At the moment, it seems that all the raw talent and ‘cool’ teams are only to be found in the Premier League, but you couldn’t be further from the truth.
For my taste, Serie A is one of the most underrated leagues in Europe, with wide open games, extremely talented young players (for whom the Premier League will be paying stratospheric sums in a few years) and breaking the stereotypes we may have in our heads about defensive football. Many are still mentally in the 90’s.
One of those teams that shines for its commitment to young talent is the newly promoted Frosinone. A completely revamped team, both on the pitch (a new team based on young players on loan) and on the bench: Di Francesco replaced 2006 World Cup hero Fabio Grosso.
In the midst of all this revolution, a name emerged that is proving to be the biggest breakthrough of this early Serie A season: Matias Soulé (2003). Juventus are already rubbing their hands with the possibility of the player returning next season (he joined La Vecchia Signora from Vélez in 2020 and this year is his first season on loan).
With Matias Soulé, we are talking about a talent who is already starting to generate conflict between Italy and Argentina, as he hasn’t been called up to the Albiceleste despite being born in Mar del Plata and being used to playing with the youth teams (he even played in the U-20 World Cup). The player has noble nationality and Italy would be very interested in bringing him into an Azzurri side in need of new stars. And the left-footed player is one of them.
We are talking about a winger with a silky left foot, who can play on the right flank to drive inside and set up his powerful shot or his final pass. At the age of 20, he is already the offensive leader of his team with six goals and one assist in his 11 Serie A appearances this season.
In addition, Matias Soulé also makes the team play, and we are talking about the player in the five big European leagues with the highest success rate in passes into space (83.3%), ahead of players who shine in this area such as Griezmann or Musiala.
He is an offensive generator who shines for his driving in the final third of the field (in the best 5% of Europe) and for his vision, but he also works defensively (among the best 10% of forwards in Europe in tackles or steals and in the best 1% in defensive actions that end in a goal for his team).
But Frosinone isn’t in mid-table and away from the relegation battle just because of the winger, but the gamble to bring in a lot of young talent on loan from the Italian giants is working.
From Juventus also came another Argentinian, Barrenechea (2001), and a Brazilian who arrived from Santos with huge hype, Kaio Jorge (2002).
The Argentinian midfielder has a great technical quality that allows him to shine in the production (90% in his short passes), but he is also a defensive pillar (among the 8% of midfielders in Europe that recovers the most and in the 10% that steals the most tackles), being also one of the big bets of the Turin team for the future and another of the surprises of Frosinone this season.
In defence, another loan signing Caleb Okoli (2001), who arrived from Atalanta, is also shining. The Italian, who also has Nigerian nationality, shines for his physical superiority that leads him to win most of his aerial duels (in the best 12% of central defenders in Europe in this category).
Okoli is just behind Turati (2001), a good goalkeeper who, according to advanced metrics, should have conceded two more goals, and who went viral for some images showing him shirtless with Inter’s ultras in the Coppa final against Roma.
The goalkeeper even admitted that he almost quit football when he was kicked out of Inter‘s youth academy and that his dream is to be captain of the team. Coincidentally, he conceded one of the best goals of the early season on his visit to the Giuseppe Meazza.
Another of the other big names to keep an eye on is a German player on loan from Bayern, Arijon Ibrahimović (2007). He isn’t related to the Swede, but the striker is making a good impression at this early stage and the Italians are already looking for a way to take ownership of the player, something that seems difficult, as he is one of the great promises of the team led by Tuchel.
The German has a knack for scoring: he scored 13 goals in 11 games for Bayern Munich’s youth team and currently has a ratio of a goal generated every 91 minutes (two goals and an assist in only three starts).
The youngsters are doing so well at Frosinone that even a player who seemed to have been sidelined by European football is slowly emerging: Reinier (2002). The Brazilian on loan from Real Madrid is getting minutes and leaving good sensations. Perhaps without the high expectations he generated after his arrival from Flamengo, he can evolve as a footballer.
Make a note of these names, especially those of Matias Soulé and Barrenechea, and try to watch as much as possible of Frosinone, because these players won’t be in the Italian team next year, but it does look like we will be enjoying them at the top European level for many years to come.
Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.
Main image: @Frosinone1928.