It is not often these days that you see club making history through a player’s nationality. The amount of transfers these days and the extreme movement has permeated all across the footballing pyramid
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However, some pockets of European football are still untouched by a few traits. One of them changed when Ajax signed Lorenzo Lucca on loan from Serie B side Pisa. What is so extraordinary about that?
Well, Lucca is set to be the first-ever Italian to play for the Dutch powerhouse. It is correct. Ajax have never had an Italian player, and the maiden one comes from the second-division in Italy. So, what is it about Lorenzo Lucca that Ajax have targeted him in 2022?
The next great Luc(c)a
Lorenzo Lucca is a 21-year-old centre-forward who has never played a top-flight match. Ajax are betting big on the Italy U21 international and they have good reason to. Lucca has always been a prolific goal scorer in the youth levels.
He is a product of the Torino youth academy making his senior debut in the sixth-division as a 16-year-old in 2016. Lucca joined Vicenza in 2017, making his Serie C debut in 2018.
However, it was with the youth team at Brescia that Lucca really broke out. A run of top-notch scoring saw him seal a move to Palermo in January 2020.
In Serie B, Pisa are top of the table with 19 points.
Stealing the headlines up front is a 21 year old striker named Lorenzo Lucca, who has drawn comparisons to Luca Toni, has scored 6 goals in 7 matches and has been now linked to numerous Serie A sides. 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/OYaEog2IzA
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) October 2, 2021
After an incredible 2020-21 season which saw him draw comparisons with Luca Toni, the young striker joined Pisa in Serie B. There is certainly no doubting the Lorenzo Lucca hype train at the moment.
The rise from Serie C to the Italy youth teams has been deserved. Lucca is a danger from all over the box, alongside driving at pace with the ball.
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Moreover, he has developed a good enough physicality to hold defenders off in attacking situations. Lucca is in a perfect environment to continue his development over the coming season.
Lorenzo Lucca stats
Critics have been quick to jump on the drought bandwagon for 2021-22. Indeed, Lucca scored six goals and four assists, with the last strike coming back in October 2021. However, only looking at those two parameters is simplifying things too much.
Lucca has been a proven goal scorer ever since breaking out at Torino. He netted 16 goals in 18 games with Brescia’s youth team during 2018-19. However, the campaign that really got people talking was the 2020-21 one. Lucca, now with Palermo in Serie C, scored 13 times in 27 league matches.
2 – Since Opta collects this data (2006-07), Lorenzo Lucca is the second-youngest player to score two goals after coming on as a sub in the Italian Serie B (2 goals as a substitute against Alessandria in August 2021). Pinch-hitter. pic.twitter.com/zpTb0TAFk7
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 29, 2022
The chants of “Luccatoni” grew louder, as the player started hitting peak form. A step-up to Serie B followed, and Lucca was on a hot streak to begin the season with. As mentioned above, he did go quiet towards the second half of the campaign, but he was still an efficient player on the ball.
Lucca took 2.46 shots per 90, the fourth-most in the team. 20 out of his 48 total shots were on-target, meaning a 41.7% accuracy, which is not bad for a striker playing for the first time in a league.
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Ajax have always been a very fluent team when it comes to launching attacks and scoring goals. Moreover, the fact that Lucca will be starting with the slightly less competitive Eredivisie will be to his advantage as well. The Dutch giants never do anything without thinking it through, and their faith in Lucca looks well-placed.
Lorenzo Lucca scout report
As is the case with every young striker, the issue of temperament crops up often. Lorenzo Lucca was sent off twice in 2021-22. One was a direct red card while the other was an accumulation of two yellow cards.
Therefore, it is certainly not a great look on a player trying to make his name in Europe. Lucca knows he cannot afford to keep making these mistakes in the top-flight and the intercontinental competitions.
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However, there are a lot of qualities to love about Lucca as well. He moves very well in between the channels and is not afraid to taking on shots from long-range. Furthermore, Lucca makes great use of his 6’7″ frame to win aerial duels easily.
Lucca will travel to Amsterdam next week to undergo medical tests – and will become Ajax’ first Italian player ever. pic.twitter.com/zjmaLLSdpX
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 29, 2022
The lankiness of his frame does not hinder in his quick movement, making him an easy target for the midfield. Lucca has also done well with the Italy U21s, scoring twice in five appearances.
While he may not be of too much use defensively, Lucca can definitely break out into a double-digits scorer with Ajax.
Worth the money?
Ajax have brought Lucca on board for a €1m loan fee, which includes a €10m buy option. Therefore, there is definitely optimism surrounding the future. Ajax needed a striker after selling Sebastien Haller, and are also eyeing Brian Brobbey.
It is unlikely that Lucca will become an immediate starter. However, he will certainly get more than his fair share of chances as he plays with one of the most talented clubs in Europe.
Ajax are no strangers to turning young starlets into world-beaters. However, Lucca has to keep working hard and show the continent how well he could mature. And who knows, he might even break into the senior Italy team soon.