Palermo Starlets to Watch for the Future
Palermo have been known for scouting and developing young talent from different parts of the world for over a decade but the Sicilian club are starting to produce some of their own talented youngsters
After drawing 1-1 with Chievo in Serie A on Sunday, the Rosanero have been mathematically relegated from Serie A and they might place more emphasis on young talent while they are in Serie B.
Incoming president Paul Baccaglini has reserved praise for Palermo prodigies Simone Lo Faso and Giuseppe Pezzella and he intends to use the club academy as a foundation for future success.
“Lo Faso and Pezzella are two important elements,” he told Sky Sport Italia in March. “I have spoken with the directors of the youth sector and I understood that there is an interesting movement going on.
“From here we must start again because the youth sector will be one of the sectors from which Palermo will rebuild for the future.”
Both Lo Faso and Pezzella are 19 years old and have been displayed glimpses of potential throughout the 2016-17 season.
Lo Faso is forward with superb technical ability and La Gazzetta dello Sport has rated him as one of Italian football’s brightest young prospects. He has made eight Serie A appearances, predominantly as a substitute, and he has also scored four goals in nine matches in the Campionato Primavera.
Pezzella, on the other hand, plays his football in defence and has started nine of the 10 Serie A matches he has played this season, even forcing regular left-back Haitam Aleesami to sit on the bench.
Despite his young age, he has usually shown confidence when advancing from defence to assist his team in the attacking phase.
In goal, the choice could be between 22-year-old Andrea Fulignati and 19-year-old Fabrizio Alastra when picking a starting ‘keeper with a view to the future.
Fulignati spent last season on loan at Trapani but only played three matches as the Sicilian minnows reached the Serie B play-offs. In recent weeks though, he has taken the place of fellow starlet Josip Posavec and has started between the posts on six occasions.
Voted the best goalkeeper at the 2014 Viareggio Cup, Alastra was on loan at Lega Pro club Matera in the first half of the 2016-17 season and his performances resulted in another loan move in January, this time to Serie B team Benevento.
While the aforementioned Lo Faso has made some cameos for Palermo this season, his partner in attack at youth level is still trying to adapt to senior football at Serie B strugglers Ternana.
Twenty-one-year-old Antonino La Gumina has struggled to start in the Rossoverdi attack but he was a prolific scorer in the Palermo primavera squad, scoring 45 goals in just 59 games in all competitions including 30 goals in 42 league games.
The centre-forward was vital in helping the Rosanero reach the 2016 Viareggio Cup Final, which they lost 3-2 to Juventus. La Gumina scored nine goals in just seven games including two in the final and he won the Golden Boy award for being the player of the tournament.
Another attacking weapon that the Sicilian side could unleash is 20-year-old right-winger Accursio Bentivegna. Currently loan at Ascoli after spending the first half of the 2016-17 at his parent club, he has shrugged off the injuries he had earlier in the campaign and he has provided three assists 10 matches for Picchio in Serie B.
It may not be a guarantee that all these starlets will be granted opportunities but those who get the chance to play in 2017-18 could become new heroes for the Palermo supporters.