Napoli is currently in the midst of one of its busiest off-seasons in recent memory. From the large amount of activity in the mercato that we’re all unaccustomed to, to the unveiling of our brand new, and in my opinion, beautiful new kits, this summer has been anything but a boring summer for Napoli fans.
Fortunately, there haven’t been many negatives this summer apart from the departure of Jorginho, which has been mitigated by the arrivals of Fabian Ruiz and Simone Verdi. However, the impact Jorginho had as our ‘regista’ is going to be hard to replace. New signing Ruiz is looking to be the frontrunner to pick up where Jorgi left off (and so far he’s not doing too bad), however, it’s rumored that Ancelotti wants Hamsik to adapt to that role to fill in that hole as well. It’s an interesting idea, and one that could rejuvenate Il Capitano. Here’s how.
It Takes Off the Attacking Load
Despite becoming Napoli’s top goal scorer of all time, surpassing the legendary Diego Maradona, last season was one to forget for Marek. It was apparent that Hamsik had lost a lot of his attacking presence, and over the course of 32 games, he only scored seven goals and had a sole assist, a far cry from his 12 goals and 10 assists during the 2016/17 season. Additionally, he saw a drop off in key passes and dribbles attempted/completed. If you couple this with the additions of Simone Verdi and Fabian Ruiz, it doesn’t look likely that Hamsik will have the opportunity to find his attacking form. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This past season Hamsik often dropped back to receive the ball from the defensive line. In doing so he showcased his passing range (which is often forgotten about) as he was able to see the runs being made into the attacking third and play his teammates into space.
Dropping back and acting as a deep-lying playmaker will allow him to dictate the tempo of the match, while also freeing up the opportunity for players like Zielinski and Rog to establish themselves as key players in Napoli’s attack.
It Allows Him to Perform At a Higher Level
Sarri’s over-reliance on Hamsik played a key role in Marek’s form last season. While Hamsik was substituted often, there were times where it was obvious that fatigue had gotten the best of him. Something as simple as a 2-3 game stint in the middle of his slump could’ve re-energized him. Hamsik’s heavy legs showed as he was sloppy in the final third and was prone to errors multiple times throughout the season.
Moving deeper into the midfield gives Marek a chance to conserve his energy and reduce the number of his mistakes. Also, the possibility of rotating Amadou Diawara with Hamsik could ensure that whenever we see Il Capitano on the pitch, we know he’s fresh.
It Makes Him More Dangerous
With Jorginho we had a player who made the game run through him, orchestrating every attacking sequence. Be that as it may, he didn’t score. Jorginho wasn’t the type of player to go forward and get into scoring positions or create chances for himself, which our captain is.
Adopting this regista role allows Il Capitano to do two things. First, it allows him to bring more creativity to the middle of the park. Whether it’s skipping past a couple defenders to open up space to find a teammate up-field, or providing that extra attacking outlet when needed, Marek brings that to the table. Second, it allows him to be more efficient in his play. He wouldn’t be making those forward bursting runs we’re accustomed to seeing as often, but it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t make them at all. Hamsik would be able to pick his moments and execute them more often.
Marek Hamsik is in dire need of a revival, so let’s hope that this proposed change is made by Ancelotti to give Marek the ability to give his best for Napoli once again.