Manuel Veth –
It has been a good few days financially for Hertha Berlin. The club signed a deal worth up to €225 million with investor Lars Windhorst on June 27; then the club sold wing-back Valentino Lazaro in a deal that could be worth up to €25 million (including bonuses) to Italian side Inter Milan on Monday.
The transfer makes the 24-year-old winger the second most expensive Austrian in history after Marko Arnautović — he joined West Ham United from Stoke City for €27.9 million. Furthermore, it is a good piece of business for Hertha, who signed Lazaro for €7 million, plus bonuses and sell-on clause, from Red Bull Salzburg two years ago.
Both those deals will allow Hertha Berlin some significant room to manoeuvre on the transfer market this summer despite missing out on international football for the second season in a row. Meanwhile, for Valentino Lazaro, it is a dream come true, like the sort of win you receive after betting on the right outcome with your exclusive gentingbet welcome bonus.
Valentino Lazaro – Making the next step
“When you receive such an offer than it would be negligent not to consider the offer,” new Hertha Berlin head coach Ante Covic said to Salzburg 24. Born in Graz, the wing-back supported AC Milan when he was a kid. Nonetheless, when the offer arrived from Milan’s opponent, Inter Lazaro wanted to take the opportunity and move to a Champions League club.
“The first impression is fantastic, I am very happy to be here,” Valentino Lazaro said to Inter Milan’s club TV. “I know that it’s a tough league, but I’m happy to start on this adventure and to be at a massive club like this one. I’ve always followed Serie A since I was small so I’m excited to be here. I’m happy to put myself to the test, learn new things and develop as a player. I can’t wait to start,” he added.
For Hertha, the wing-back will leave a big hole on the right wing. Playing 31 Bundesliga games, the 24-year-old managed three goals and seven assists last season. Sometimes falsely compared with his Austrian countryman David Alaba, Lazaro is a dynamic wing-back, who lacks the general tactical sense that allows Alaba to play in central midfield.
Dynamic on the wing, Valentino Lazaro is a bit of hybrid between a wing-back and a winger. In fact, his best position did not even exist at times at Hertha where former head coach Pal Dardai often played him as a right-back, even though he is much more at home further up the field and would be best suited for a 3-5-2 formation similar to what Eintracht Frankfurt used under Austrian head coach Adi Hütter at times last season.
Valentino Lazaro – What can he add to Inter Milan?
A switch further up the field seems to be in the cards for Valentino Lazaro under new Inter head coach Antonio Conte. “I spoke with him recently, about ten days ago,” said Valentino Lazaro about his new coach. “He told me exactly what expects to see from me, and this was one of my reasons for coming here. I think that I can learn a lot from him, and as I’ve said, I’ll do everything I can to repay the faith shown in me. I hope that I can do great things, there’s not long to go now until pre-season and I can’t wait,” Lazaro added.
Under Conte, Lazaro is expected to be playing the right part in the former Italy head coach’s preferred 3-5-2 formation. Given his athleticism, that would be an ideal scenario for the Austrian dynamo. But what can the Austrian national team player add to Inter Milan’s squad?
Neither a pure defensive player nor an attacking player Valentino Lazaro does not stick out in either category. With 6.67 successful defensive actions per 90 minutes, he ranks 11th among current Inter Milan players. Meanwhile, he is 12th with 3.53 successful attacking actions per 90 minutes.
There are a few categories in which Valentino Lazaro, however, ranks high among current Inter players. With 9.45 expected Assists per 90 minutes, he is second only to attacking winger Ivan Perišić (9.77) in that category. The numbers underline that Valentino Lazaro, despite being often deployed there, is not well suited to play in the right-back position. Hence, a move further up the field under a well-known tactician like Antonio Conte will suit the 24-year-old, who has all the tools to become a significant contributor in Inter Milan’s new 3-5-2 setup.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.