Atalanta Defender Is A Future Star

Atalanta Defender Is A Future Star

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Italy and world-class defenders. It is a story as old as the game of football itself. And with good reason: the four-time World Cup-winning nation has produced some of the best backline players ever. Giorgio Scalvini of Atalanta is just the latest proof of the decades-old tradition.

Playing for Le Dea Scalvini has forged his reputation as one of the best defenders in Serie A. It is a remarkable achievement for a player in just 20 years. And as expected, his rise has been noticed by top clubs across Europe who are interested in securing his services.

Scalvini’s rise also has come when the Italian national football team need new players, especially after their inability to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

So, who is Giorgio Scalvini, and how good is he?

Giorgio Scalvini profile 

Giorgio Scalvini was born on December 11, 2003, in Chiari commune, Lombardy province. Like many other players his age, the defender started his journey at a local club, Palazzolo. However, his career only took off when he was finally accepted into Brescia.

This was the first major move in his career, as Brescia gave him a great youth system that allowed his talent to blossom—playing for Brescia also put him on the radar of the top clubs across Italy.

And in two years, he joined Atalanta in 2015. Scalvini joined Atalanta when the club, under the charismatic President Antonio Percassi, was looking to build a team that could challenge the top teams in the nation.

In fact, one year after his joining, the club finished fourth in the Serie A to earn a place in the Europa League, and two years later, they finished third (their best-ever season in history) to earn a Champions League place.

Scalvini, at the same time, was progressing at a rapid rate as he excelled in any age group that he played. His best moment, though, came in 2020 when he won the Coppa Italia as a part of the club’s under-19 team.

This performance finally got him his first call-up to the senior side, though he didn’t get any minutes on the pitch. However, at just 16 years of age, the defender had managed to break into the senior side, and it was only a short time before he was handed his debut in the 2020-21 season.

Giorgio Scalvini stats 

By the end of the 2020-21 season, it was clear that Scalvini was too good for the youth teams. However, considering his young age, manager Gian Piero Gasperini gave him limited minutes across the season. He ended the season with 18 appearances and also got his first senior team goal against Hella Verona.

However, the first time he came to the fore was the 2022-23 season, where he made the fifth-most interceptions in the league. His contribution was the major reason Atalanta, as a team, also made the most interceptions (421) in the entire league.

This season, though, he has truly announced himself as becoming one of the best centre-backs in the league. He leads the league with 44 interceptions but is also ranked by value as the second-best player on the Defensive Aero metric, which measures a player’s aerial prowess while defending the ball. Another proof of Scalvini’s aerial dominance is the 69 duels he has won, the fourth-most for a player in the league.

His defensive stats have improved compared to last season, which is normal for any player who is progressing at a rapid pace. However, an interesting thing comes to notice when examining Atalanta’s stats. Scalvini, who has been a defensive monster, has also made great strides in the offensive metrics. He is ranked as the fourth-best player on the Expected Threat (xT) metric. What makes this more impressive is that he is among the top five players in the team on both xT from passes and carries.

He also has made the third-most counter pressing actions. The improvement in the attacking stats is a major weapon in his arsenal as it will help him to become a more well-versed and all-rounded defender, a must in modern football.

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Giorgio Scalvini style of play 

Giorgio Scalvini, in the last few seasons, has been a typical Italian defender who is supreme but rarely ventures forward. However, this has changed this season, with Scalvini being more adventurous. All this is also down to Gasperini’s tactics which is the most attacking in the Italian league.

His heatmap this season also shows him crossing the halfway line more and creating overloads on the opposition in partnership with Emil Holm. What works in Scalvini’s favour is his calmness on the ball. The defender is equally adept at passing and carrying the ball, making them one of the best high-press-resistant defenders in Serie A.

So, in retrospect, he is a highly capable defender on the ball, and when he loses the ball, he is one of the best defenders in winning it back.

Giorgio Scalvini potential 

For a player like Giorgio Scalvini, the main challenge now is to become consistent on a weekly basis. He already has all the attributes to become a world-class player, but to reach there, he has to take the next step: develop the mindset. Football is played with both body and mind. Scalvini has mastered the former but now needs to master the latter.

Scalvini’s rise has also started to attract the interest of clubs from both in and outside Italy. The club leading the way is Manchester United, who desperately need a long-term position at the heart of their defence.

Atalanta have demanded a fee in excess of £50 million, which, considering his talent and the highly inflated market, is like a steal. Scalvini’s primary focus is now to ensure his team finishes the season on a high and ensure he gets his dream move in the summer.

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