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Why Lazio management are buzzing over Aussie whizkid Chris Ikonomidis

Christopher Ikonomidis is continuing to make massive strides forward in Italy.

The 19-year old attacking midfielder has been in stellar form in recent times for Lazio's Primavera (U19) side which has seen him become the subject of interest from a number of Serie B and Lega Pro (third division) clubs.

Sydney-born Ikonomidis, who is an Australia U20 & U23 international, is contracted with Lazio until June 30, 2016 and according to his agent, he will remain in Rome in a bid to further his development with the Biancoceleste.

Of the crafty Ikonomidis, who possesses a sublime right foot, agent Ulisse Savini told Lalaziosiamonoi.it that his client would decline any offers from lower division clubs so he can carry on developing under ex-Lazio striker Simone Inzaghi.

"The future is around the corner, you have to understand that Ikonomidis is better to stay at Lazio, in the style of Keita (Balde Diao), or go down to the bones in the lower division, in the style of (Danilo) Cataldi (who spent time with Crotone)," said Savini.

"Chris had requests, already since last summer. Clubs in the Pro League and Serie B, for example, have come forward.

"Lanciano and Carpi (are interested), I have also proposed to Bologna and Crotone.

"However, in great harmony with Lazio, we decided not to send him out on loan, to let him finish ripening in Biancoceleste because he needs it.

"Then we will see in January, but I do not think the guy starts. Also because he must enter into Serie B in the front door, as a player already established and not by simple overage for Spring."

Ikonomidis was on fire for Lazio Primavera between September 20 and November 8, scoring eight goals in eight successive matches to consolidate his club's third-place standing in Group C of Italy's top youth competition, the Campionato Nazionale Primavera.

Inzaghi's Primavera side has won seven of their 10 league matches to date and their recent run of success was largely to do with their talented Australian who hit the back of the net against Bari, Frosinone, Chievo Verona (in the Italian Super Cup Primavera), Crotone, Latina, Roma, Catania and Livorno.

The brilliant surge of form prompted a plethora of superlatives from Savini who suggests that the 2014/15 campaign is one where Ikonomidis can really cement himself in the future plans of Lazio boss Stefano Pioli.

"For him, this is a season of confirmation. Last year was not much positive from mid-season as he could not find much space," Savini added.

"Fortunately, the two goals against Torino (late last season) has regained the confidence of the coach and in himself.

"But this year has been programmed in a different way: the goal is to make great in Spring before returning to training with the first team, thanks to its very professional attitude.

"He is doing what the company asked him…"

At time of writing, Ikonomidis has made a total of 37 appearances for Lazio Primavera in all competitions, including 13 goals of which 10 have come in the league in 28 outings.

His rapid improvement has been evidenced by his form this season thus far and his agent is supremely confident that he can go on to become a quality first team player at the Stadio Olimpico.

"I think he has the technical characteristics that may allow him to be attached to the first team," Savini added further.

"If then the company decides to send him out on loan, we will choose the place that best suits their needs, as it was for Cataldi.

"Honestly, my personal goal would be to make him stay at Lazio."

Australian football has given little to cheer about recently, especially in terms of talented youngsters, but Lazio may have unearthed a hidden gem in Ikonomidis who is sure to attract attention from the general football public down under in the not-too-distant-future.

He has some world-class attacking players to learn from including Miroslav Klose, the World Cup's all-time leading scorer, as well as Serbia international Filip Dordevic, Italian winger Antonio Candreva and club captain Stefano Mauri which will certainly hold him in good stead for what is ahead.

The Ikonomidis name, however tough it is for some to pronounce, is likely to be heard more and more in Australia and around the world as he continues to thrive in the Italian capital.

Hopefully the form he has discovered at junior club level in recent times can translate to the senior ranks with Lazio before he launches an assault on international football with the Socceroos to quite possibly lead the next 'golden generation' of Australian footballers.

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