Welcome, Benvenuto, Willkommen to the first instalment of the An Idiot Abroad series.
I have just been down to the reception at the Stadio Alberto Braglia to welcome my righthand man to the club!!!!!
That’s right Steeeeeeeeeeeveeee! Steve Holland. Steeeeeeeeeeeeveee comes in after spending the last five years as England’s number two. He will continue the role for Sean Dyche and England but will provide a hands on approach to the tactical side of things for me at Modena. Steve is eleven years my senior and will look to provide me guidance like he did when I was starting out in the game. Steve is also from Derbyshire. So the two of us also have that in common.
With many of the staff still present from the previous two managers at the club who know the club, league and playing staff like the back of their hands. I will look to maintain many if not all for the time being.
Both Steve and I will have Paul McGuinness on hand to help with the Anglo-Italian differences in language in the interim months of our tenure.
Along with Steve and Paul, I have Filippo Galli as HOYD, Massimiliano Scaglia as Chief Scout and Riccardo Manno as Chief data Analyst. Fingers crossed these boys can work well together and help develop players from within the club and find good youth players from around the globe.
“Looking at the philosophies the club have set me I think they have been watching the World Cup and in particular Gareth Southgate’s England! – Play possession based football and make the most of set pieces! I’m going to have to set up a Love Train just to keep the chairman happy!” – Note Miguel Quaresma has left the club for Steve Holland to take up the number 2 position.
The opening moments of the being in Modena for us will be about assessing the playing staff from the 1st team to the under 18’s. 41 players from the three bases appear good enough to play apart of the first team. (Before any other transfers). The below bar chart shows we only have two players deemed good enough for each of the respective positions Goalkeeper, Right Back and Left Back.
The options available for Goalkeeper are Jonathan Lopez, a 23 year old Argentine who was brought to the club from Lanus for £3m in August 2020. “J.Lo” was number one between the sticks for Franco Baresi last season, He played 38 games across all competitions conceding 40 goals and keeping 18 clean sheets. J.Lo takes up a non-EU slot. J.Lo is described as being an ever improving modern goalkeeper, who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, and has the ability to start attacks with his long kicking and accurate passing. He could still improve on the mental aspects of his game but has time on his side to become a legend of the game.
Michel Battista, is a 17 year old from the Modenese academy, signed for the under 18’s in 2019, he is yet to make his debut for the first team. Michel was an integral part to the Under 20’s success in the U20 division 1 during the 2020/21 campaign. The youth coaches have been raving about Michel since he broke through, time will tell whether he can become good enough for the first team.
So looking at our goalkeeping situation we should certainly look for another goalkeeper, ideally to bridge the gap in quality between J.lo and Michel. And I may even consider an old head to lend support to the green hands of Michel.
Right Back – “behind everyone in the team photo!”
Federico Mattiello, our left footed right back. Feder is 25 years old and came from Atalanta for £1m in 2019/20. Considered to be more of an inverted wingback than a conventional full back, due to being cack-footed. He is know for his pace in the recovery from attacking phases back to defence. Is seen as a very determined personality and a highly influential person in the locker room. He is close to his full potential but could still work on his natural fitness levels and leadership skills.
Pio Schiavi, joined Modena in their inaugural season back in 2017/18 on loan from Napoli. He then got snapped up by Hernan Crespo due to Pio still being on a youth contract. During his stop start career at Modena. Pio has gone from being the potential future of Modena to the forgotten man due to numerous loans to teams in Serie B. Pio’s slow development is the main reason behind the lack of confidence in his ability. The current season is considered the make or break moment of whether Pio can support the first team in Serie A or whether he’ll be sent back out on loan or sold. The summer is young and a move back to Napoli is thought to be on the cards.
There are also three right backs in the under 20’s that do not look good enough for Serie B never mind for Modena. There is one 16 yr old that we will keep a closer eye one. So the general thought for the right back position is one that any offers for Pio unless proven other wise in pre-season friendlies should be considered, and any replacement should be better to offer healthy competition against Feder for the number one RB slot.
*A key side note to this is that who ever comes in will need to be versatile to be able to play at RWB as well as RB.
Left Back – “In the changing room”
Giuseppe Pezzella, came to the club in 2018/19 on loan from Udinese, he joined permanently in the summer of 2019 for an undisclosed fee. “Pez” has been a rock at the left hand side of the back four since his arrival. He is a team leader in the locker room despite not having the strongest attributes for leadership. He has held the left back role down since joining the club and could hold it for years to come with some steady improvements or guidance.
Giacomo Caiazzio, The starlet from the 2018/19 batch of youngsters. Has been developing in the under 18’s and 20’s for the last two and a half seasons. Gia has only played one first team game back when he broke into the under 18 squad. Gia has the opportunity to impress in the summer to stop Steve and I from searching for a good back up to Pez. Gia has the base for great improvements if exposed to the first team correctly.
Plan of action
We need to get on it and a find suitable player for each of the positions we have deemed short of quality.
I’ll update once we have either identified or sourced the players we need to help the squad for the upcoming season.