Atalanta is experiencing a fairytale season in its history, but that does not guarantee its retention of the pillars, especially the case of two Eastern European stars: Josip Ilicic and Mario Pasalic.
Ilicic is still bobbing …Atalanta
Ilicic is having the best season of his career at the age of … 32. But the style of the Slovenian midfielder is not necessarily 100% positive for Atalanta. Ilicic was only a step away from Napoli, and this southern Italian team has yet to give up in an attempt to entice this “Maradona of Slovenia”. Despite being 32 years old, Ilicic has a low transfer fee, which can be useful in the short term.
Atalanta is asking to recruit Cengiz Under, who is considered “Turkey Messi” but for more than 1 year has had many performance problems in Rome, especially after coach Eusebio Di Francesco left. Atalanta has offered 15 million euros and another player for Under’s signature, the Roma side seized the opportunity to demand the services of Ilicic, the player the Wolves have pursued for several years.
It is not clear what Atalanta and Ilicic personally mean in the future of the Slovenian star. However, Atalanta is always very excited about young potential players to exploit, so Under is not a bad choice for the Bergamo team. Recently, between Rome and Atalanta also have a good relationship at the leadership, when the two teams have made many transfers such as Bryan Cristante, Gianluca Mancini, Roger Ibanez. In the summer of 2019, Roma bought Leonardo Spinazzola from Juve, but the full-back also grew up while on loan to Atalanta.
I have been in Italy for 10 years, but Ilicic is only around the traditional average teams like Palermo, Fiorentina and Atalanta. At 32, Ilicic does not have many opportunities to experience in more ambitious teams like Roma or Napoli, not excluding the possibility that Ilicic will sacrifice loyalty with Atalanta …
It is not easy to keep Pasalic – Atalanta
Pasalic is only a surplus at Chelsea, but for over a year has changed in Atalanta, high value on the transfer market. Pasalic was originally a midfielder to clean up in the middle but has evolved into a technologically rich midfielder who has sophisticated handling, sometimes creating a super product. In the Champions League 2019/20, Pasalic scored 2 very important goals in the second round stage (before Man City and Shakhtar Donetsk) helped Atalanta reach the round of 1/8.
Despite the increase in Pasalic’s price, Atalanta only had to pay Chelsea 15 million euros to buy the Croatian midfielder, which was the terms of the loan contract. However, this supplementary term expires on June 30, when the loan terminates. Because the Covid-19 epidemic turned upside down the entire football schedule in the world, the terms of buying Pasalic at a preferential price of 15 million euros were not certain to exist when the season ended.
Atalanta’s strengthened procurement depends in no small part on the overall record of the season, both in Serie A and in the Champions League. In Serie A, Atalanta is ranked fourth and six points behind (Roma) until the start of the football season. In the Champions League, the Lombardy team reached the quarter-finals.
However, how Atalanta will play after a long period of time to rest at the right time when energy is a big question mark, especially when the city of Bergamo has been experiencing a funeral pandemic!
38% of goals are from Eastern European players
Ilicic scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, Pasalic scored 7 goals. Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovski also owned 5 celebrations. As such, Eastern European players have scored 33 goals in official matches, accounting for approximately 38% of Atalanta’s total goals in the 2019/20 season. This is a very respectable number because the task of scoring is mainly in the hands of two Colombian strikers, Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel.
2 – Pasalic and Ilicic were the last two Atalanta players to return to training after they returned to Italy from their home country and tested negative for the pandemic.