Cesena’s 20-year old Stefano Sensi, despite playing in Serie B, has caught the attention of some of Italy’s most prolific clubs this season. The midfielder is quickly becoming a name that fans of Italian football want to know
What you need to know
Full name: Stefano Sensi
Date of birth: 08.05.95
Current club: Cesena
Height: 1.68 m
National caps: Italy U-17 (1 cap), Italy U-20 (2 caps)
Who is Sensi?
A question on the minds of many it seems. Cesena’s Stefano Sensi has suddenly become a hot commodity across Italy as several of the largest clubs in Serie A are vying for this youngster’s signature.
Spending the last few seasons in Lega Pro with San Marino, Sensi has shown quite a bit behind the scenes that his ability is legitimate. A primavera player in the Cesena system, Sensi was loaned to San Marino for the past two seasons with the intent to fine tune his game and eventually, become a starter in Italy. In 2013/14, the 20-year old managed to feature in 26 league matches, scoring one goal, but it was his 14/15 campaign in which he really made that next step forward in his young career.
During the 14-15 campaign in Lega Pro, Sensi shined as he went on to corral 8 goals to go along with two assists in 33 total appearances. From this showing, it was clear that he could no longer be kept away from his parent club. This season, the midfielder has appeared in 12 of the club’s 13 league matches and has made an immediate impact in just three months.
As for country, Sensi has just 3 appearances to his name, with his most recent coming with the under-20 side led by Alberigo Evani. With his rapid development and performance, he should get a look from the under-21 side managed by Luigi Di Biagio.
Strengths and weaknesses
Stefano Sensi is an interesting player, for a few reasons. His size in the midfield plays in his favor. This small framed midfielder is sneaky quick, both with his foot speed and his movements while in possession. He doesn’t have off the charts skill, but what makes him unique are his slight movements and body feints which helps him create additional space for operation. At 1.68 metres, Sensi has drawn comparisons to ex-Serie B centrocampista Marco Verratti who flourished with Pescara. To some, the comparison isn’t far off.
Much like the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Sensi is a plus passer and has a knack for finding the ideal pass on the pitch, two qualities surely coveted by any midfield unit. He has been primarily deployed as a traditional central midfielder but if you observe his overall skill set, he could play behind the strikers or in front of the defense as a regista. The eight goal tally in 14-15 for San Marino gives you some indication that when given the chance, he seldom spoils a chance to get on the scoresheet, making him that much more of an asset.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the holes in his game with just a dozen matches in Serie B to his name. The only weakness (if you want to call it that) are that if he rises through Serie B and perhaps to Serie A, will he be able to translate his quality to a league seasoned with more intelligent tacticians? But concerns like these can be said about any prospect that hasn’t seen top-flight football so it’s an unfair statement to make. Regardless, what he provides in strengths far outweighs any minor concerns anyone may have.
2015/16 and beyond
Stefano Sensi has quickly turned heads around not just Italy, but Europe. In addition to Milan, Napoli and Juventus interest, Sensi also has suitors from England, with Chelsea reportedly targeting the 20-year old. According to Tuttomercatoweb (via Tom Olver of Metro), the Blues had representatives in attendance for Cesena’s match against Bari this past weekend. “The New Marco Verratti” is arguably the most standout player Serie B has to offer and it’ll be interesting to see where he winds up, either in January or this summer.
At the international level, Sensi is on his way and if it wasn’t for the depth Di Biagio has at his fingertips, he probably would have been given a call-up already. At age 20, the playmaker should find himself donning the kit of his country with the under-21 side soon enough.
Comparisons to Verratti. Links to European giants. It’s clear Sensi has IT and it’s only a matter of time until the rest of Europe becomes familiar with this Italian spark plug.
Stefano Sensi, a player part of a wave of young Italian super talents just ready to make a huge impact in football.