Over the last two weeks, a couple of teams have been linked with former Catania playmaker Francesco Lodi, currently at Genoa. The biggest club is Lazio, who are apparently big admirers of the 29-year-old.
The other side paired with Lodi are the Rossazzurri themselves. Many claim that he’s the reason for the team’s struggles this season. While he has been missed, and the player himself has expressed his love for the Sicilians, he’s not the difference maker that the Etnei are lacking.
That man is Alejandro Gomez, who was transferred to Metalist Kharkiv this past summer. He made over 100 appearances for Catania, and was one of the best players for the southerners during his tenure there.
Gomez scored eight goals along with seven assists in 2012/13, when the club broke their points record. He was integral to Pablo Barrientos’ performances as well as striker Gonzalo Bergessio.
Bergessio bagged 13 goals last season, but Gomez’s creativity wasn’t the only important aspect. Alongside the Argentinean forward and Bergessio, Catania’s attack was unstoppable, mainly because both wingers are difficult to stop.
Both Gomez and Barrientos have a lot of technique and flair, meaning it’s nearly impossible to stop either of them, defenders don’t know what to expect with both of them starting. However, with just Barrientos in the lineup, the back lines simply key in on him and that means Bergessio is isolated.
It’s not like Catania haven’t tried to find a replacement. Lucas Castro, who was already in the squad, has earned some appearances recently due to injury. However, he has proved to be a disappointment on either flank.
Sebastian Leto was signed on a free in the summer to provide something dangerous on the left. Sadly, he’s been injured for most of the campaign, much like half of the squad. In the matches he’s started in, he’s done enough to prove that he could be the right replacement for Papu.
Lodi is a miss for the team, but his absence isn’t totally missed, as the attackers are still receiving the ball in dangerous areas. Plus, defensively, the midfielder wasn’t the strongest. He was like an engine in midfield, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis has provided more stability at the back, with Jaroslav Plasil taking over the offensive duties.
At the end of the day, both departures have hurt Catania. Sadly, unless they return, they’ll have to move on without them. Injuries have been a major issue for the team, and with new coach Luigi De Canio trying to implement his new system, it’s difficult when his normal starters aren’t around.
For that reason, fans should stop whining about the past, because the team are a selling club. They don’t have a lot of funds to find adequate replacements, which hurts them in the short term. However, it’s amazing what wins can do to the club and fan’s morale. The Rossazzurri are bottom of Serie A at the moment, which is far from where they expected to be at this point in the 2013/14 season.