Football is a funny thing. A month ago, when we checked in with the Napoli players away on loan, things were by and large looking quite nice. There were goalscoring runs, surprising performances, players getting over the hump, and lots of growth being shown. Now, though, things have largely fallen off a bit for the players plying their trade away from home, though a few eye-grabbing performances have still cropped up here and there.
The most disappointing falloff has been that of Omar El Kaddouri, who as Napoli fans may recall was shown a red card after the match between our partenopei and his temporary club Torino last month. He was suspended for two matches for that, meaning that he's played just three times in the league since the last loan report. He's been very poor in those matches, and Torino have scored just once when he's been on the pitch, and that was against lowly Parma.
He's fared somewhat better in the Europa League this past month; Torino won 2-0 at home against Finnish side HJK Helsinki, a match that El Kaddouri started and ran the show effectively in. He started on the bench against that same side in Finland and made a strong impact as a substitute, but it wasn't enough to keep Torino from losing.
Speaking of losing, Eduardo Vargas has been doing a lot of that with Queens Park Rangers in England. The newly-promoted club is 19th place in the English Premier League, with just eight points from eleven matches. They've won just once with Vargas on the pitch, though he was key in two of their more impressive recent performances; Vargas opened his scoring account as a substitute in a crazy match against Liverpool that QPR ultimately lost 3-2, but has to surrender two own goals to do so.
Vargas also played a vital role in creating both QPR goals against Manchester City as his side battled to a 2-2 draw with the defending champions of the EPL, a match that left many thinking that QPR might finally be coming together to create a side that can trouble the rest of the league. Vargas even continued his impressive run with the Chile national team, scoring a goal in a 5-0 romp over Venezuela, as well as being Chile's best attacking player on the pitch and helping create his side's only goal in a loss to Uruguay. It'd be nice to have Vargas around Napoli, especially with the current injury crisis on the wing, but at least he's still performing well in the meantime.
Another winger/forward type of player on Napoli's books in plying his trade in Greece. When last we checked, Nicolao Dumitru and his loan side, PAE Veria, were on a hot streak and riding high in the standing, at a surprising second in Greece's top division. Both player and club have been a little bit flatter since then, though; Dumitru has scored just once in the last month, as part of their only win in that time. While Veria aren't having issues scoring goals, it's been preventing them that's a problem, and they've slipped to fourth place as a result.
Speaking of falling flat, Lorenzo Insigne's little brother must be searching all over the city of Reggio Calabria for his shooting boots. After scoring six times in his first seven matches with Lega Pro side Reggina Calcio, the 20 year old forward hasn't scored once in five matches since then. To be fair, that's not entirely his fault, as Reggina are struggling to create chances and have scored just two goals and have been shut out three times in the last month.
It's not all bad news, though. Polish central defender Igor Lasicki, who has intrigued Napoli fans over the last couple of years, has been on loan with Lega Pro side AS Grubbio, who currently sit a disappointing 12th in their group. That's not the fault of Lasicki, though, who has been by all accounts one of Grubbio's best defenders. Curiously, though, they've kept just one clean sheet with him in the lineup, all the way back in a scoreless draw to open the season. Two of the three matches he's sat out since then have been clean sheets (though the other was a 2-0 loss), so his playing time could suffer as a result.
One other piece of good news: after initially fearing that he wouldn't return until almost the end of the season, Gerardo Tutino is doing well enough in his rehab from an ACL injury that he could return by the end of January. He went on loan with Vicenza in Lega Pro with much hope and hype behind him as Napoli's top attacking prospect, and scored a goal in his first match with the third-division side... then blew out his knee minutes later. Hopefully he'll be back soon, though, and will be able to show people why he's so highly thought of as a prospect.