Sabtu, 10 September 2011

How Serie A clubs perform in the transfer windows and this new season

AC Milan

Alberto Aquilani arrived at Milan from Liverpool on loan, with a view to a  permanent deal. The champions did their business early and they did it well. Philippe Mexes and Taye Taiwo add depth to the defence, while teenage midfielder Stephan El Shaarawy is a fantastic prospect. Bringing in Alberto Aquilani and Antonio Nocerino gives Rossoneri coach Massimiliano Allegri many more options in midfield.

Verdict: Already ahead of the rest before any changes were made, they will be even better in the coming season. Tough to see anyone matching them.


Being deducted six points is a major blow, but the newly-promoted club have done some impressive work this summer. Matteo Brighi from Roma and Luca Cigarini of Napoli will be central-midfield partners, with Ezequiel Schelotto - who proved his quality on loan at Catania last season - adding width, energy and creativity. Andrea Masiello is a smart acquisition in defence.

Verdict: Overcoming that points deduction as soon as possible will be key, as will finding a regular source of goals.


Their off-field troubles meant departures were inevitable but losing Emiliano Viviano, Albin Ekdal and Miguel Britos will damage what was a fluid side last season. Marco Di Vaio and Gaston Ramirez remain while Jean Francois Gillet is an underrated goalkeeper. Robert Acquafresca and Alessandro Diamanti are good additions in attack but the midfield and defence look fatally flawed.

Verdict: The gaps in the squad look too big to overcome and a lack of late loan moves is worrying.


New coach Massimo Ficcadenti - fresh from an impressive campaign with Cesena - has some impressive talent at his disposal. Albin Ekdal reinforces an already gifted midfield but Andrea Lazzari and Robert Acquafresca are massive losses.

Verdict: Roberto Donadoni left in a row over the lack of a striker and his fears seemed well-founded. Who will score the goals they need to stay up?


After losing Matias Silvestre to neighbouring Palermo, replacing their captain and best defender was the priority. They struggled to do so all summer before finally offering former Juventus and AC Milan centre-back Nicola Legrottaglie a contract. Two other ex-Juve men in Davide Lanzafame and Sergio Almiron join David Suazo in arriving at the club.

Verdict: A number of older players, but not ones used to battling relegation. A tough season ahead for Vincenzo Montella.


Surviving comfortably last season after two successive promotions was an incredible achievement, but this summer has seen major losses suffered. Coach Ficcadenti was just the start as stand-out performers Emanuele Giaccherini, Luis Jimenez and Davide Santon are all no longer at the Dino Manuzzi. Antonio Candreva and Gianluca Comotto offer steady replacements while Jorge Martinez will look to rediscover the form he showed before vanishing at Juventus. Yet the real story is Adrian Mutu's arrival and if the Romanian concentrates and conforms, Cesena have perhaps made the signing of the summer.

Verdict: Gambling on Mutu shows ambition and perhaps smalltown life will suit him. Their season could be great fun to watch.


The Veronese side made arguably the most surprising signings of the summer as they secured USA international Michael Bradley, promising Bari starlet Francesco Grandolfo and Milan's Alberto Paloschi which should make for a far more entertaining side than last year. Holding on to goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was equally important.

Verdict: Not made any huge leap in quality, probably another solid but mediocre term in prospect.


The expected departures of Riccardo Montolivo, Juan Manuel Vargas and Alberto Gilardino never materialised which is great news, though tempered by the loss of Sebastien Frey in goal. The arrival of Mattai Cassani fills a problem position at right-back while Andrea Lazzari was a great deal for the creativity he will add.

Verdict: An unpredictable summer and probably a similar season ahead.


The revolving door that is Genoa has spun with its usual gusto all summer long. Veteran keeper Sebastien Frey is a superb addition in goal but quite who will line-up ahead of him in Alberto Malesani's side is impossible to judge and January will undoubtedly bring yet another raft of arrivals.

Verdict: The constant state of flux means finding a coherent unit is almost mission impossible.

Inter Milan

Diego Forlan is now an Inter Milan player after replacing Russia-bound Samuel Eto'o. President Massimo Moratti has once again been cautious with the chequebook. Selling Samuel Eto'o makes much sense from a financial standpoint while the arrival of Diego Forlan seems to be more smart business. The same cannot be said for Mauro Zarate and the lack of investment looks risky, although adding talented young midfielder Andrea Poli is an incredibly smart move. Retaining the services of Wesley Sneijder may prove their best piece of business.

Verdict: Keeping the gifted, but opinionated, Zarate and Forlan happy will be as big a challenge for Gian Piero Gasperini as mastering his 3-4-3 system will be for his players.


In a year that was meant to be one of consolidation, the Turin club paid for the number of failed gambles last season. Huge turnover once again has seen some very talented players such as Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Eljero Elia and Mirko Vucinic arrive, but two of last season's better performers, Alberto Aquilani and Felipe Melo, have been allowed to leave.

Verdict: Their season will hinge on new coach Antonio Conte's ability to form a coherent unit from so many new faces.


The losses of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fernando Muslera and Mauro Zarate pale into insignificance when compared to the positive impact of holding onto last seasons star man Hernanes. With Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse a significant upgrade in attack, last term's fifth-placed side have arguably improved overall.

Verdict: While the teams around them have made wholesale changes, Lazio for once have stability. Can they make it tell?


A quiet summer for a side who narrowly avoided relegation last season saw Milan youngster Rodney Strasser and Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio as their only major arrivals. Then deadline day saw three key new players brought in; Massimo Oddo will add some much-needed leadership, while exciting Juventus duo Manuel Giandonato and Cristian Pasquato might be enough to better last season's 17th-place finish.

Verdict: They will undoubtedly be in another relegation battle, but the fact they are prepared for it may give them an advantage.


Much like Milan, they managed to complete most of their changes early, allowing the squad time to grow together ahead of their debut Champions League group stage appearance. Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler, striker Goran Pandev and defender Miguel Ángel Britos are fantastic additions while Blerim Dzemaili and Marco Donadel give depth that was missing last season.

Verdict: Napoli's challenge is to manage the dual test of Champions League and Serie A. If they can then Walter Mazzarri's side will be among the league's best.


Armed with Serie A's longest-serving coach (Attilio Tesser was appointed in June 2009) and a synthetic pitch, Novara have replicated Cesena's double promotion and will hope they can stay up like them too. However their search for a striker ended fruitless and you have to fear for their prospects.

Verdict: No real goal threat means they may end up going straight back down.


Snatching the much coveted Matias Silvestre from Catania to reinforce last season's woeful defence was a master-stroke for the Sicilian side. Unfortunately, losing Javier Pastore, Salvatore Sirigu and, just two weeks before the season started, their new coach (fired after the Europa League exit) cancels out any positive moves. The club has not replaced their departed keeper and they are in disarray.

Verdict: No club can match the madness of Palermo. Talented as ever but handicapped by their own president.


Last season, Parma were saved from relegation after the loan arrival of Amauri; this year they decided not to wait and brought in Lazio's Sergio Floccari to hopefully score the goals they need. Manuele Blasi, Fabiano Santacroce and Jonathan Biabiany continue the theme of trying to rescue players other clubs have given up on.

Verdict: Many gambles taken and a mix of young talent and discarded veterans. Can it work again?


Bojan Krkic moved from Barca to Roma, but the Catalans inserted a buy-back clause in his contract. Never has a new broom swept cleaner than with the arrival Serie A's first foreign owner, Thomas Di Benedetto at Roma. No fewer than 12 new faces arrived but, while Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic and Erik Lamela grab the headlines, Maarten Stekelenburg is the best goalkeeper the club has had in a considerable number of years. Fernando Gago and Simon Kjær add real depth to a new-look Giallorossi and complete an amazingly intelligent and well-executed transfer strategy.

Verdict: No club can match the unique pressure of Roma, but Luis Enrique needs time as much as any of his new signings.


Newly-promoted and with no major losses, Siena have added Gaetano D'Agostino, who had a good year at Fiorentina last season. Mattia Destro and Michele Paolucci are talented but inexperienced, perhaps reflecting the entire squad.

Verdict: Not really improved from last season, they may struggle to retain their Serie A status.


Much has been made of the fact they sold Zapata, Inler and Sanchez but finding, developing and - ultimately - selling major young talent is business as usual for Udinese. Their ability to discover precocious youngsters in the most unlikely places means there are not many well known names among the new arrivals - save for exciting Italian Under-21 international Diego Fabbrini - but the next big star could already be at the club.

Verdict: Expect some surprise names to grab the headlines in the coming months.


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