Inter Milan: Espanyol Scouting Report for Nerazzurri Loanee Samuele Longo

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentNovember 27, 2012

Inter Milan: Espanyol Scouting Report for Nerazzurri Loanee Samuele Longo

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    Inter Milan loanee Samuele Longo is a regular starter for Espanyol in La Liga.

    That’s good news for Inter management because they wanted the 20-year-old centre forward to play regular top-flight football at the Barcelona-based club.

    The purpose of this article is to update Nerazzurri supporters on Longo’s progress. 

Getting to Know Samuele Longo

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    Samuele Longo, Italian Centre Forward, 6'1" (1.84 m), 172 lbs (78 kg), Age: 20 [1]

    Longo first entered the consciousness of casual Inter fans when he scored five goals as Inter Milan won the inaugural NextGen Series. 

    Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona and Ajax had technically superior youngsters and played a better brand of football than the Nerazzurri throughout the tournament. 

    In hindsight, Inter's real star wasn't Longo or Daniel Bessa.

    It was a guy that didn't score a goal, didn't provide an assist, didn't make a tackle or save a penalty—manager Andrea Stramaccioni, who motivated a modest bunch of Primavera players to overachieve when it mattered most [2]

    Longo continued to impress at Primavera level which was encapsulated with a hat trick against AC Milan during the Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti semi-final. 

    Two-time European Cup winning manager Arrigo Sacchi used Longo as an example to illustrate the culture in Italy, where veterans are preferred over youngsters—it's the opposite in the Bundesliga and Eredivisie (via Football Italia):

    In Italy, it is always the same story and the demand is on results, on the immediate—as a director or Coach you know that to lose two games you are liable, would you risk it?

    It is no coincidence that in our quest to get to the next European Under-21 Championships that we had five players from Pescara [3], because they have this year played at the top of their league throughout.

    And so, I recommend to plan long term, look for a fun game in which aspiring youngsters like Longo and others can come in. It would be much easier for them to express their qualities.

    If we were in another country, Longo would be playing first team football by now.

    He is a modern attacker, has technical qualities and he has the ability to combine these abilities to put himself at the availability of his team.

    He’s a professional guy too, which is another important aspect. He’s a little shy, but a safe prospect.

    Inter's decision to buy-out Longo's co-ownership rights from Genoa is a sign that Nerazzurri management believe the 20-year-old has the potential to be the club's future No. 9. 

    Here's a random fact: Longo's favourite player is Fernando Torres. Inter will be praying that Longo produces like the Liverpool Torres as opposed to the Chelsea Torres. 

    [1] Espanyol player profile.

    [2] Massimo Moratti decided to give the vastly inexperienced Stramaccioni a chance, after going through a string of reputable managers like Rafa Benítez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri.

    [3] A reference to then-Pescara manager Zdeněk Zeman's decision to use Italian youngsters (Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Marco Capuano, Marco Verratti and Simone Romagnoli) while the club chased promotion to Serie A.

Espanyol's Links to Italy

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    What do Samuele Longo, Coutinho and Antonio Pacheco have in common?

    They all were loaned out to Espanyol as Inter Milan players. The Barcelona club's relationship isn't just exclusive to Inter as they have a history of signing players from Serie A: 

    Florin Raducioiu from AC Milan, Pablo Osvaldo from Bologna, Iván Helguera from Roma, Savo MiloŠević from Parma on loan, Darío Silva from Cagliari, Alain Boghossian from Parma, Jesús Dátolo from Napoli and Mauro Navas from Udinese.

    Last season, then-Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino revived Coutinho's career by starting the Inter Milan loanee as a left attacking midfielder. 

    The Brazilian was finally given an extended run of games and his confidence grew to the point where he was pulling off trick after trick, which made his loan spell quite captivating to watch. 

    That would have swayed Inter in loaning Longo out to Espanyol as opposed to another Serie A club. 

    Not only is he away from the scrutiny of the Italian press but it enables Inter management to access Longo's psyche because he is facing a fight-or-flight response having been thrown into the deep end. 

Espanyol Scouting Report for Inter Milan Loanee Samuele Longo

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    Summary | Performance Grade: B

    The glass half-full perspective is that Samuele Longo is a starter. The glass half-empty view is that he is playing on an awful team that exploits all his flaws. 

    Wakaso is Espanyol's answer to Kevin-Prince Boateng. The amount of times Wakaso has taken a shot instead of threading a through ball to an unmarked Longo has cost the Italian at least two goals.

    Joan Verdú, Espanyol's best player, won't commit long-term. 

    The club's defending ranges from average to amateurish. 

    So, you shouldn't be shocked to learn that Espanyol are headed for relegation. 

    For someone, who is 6'1" tall, Longo isn't comfortable contesting headers, which is why he's been beaten in 24 of 33 aerial contests. 

    Longo tends to drift out of games to the extent that Espanyol seem like they're playing with 10 men. 

    His clumsiness is a factor in him giving away possession 5.8 times per game. He turns over the ball 40.6 percent of the time when he attempts to pass. 

    League Only Games Goals Shots Per Goal Shots Per Game  
    Longo  10 3 6.3 1.9  
    Ciro Immobile 14 4 8.5 2.4  
    Fabio Borini 5 - * 1.8  
    Mattia Destro 9 2 11 2.4  
    Stephan El Shaarawy 14 10 4.7 3.4  
    Lorenzo Insigne 14 3 10.7 2.3

    * Borini has taken nine shots. 

    Yet, he's doing quite well when you compare him to other young Italian strikers.

    You do have to take into consideration that Longo is living in a foreign country, he's on a bad team and his inexperience are reasons why he doesn't look like an Inter Milan No. 9 right now. 

    Prior to this season, Ádám Szalai looked like a mediocre forward, but he's now playing at an elite level for Mainz. 

    Didier Drogba was 25 years old when he finally earned recognition in Ligue 1. 

    Some players develop slower than others and Longo could be in that category. 

    The main objective of the loan deal is for Longo to start games week in, week out. He's already achieved that.

    Goals, assists and further accolades will be a bonus just like John Guidetti's loan spell at Feyenoord

    Comment below with your thoughts on Longo. 

    Please read Serie A's 5 Unsung Heroes

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