AC Milan will struggle to fill the boots of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Although the start of the new Serie A season is still three weeks away, clubs in the Peninsula have wasted little time strengthening their squads ahead of the opening weekend. Over £240m (not net, mind) has been spent by Italian clubs on new players, more than any other league in the world, so there will be plenty of new look sides to entertain us over the course of the new campaign. Whilst there promises to be a flurry of activity between now and the end of August, here’s a look at the early winners and losers of the Italian mercato:
Over £240m (not net, mind) has been spent by Italian clubs on new players, more than any other league in the world
The defending Scudetto champions have added great depth to an already impressive squad. Their imperious defence, which only conceded 20 goals in Serie A last season, has been further strengthened with the permanent signing of versatile defender Martin Caceres for €8m, who again impressed on loan last season, and the arrival of Lucio on a free transfer from rivals Inter. Udinese duo Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah, who were signed both on co-ownership deals for a combined €18.4m, offer even more versatility and energy in midfield, whilst the permanent signing of Emanuele Giaccherini from Cesena for €4.25m gives them another attacking option. The €11m return of diminutive attacker Sebastian Giovinco, who has been magnificent over the past two seasons at Parma, will provide pace, guile and goals, but the capture of a top class striker has so far eluded the Bianconeri. They have also looked to secure their future with the capture of three highly rated youngsters: Nicola Leali, a nineteen-year-old goalkeeper from Brescia for €3.8m; Paul Pogba, a French U19 international midfielder from Manchester United on a bosman; and Richmond Boakye, a Ghanaian forward from Genoa who impressed in Serie B last season on loan at Sassuolo.
The capture of a top class striker has so far eluded the Bianconeri
After a poor season, during which the Viola narrowly avoided relegation, the transfer window didn’t get off to a great start; Riccardo Montolivo, their captain, joined Milan on a bosman. However, Fiorentina have invested significantly in the squad, and those who have left have been upgraded on. Emiliano Viviano has joined from Palermo, and the Italian stopper will provide quality between the sticks that has been sorely lacking since the departure of Sebastien Frey. Argentinean defenders Gonzalo Rodriguez and Facundo Roncaglia signed from Villarreal and Boca Juniors respectively, whilst the club permanently signed right-back Matia Cassani for €3.5m. Borja Valero, a €7m signing from Villarreal, is one of the coups of the summer, whilst Alberto Aquilani will be hoping to get his career back on track following his permanent move from Liverpool. The arrival of Matias Fernandez for €3m from Sporting Lisbon could be an absolute steal if the Chilean can find some level of consistency, whilst Mounir El Hamdaoui has been prolific in the Eridivisie but fell out of favour with Frank De Boer, so to sign him for around €1m is an incredible piece of business. If they can help hold of Stevan Jovetic, their prized Serbian forward, then a return to European football is a realistic aim for Vicenzo Montella’s team this season.
Alberto Aquilani will be hoping to get his career back on track following his permanent move from Liverpool
With no European football this upcoming season, the Giallorossi will be hoping they can follow in Juve’s footsteps and make the leap from 7th place to 1st - and Zdenek Zeman’s side have addressed their problems from last season. Left-back Federico Balzaretti, one of Italy’s star performers in the Euros, arrived from Palermo for €4.5m, whilst the South American contingent of Dodo, Ivan Piris and Leandro Castan strengthen a defence that was in dire need of reinforcements. Panaiotis Tachtsidis was one of the best players in Serie B last season, so it will be interesting to see how he fits in after his €2.5m transfer from Genoa, and Michael Bradley, one of the most underrated midfielders in the league, signed for €3.5m from Chievo. Marquinho’s loan move was made permanent for around €4m after impressing over the second half of last season, whilst Mattia Destro’s arrival from Genoa will soften the blow of losing Fabio Borini to Liverpool, and add competition to current frontmen Bojan and Pablo Osvaldo.
The Giallorossi will be hoping they can follow in Juve’s footsteps and make the leap from 7th place to 1st
It was the end of an era in the capital this summer as Alessandro Nesta, Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Oddo, Mark van Bommel, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi all left the club. The Rossoneri then suffered further blows as Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, arguably their two best players, were sold to PSG for €62m. Whether they were sold, retired or their contracts ended, more than an entire first eleven could have been fielded out of the players that have left the club since the end of last season, and Milan are left with the unenviable task of replacing half of their squad on a restricted budget whilst trying to reclaim the Scudetto title which Juventus won last season. A few decent additions have been made, such as Francesco Acerbi, Kevin Constant and Riccardo Montolivo, but Milan are going to have to do some serious investing into their squad before the end of August if they want to remain in the Champions League places, let alone challenge for the title.
Alessandro Nesta, Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Oddo, Mark van Bommel, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi have all left the club
Despite losing three of their best players, Cristian Zapata, Gokhan Inler and Alexis Sanchez, last summer, Udinese remarkably improved upon their league form from the previous season, finishing third in Serie A ahead of the likes of Napoli and Inter. This summer has been no different, with the club selling goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to Inter, Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah to Juventus, and Juan Cadrado, who impressed on loan at Lecce last season, to Fiorentina - meaning the Zebrette have recouped close to €100m from selling their star assets over the past two seasons. The likes of Gabriel Torje and Antonio Floro Flores left the club on loan, too, further depleting what few attacking options were available. Whilst Udinese have been extremely successful at signing lesser known players and developing them in top class stars, any outfit would struggle to maintain their success when losing so many quality players in such a short space of time. With Udinese in the qualifying stages of the Champions League, it will take a monumental effort for them to be competitive both domestically and on the continent.
The likes of Gabriel Torje and Antonio Floro Flores left the club on loan, too, further depleting what few attacking options were available
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