Lazio Plotting Substantial Attacking Overhaul

Following last season’s impressive runner-up finish, securing another season at Europe’s top table has proved tricky for Lazio. Going into Sunday’s mouth-watering home clash against Serie A holders Napoli, Maurizio Sarri’s men trail fourth-placed Atalanta by three points. 

Before falling to a chastening 3-0 defeat to high-flying Inter in their Supercoppa Italiana semi-final tie, Lazio had won five domestic fixtures on the trot, including four in Serie A. An ill-tempered 1-0 victory against arch-rivals Roma in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals only sweetened the run.

However, Inter gave Lazio a harsh reality check, reminding club president Claudio Lotito that he must do something in the remainder of the January transfer window to boost the quality of his squad. Failing to replace Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the summer has landed a blow on Biancocelesti’s creativity, leading to a dismal scoring return. 

Amongst the sides sitting in the upper half of the table, only Torino’s 20 goals are worse than Lazio’s 24-goal tally, highlighting the significance of adding a new playmaker. According to The Sun, Sarri’s men have identified Sunderland’s rising star Jack Clarke as a genuine transfer target. 

Clarke isn’t a playmaker. However, as a versatile forward capable of covering a multitude of positions alongside the frontline, he could be a decent coup for Lazio. But the 20-year-old won’t come cheap if he does at all. The 23-year-old’s former club, Tottenham Hotspur, reportedly hold a sell-on clause.

It could affect Sunderland’s asking price. Yet, that has not deterred Lazio from tabling a £15 million bid for the Black Cats in-demand forward this weekend. Though they’ve yet to receive a response from the Championship outfit, there’s a feeling they’ll have to increase their offer to get a deal over the line. 

Lazio’s interest in Clarke has fuelled speculation over Felipe Anderson’s rumored switch to Juventus. The Brazilian’s contract at the Stadio Olimpico runs out at the end of the season, and he’s on the verge of cutting short his second stint at the club, with the Turin giants ready to pounce. 

Indeed, La Lazio Siamo Noi’s latest update insists Anderson has rebuffed a chance to commit to fresh terms in the capital. Aware of the situation, Juventus have established talks with the winger’s representatives to lay the groundwork for a potential summer move. On the other hand, Clarke is not the only option to fill his shoes at the Olimpico. 

As per Gianluca Di Marzio, Sarri could reunite with his ex-Juventus pupil Federico Bernardeschi, who’s eager to return to European football after a disappointing spell at Major League Soccer outfit Toronto FC. At 29, he’s still at his peak powers and could be a valuable addition to Lazio. 

Above all, he’s desperate to convince Luciano Spalletti to include him in his Italy squad for the upcoming European Championship 2024. He could join Lazio on a six-month loan to bolster his chances of going to Euro. Moreover, Bernardeschi is ready to take a pay cut to facilitate the deal, increasing the likelihood of a transfer. 

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