For a club like Lazio, that has built a team on a very strict budget, missing out on players is commonplace. The Biancoceleste have long been one of the more prudent clubs in Italian football. Owner Claudio Lotito has long run Lazio under a more sensible thinking, and has often found himself fighting against the fanbase – especially the ultras – over decisions made at the club. However, the loss of Simone Inzaghi in the summer led to a coaching change, and the relative coup of hiring ex-Napoli, Juventus, and Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri.
Seen as the ideal developer of players and the perfect fir for building an attack-minded Lazio team, Sarri was a moment of genuine excitement for all Lazio fans. However, that excitement has soon faded into frustration. A deeply inconsistent season so far has seen Lazio struggle to meet expectation, failing to make the progress expected. The January window was seen as a key time to make changes, with Sarri asking for additions in defence, midfield, and in attack.
Instead, the only arrival came in the shape of Jovane Cabral. The Cape Verde international arrives from Sporting Clube de Portugal on a loan deal with the opportunity to make it permanent. However, it was reported that Sarri and his coaching team knew nothing of the player and found themselves frantically watching video to see what kind of player they were being left with.
The fact that no arrivals came in at full-back or in midfield was seen as an aberration by the coach, who asked for much more. The fact that several squad players exited to make space for additional hires was further worsened by the lack of new blood arriving. Now, it sounds like Sarri is questioning his position at Lazio entirely.
Could Lazio repeat the Marcelo Bielsa incident?
Though Sarri and Bielsa are very much different people and coaches, they both have an odd history with Lazio. Sarri has at least managed the team in some games, and has even impressed at times with big wins against city rivals Roma. However, like Bielsa, he could walk away over the clubs mistakes in the transfer market.
Indeed, Bielsa walked away without managing so much as a single moment of a Lazio match. ‘El Loco’ took much of the summer to sign, and then abruptly left after a transfer dealing that had not worked out as intended. It left Lazio in a spin, and they lucked out with the hire of ex-club hero Inzaghi. Sari arrived as his eventual replacement when Inzaghi left for Inter.
However, it looks like another transfer blunder could be the reason why Lazio miss out on a top class coach once again. Signed until 2023, the talk was that Sarri was happy enough to do a deal to stick around until 2025. However, with this latest blunder, that might sour all talk of a renewal – and it could even see Sarri pack up and go before the summer even arrives.