Serie B’s top scorer has become a man very much in vogue as some of Europe’s top clubs are said to be chasing him. Only a few short years ago however the Torino native was trudging his way through Italy’s fourth tier.
What You Need to Know
Full Name: Gianluca Lapadula
Date of Birth: February 7th 1990
Current Club: A.C. Milan
Height: 1.78 Meters
International Caps: N/A
Who is Gianluca Lapadula?
Simply put Lapadula is a man who scores goals, whenever he has been given consistent game time the 26-year-old from Turin has managed to find the back of the net. The catch however is that up until this season with Pescara in Serie B those goals have been scored at a very low level. Lapadula started his nomadic journey through football in the north east of Italy with the tiny club Treviso. From there he had short spells with Pro Vercelli and Ivera before being snatched up by Parma during the 2009/10 season. Amazingly despite being on the books of the Crociati for the guts of five years, right up until the end of last season, he would never make a first team appearance. Inevitably loan spells beckoned but they were far from productive. He joined Atletico Roma (On Loan) the following season but never made an appearance and by January he was recalled and sent back out on loan to Ravenna. This also proved a damp squid as he scored once in seven.
Proving that he was not yet up to the standard of Serie C1 the next season he was loaned out to San Marino in the old Serie C2. It was in the Principality that he would have the best season of his career to date scoring a magnificent 24 goals in 35 appearances. Those performances convinced Serie B side Cesena that he was worth a punt and they entered into a co-ownership deal with Parma. Nine games and no goals later however the Cesena adventure came to an end and that old familiar loan deal came back into play. He joined now Serie A side Frosinone who were then in Lega Pro. Again though Lapadula flattered to deceive failing to score in his six appearances. At the end of the season he returned to Parma with his career at a crossroads. It seemed to take a further turn for the worst when Parma sent him to their feeder club ND Gorica in Slovenia. Yet it was in the wilderness of the Slovenian top flight that things finally began to click for Gianluca as he banged home 11 in 28 appearances. Alongside him at Gorica was a certain Massimo Coda whose 18 goals that season would earn him a chance in the Parma first team the following year.
Lapaduala though would have to content himself with another loan spell this time with Teramo in Lega Pro. Lapaduala’s performances with the club, scoring 22 in 40 was key in getting them promoted to Serie B for the first time in their history. Over the summer however Teramo were implicated in a match-fixing scandal and denied the maiden campaign in the second tier. Reluctant to stay in the third tier another season Lapadula signed for Massimo Oddo’s Pescara after his contract with Parma was rescinded owing to the club’s bankruptcy. He now sits top of the Serie B scoring charts with 11 in 20 matches. Yet there is even a degree of luck to this, at the start of the season he was not necessarily considered the main man to lead the Delfini line. That honour fell to Andrea Cocco one of the league’s top scorers with Vicenza last season. An injury to Cocco earlier in the campaign however has presented Lapadula with a chance that so far he is taking with both hands.
On the International front he still remains a bit off Conte’s radar, however he does also qualify for Peru through his Mother and there has been recent mutterings of a potential call-up.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Lapadula has one key strength and it may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many strikers manage to make a living without being able to do it, the answer…. HE SCORES GOALS. 33 in the last two seasons and 11 already this campaign the man knows where the net is and for a striker once you can do that everything else just falls into place
The flip side to that however is that he has always done in at a lower level. The only season of top flight football he’s played has been in Slovenia hardly the best barometer to judge a player. At 25 he is only now getting a chance to show his stuff in Serie B, yes the likes of Sergio Floccari and even Luca Toni have been somewhat late bloomers in their careers but has Lapadula left it too late to make the leap.
2016 and Beyond
His performances this season with Pescara have a number of big name club hovering around him including the likes of Juventus and Liverpool. The Old Lady though seem intent on using him for bait in an attempt to sign Domenico Berardi. Finishing out the campaign with the Delfini would be far from the worst thing for the attacker to continue build confidence.
After that if Pescara don’t achieve promotion a move will be in the offering. However, at 25 years of age and completely unproven in Serie A it feels as if Lapadula may be reaching his level. Too good for Serie B yet not convincing enough for Serie A. To compare him to someone you would say he’s like Alberto Paloschi or Gianpaolo Pazzini always on the cusp of good things but never getting over the line. Another Eder he is not but that does not mean Lapadula could not do a job for some lower table Serie A side, for now though Juventus and Liverpool seem just that step to far. I would happily be proved wrong however.