Serie A’s Middle Class showing ambition

10 July at 14:00

The buzz generated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential move to Juventus has overwhelmed the transfer news headlines, making it very easy to miss some intriguing moves especially when they involve mid table teams. While last week we covered how the top clubs in Serie A did in the first month of the transfer window, it’s time to show some love to the teams who didn’t qualify for the Champions League, it’s likely at least one of them will take a significant step forward
The biancocelesti lost their best defender Stefan de Vrij to a direct rival without even receiving a transfer fee in the process. While hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to criticize Lotito and Tare’ for not cashing in before it was too late seen how the season ended, they also could have done a lot worse with finding a replacement in Francesco Acerbi. Last season he appeared in every minute of Sassuolo’s matches and has been linked to clubs like Inter and Leicester in the past. While de Vrij is certainly a tough loss, it will also be mitigated by a full season of Martin Caceres, who looked like his old self in the World Cup.

Lazio continued their long tradition of shopping for potential bargains outside of Italy this summer (Luis Alberto and Marusic are the most recent examples): Riza Durmissi appears to be an ideal fit for Simone Inzaghi’s system, and his grinta should make him a fan favorite and maybe the long term heir to Lulic. Lazio have also acquired Valon Berisha from Salzburg for an 8 million fee to bring some youth to an aging midfield that also features Parolo and Lucas Leiva. The biancocelesti are also trying to sign Berisha’s former teammate Caleta Car.

Ferrero’s club are starting to give Atalanta a run for their money as the new version of Udinese, a team that continuously sells talents for massive returns. While Atalanta are known more for developing their own players, Sampdoria have a terrific network of scouts who have allowed them to discover the likes of Skriniar, Schick and Torreira (who is expected to join Arsenal any day now).
While losing Torreira is a tough blow, the midfield is still a strength for Sampdoria when you consider they still have Praet (who could however leave because of his exit clause), Linetty and Gaston Ramirez and added the highly rated Jankto from Udinese. On the negative side of ledger, replacing starting keeper Viviano won’t be easy, especially after their top target Sportiello joined Frosinone, but at least Giampaolo’s defense could receive a big boost from Omar Colley, who arrives from Genk, a club known for pumping out exciting prospects.

One of my favorite subplots of the summer, was seeing the Twitter melt down from Premier League fans every time there was news of Sandro joining Genoa. While Preziosi’s club would be certainly priced out in a race for the Juventus left back, landing the former Tottenham midfielder is quite the coup- he was excellent at Benevento last season, and seems perfectly suited for the rhythm of the game in Serie A.

In addition to (don’t call me Alex) Sandro, Genoa have also brought back Domenico Criscito to Serie A after a long stint in Russia, the former Azzurri defender will be the club’s next captain. The  club also added goalkeeper Marchetti, who was Buffon’s backup during the World Cup in South Africa, as well as Romulo, one of the most underrated right wing backs in Serie A. Finally Genoa have to be also thrilled with the way Laxalt performed at the World Cup, his value has clearly increased a ton since Inter was willing to add money to the swap of the Uruguayan international for Ansaldi.
On Sunday manager Gasperini told the media that he feels the club has a lot of work to do before the transfer window closes. After losing three starters in Cristante, Caldara, Spinazzola and missing out on Jankto, the Bergamaschi have some urgency to complete a deal for Zenit’s Kranevitter and retain Papu Gomez, who received a substantial offer from Lazio.

While it’s not out of the question that Atalanta take a step back next season, they could be taking two forward shortly after since they added promising defender Marco Varnier, who has become a valuable member of Italy’s Under 21 team, and could further develop striker Musa Barrow who showed some significant flashes at end of the season.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but after replacing Donadoni with Pippo Inzaghi, Bologna quickly added two starting caliber strikers to the squad. Falcinelli and Santander will essentially replace Verdi and Destro as the focal points of the attack, and while it remains to be seen how much of a scoring load they will be able to provide, the club has also potentially made a significant upgrade at goalkeeper position going from the aging Mirante to the highly motivate Skorupski, who will now have opportunity to show his excellent previous season at Empoli wasn’t a fluke.

On the negative side of the ledger, Verdi wasn’t the only significant departure of the summer so since the club also lost Masina to Watford for a transfer fee of 5 million euro, almost certainly below the market for a left back of his quality, especially when you consider the scarcity at the position.
After the mass exodus from last summer which saw the club make a very significant profit, the past few weeks have been rather quiet for the Tuscan club. The viola are determined to keep their two “figli d’arte” Simeone and Chiesa, and the only significant departure will likely be Milan Badelj whose contract expired.
Fiorentina also made a significant acquisition at the goalkeeper position by signing Alban Lafont, a player that anyone who enjoys FIFA is familiar with. If the viola can use the same training regime I followed in the video game, they’ll have the new Alisson on their hands by this time next year.

The granata have always been known for having a staunch defense, and with Walter Mazzarri at the helm to start the season it’s no surprise to see them so focused on the backline. While losing Barreca is a tough blow, Torino redeemed the rights to Nkolou, resigned keeper Sirigu and added Izzo from Genoa in addition to Atletico Mineiro’s Bremen. With a much improved defense, Torino just needs Belotti to stay healthy and hope Ljajic can maintain the form he displayed at the end of the season to take a step forward in the standings. 


David Amoyal


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