any point in recent years.

But behind that headline-hogging duo a number of promising young players have been delivering consistently good performances for Coach Siniša Mihajlović.

Arguably foremost among those is Daniele Baselli, a product of the excellent Atalanta academy who joined Toro in the summer of 2015.

With just ten goals in 71 appearances for the club, he doesn’t score too many but, as any highlight package reveals, when he does they are usually spectacular.

However, any Premier League side looking for a fine, all-round midfielder could do much worse than take a look at the 25-year-old.

This term he is averaging a career high 1.9 tackles per game while also making 1.1 interceptions and one clearance per outing.

Once he has helped win back possession, Baselli is unafraid of driving at back-pedalling opponents, while also improving the range and accuracy of his passing to make himself a valuable weapon in the Granata attack.

Talks have been held over a new contract – Everton have already reportedly sent scouts to see him in action – with a buyout clause set at a very manageable €20 million.

Patrik Schick (Sampdoria)

Need a super sub? Then look no further than Sampdoria’s Patrik Schick.

The Luis MurielFabio Quagliarella partnership maybe coach Marco Giampaolo’s first-choice pairing, but the 21-year-old Czech is making that increasingly difficult.

Only eight of his 26 Serie A appearances have been starts but he continues to deliver, bagging six of his nine goals when introduced as a substitute.

“I keep him on the bench because otherwise they’ll sell him,” Giampaolo joked at a press conference in February. “I want him here next season.”

With increasingly excellent performances, that could prove difficult as a host of clubs continue to monitor his progress.

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