2. Giovanni Simeone (Joined Hellas Verona from Cagliari – loan)
Giovanni, regarded for so long merely as the son of Diego, El Cholo, is starting to forge his own legacy in Serie A.
Diego Simeone was a Calcio star in his playing days before he evolved into one of Europe’s most venerated managers. He spent two years at Inter, winning the UEFA Cup, before claiming the Scudetto during a four-year stint with Lazio.
His son, Gio, had mammoth potential and his Calcio career began brilliantly with Genoa and Fiorentina. In his first two seasons, striker Simeone scored 26 times before scoring just six in 2018/19. He moved on to Cagliari, where he began brightly once more, but in 2020/21 he scored just six times again. Simeone’s career was shuddering to a halt before a loan move to Hellas Verona lit the ignition switch.
The Argentine’s 2021/22 season up to this point has been majestic. Following the arrival of Igor Tudor as manager on Matchday 4, Simeone has scored 12 times in Serie A, adding three assists. His standout display came against Lazio where he struck four times, but he’s proved that stunning showing to be no flash in the pan. The forward has also scored twice against Juventus, while Napoli and Atalanta have also felt his wrath his term.
Simeone’s been relentless thus far, with the inherent resolve passed down from his father manifesting wonderfully for Tudor’s Verona. He’s a monster in the pressing game, a willing defender, and Tudor’s high-octane, aggressive approach has brought the very best out of him.
Continues onto the next slide…
1. Hakan Calhanoglu (Joined Inter Milan from AC Milan – free transfer)
Nobody expected that level of performance from Hakan Calhanoglu. Nobody. I think he even surprised himself!
For four years, AC Milan supporters were subject to flashes of brilliance from the maverick Turk. They hadn’t seen the midfielder produce such a sustained period of supremacy as he did in the first half of the 2021/22 campaign.
Due to the traumatic events at Euros – no, I’m not talking about Turkey’s campaign, I’m alluding to Christian Eriksen’s near-death – Calhanoglu essentially became a replacement for the Dane having initially arrived to bolster a superb title-winning midfield. Eriksen played a disciplined but key role for Antonio Conte down the stretch last season, and it would take some doing to fill his boots.
But Calhanolgu has filled ’em, alright. He’s added another dimension to the Nerazzurri, and the numbers he’s putting up are remarkable. The Turkish playmaker joint-leads the league in assists (seven), tops the charts in goal-creating actions per 90 minutes (0.94), ranks second in shot-creating actions per 90 (5.97), while his six goals lead all midfielders (I’m not regarding Mario Pasalic as a midfielder considering his role for Atalanta).
In short, Calhanoglu has been a creative juggernaut since he crossed the Milanese border in the summer. He’s evolved into a high-volume, high-production performer at Inter, and he ended 2021 arguably as Europe’s most in-form midfielder.
The Turkish star is without question Serie A’s signing of the season so far, and a genuine candidate in early MVP discussions.