Zaccagni to extend Lazio contract: How have Sarri and Immobile transformed the forward?

Mattia Zaccagni has emerged as a crucial part of Lazio's squad this season and it is largely thanks to Maurizio Sarri and Ciro Immobile. A new contract is in the works to reward his form.

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Mattia Zaccagni is having arguably his best season ever, and Lazio are looking to extend his contract for another two seasons.

The 27-year-old is thriving as a left-winger under Maurizio Sarri, and he has scored nine goals so far in the 2022/23 Serie A season, his highest tally yet in a league campaign. This also makes him the Italian with the most goals in the division along with Aquile teammate Ciro Immobile.

Zaccagni has played in a variety of roles throughout his career, but thanks to Sarri’s guidance and some advice from Immobile, the former Hellas Verona player is thriving as a wide forward in the 4-3-3 formation.

Mattias Zaccagni celebrates grabbing the winner for Lazio against AS Roma. [@OfficialSSLazio]

Zaccagni to remain at Lazio until 2027

After Argentinian forward Joaquin Correa was sold to Inter in the summer 2021, Lazio sporting director Igli Tare signed Zaccagni in August of that year on a loan deal with an obligation to be bought outright for €7 million, which was exercised at the end of the 2021/22 season.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 27-year-old will have his contract extended from the end of June 2025 to June 2027, and his wage will increase from €1.8 million per season to €3 million including bonuses.

Zaccagni displayed versatility in his rise up the Italian football pyramid

When Zaccagni started playing senior football for Bellaria Igea Marina in the 2012/13 Lega Pro (now Serie C) season, coach Marco Osio utilised him as a playmaker in the 4-3-3 formation.

He initially arrived at Hellas Verona in 2013, but spent loan spells at Venezia and Cittadella. While at Cittadella, coach Roberto Venturato got the Cesena native to play as a right central midfielder in the 4-3-1-2 formation.

When he returned to Hellas Verona in 2016, coach Fabio Pecchia would use Zaccagni as a left midfielder, but he also operated as a left-back in a Coppa Italia match against Bologna in December 2016.

Thanks to the arrival of Ivan Juric at Hellas Verona in the summer of 2019, the now Torino coach utilised Zaccagni as an attacking midfielder in the 3-4-2-1. Despite not being a prolific scorer, he still displayed the ability to get into scoring positions, and when he did score, it was usually a spectacular effort like his bicycle kick in a match against Spezia in 2020/21.

Sarri and Immobile aid in Zaccagni transformation

Tare apparently wanted the Cesena native when Simone Inzaghi was still coaching Lazio, but the arrival of Sarri did nothing to change those plans. The former Napoli and Juventus tactician saw him as a goalscoring winger from day one, and despite scoring just four goals in the 2021/22 Serie A season, Zaccagni is now fulfilling his scoring capabilities.

Sarri was confident that the 27-year-old could become a forward that can reach double figures for a league campaign, and he is now one goal away from doing so, which is something he has not done previously.

Although Immobile has been battling with injuries this season, he has passed on valuable scoring tips to the Cesena native in training and the former Hellas Verona midfielder has now become an important source of goals for the Biancocelesti.

Zaccagni’s scoring prowess has also elevated him to cult status on the blue side of Rome as he scored the solitary goal for Lazio in the recent Derby della Capitale.

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