At 25-years-old, Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne is currently enjoying his best spell with regards to goals and assists.
The diminutive forward, who can also operate as an attacking midfielder or a second striker if required, has continued improving in recent seasons and is proving a key cog in Napoli’s team and has been linked with Arsenal for a few years now.
In terms of his strengths, Insigne’s technique and agility are impressive.
Despite a small frame, he is able to hold onto possession well and create chances for team-mates in space across the pitch. Quick feet and an equally sharp mind mean he’s a nightmare for defenders to handle, not least when counter-attacking with speed in the final third.
Strikes against the likes of Fiorentina and Sassuolo this term are just a few prime examples of what he can do if you offer him too much space and allow him to cut inside. Flair and composure are two things he possesses when running forward in a one-on-one against opposition fullbacks and it’s eyecatching to watch him effortlessly glide past players on a regular basis.
His spatial awareness and passing range are also both key components to his game. Knowing where team-mates are going to run seconds before they’ve raced forward means he’s always a step ahead of defenders as they frantically try to press him into making a mistake.
Subtle changes to his game with time have seen him pick up the ball in deeper areas and run forward or look for a probing pass to unlock the defence – both of which have proven beneficial for Napoli’s attackers.
Despite his strengths, Insigne himself knows that he must continue improving.
His inability to clinically finish golden opportunities have limited him to 16 goals and eight further in the Serie A this season, with eight of those goals coming since mid-March (18 goals, 11 assists in all competitions).
He regularly takes between three and four shots per game so although distance and difficulty are not taken into account here, it’s clear that he’s got to make his decisions wisely.
It’s not all about goals but overall importance to the side too.
In previous years, Insigne had a tendency to almost cruise through matches when out of possession.
Defensively, he doesn’t do enough to support his fullback. This is often a criticism of many top wingers, mainly as they believe they can do enough in the final third to cancel out their defensive responsibilities.
Insigne is an important player within the current Napoli set-up, but it’s unlikely he’ll manage to get away with limited defensive contribution at other top European clubs given supporters’ craving for work ethic.
Given his ability, he’ll undoubtedly want more. He already beat a personal record of 22 goal contributions last season and will not be oblivious to reports linking him away from Napoli.
If he’s able to prove his quality on a weekly basis in the same manner that Higuaín did, it’s plausible that Maurizio Sarri’s side could become genuine title contenders.
If not, he’ll have a whole host of suitors interested in his services as scouts across Europe eagerly watch him progress.