Italy’s Serie A returns this coming Saturday evening and after last season’s roller coaster we cannot wait for it to start.
It was an absolute thriller last term with Juventus just about stumbling over the line to win their 38th league title by a single point. However, manager Maurizio Sarri was given his marching orders after going out to Lyon in the Champions League and former Juventus legend Andrea Pirlo was surprisingly given the job the following day.
We all know and appreciate just how amazing a player Pirlo was and indeed he’d probably still be able to do a job, but he’s never managed a football team before – the only thing he’s ever managed is a vineyard.
In the transfer window things have been a little quiet; suspiciously so and you’d expect things to heat up over the coming weeks. The biggest transfer so far has been that of Arthur from Barcelona to Juventus with Miralem Pjanic going the other way.
Inter, who finished second to Juventus, have brought in Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid and Napoli have splashed £36m on former Lille striker Victor Osimhen. But the expected transfer of Luiz Suarez to Juventus, that would surely have seen the odds on Juventus retaining the title shorten, has fallen though.
Yes Pirlo is an inexperienced manager. Yes he was a great footballer. Yes he has the second greatest beard in football history (behind George Best obviously) but if things do go pear-shaped for Pirlo the Juventus board won’t be long about dismissing him.
Sarri won the league in his first season with the club, losing just nine matches over the 52 games he managed. Indeed, they only went out of the Champions League on away goals.
Inter can give them a good run for their money. Romelu Lukaku was phenomenal last season but he’s going to need to be at least as good again this season and the second campaign at a new club is always tougher for strikers.
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Alexis Sanchez needs to improve while Christian Eriksen is probably going to be sold off and replaced by Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal. The last thing Inter need is more defensive players but that’s Antonio Conte for you; safety first is the name of the game with him.
Both of the Roman clubs, Lazio and Roma, haven’t made enough additions to their squads and then there’s Napoli who are in all sorts of bother. They have signed just one player so far, letting go of 11. AC Milan have made some good signings but not enough and they’re probably still two to three good seasons away from what they’re aiming towards. Atalanta could give Juventus a push this season and they look to have bought smartly but again, do they have better players than Juventus? No, they don’t.
Ciro Immobile won the Capocannoniere last season with 36 goals but it’s hard to see the Italian carrying Lazio as much as he did again. Ronaldo got 31 last season and with that tally would have been top scorer in four out of the last six seasons. We think he’ll be adding yet another personal award to his bulging trophy room at the end of this season.
Milan have made a few smart additions to the squad over the summer so far, most notably in defensive positions where Sandro Tonali has come in from Brescia and Simon Kjaer has signed from Sevilla.
They’ve also brought in attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz from Real Madrid on loan and, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to stay for one more season. It looks like it’s going to be between Roma, Napoli and Milan for the fourth-placed position this season and with Milan being smarter in the transfer window we think we’ll see the Rossoneri returning to the top four.
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