Serie A ready with global appeal and competitiveness
There is no doubt that the focus from La Liga to Serie A has shifted at least for the Cristiano Ronaldo’s fans around the world. Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus has brought global appeal back to the Serie A and not to forget both Milan teams have strengthened themselves lot to bring competitiveness to Serie A. AS Roma and SSC Napoli have already shown their strength to challenge seven consecutive time Serie A winner Juventus. These all signs are only pointing to Serie A global appeal and competitive level.
Talking first about Serie A record time title winner – Juventus, we have no doubt that Bianconeri is the strongest team to compete for Scudetto for the eighth straight season. Massimiliano Allegri side has lost their veteran goalkeeper Gigi Buffon, but to be fair; it’s not a great loss considering his age. For me, their star forward Gonzalo Higuain is also not a big loss with his misfiring abilities.
On the other hand, they have brought in reigning Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. They have brought back their controversial man Leonardo Bonucci back from AC Milan as well to strengthen their back four again. Joao Cancelo has arrived from Valencia as a promising right-back to replace Stephan Lichtsteiner who moved to Arsenal as free agent. Emre Can is also a good pick for Juve as free agent from Liverpool.
Douglas Costa loan deal from Bayern Munich has become permanent as well. Juve loanee Leonardo Spinazzola and Moise Kean has also returned to strengthen Bianconeri side. This team is looking stronger than the previous seven consecutive season Scudetto winners.
Wojciech Szczesny has become their new no.1. Bonucci and Chiellini is expected to start as centre-back with Mehdi Benatia, Daniel Rugani, and Andrea Barzagli as their backups. Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo is their left-back and right-back respectively. Emre Can, Miralem Pjanic, and Blaise Matuidi is expected to start in midfield with strong backup in Sami Khedira, Rodrigo Bentancur. Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala, and Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to start as their front three to bring fear in their oppositions.
Overall, Juventus is looking a solid side only lacking a left-back backup for Alex Sandro. Otherwise, they are stronger than other Serie A team on all fronts.
Juventus’ title challenger SSC Napoli havn’t brought many big names after losing their star goalkeeper Pepe Reina and midfielder Jorginho, but you can trust the new arriving veteran coach Carlo Ancelotti. Last three seasons, it was also about their playing style adopted by then manager Maurizio Sarri and once again it will be all about manager.
Napoli don’t have a permanent first-choice goalkeeper and it’s expected Arsenal loaned David Ospina will be their shot-stopper. Kalidou Koulibaly and Raul Albiol is expected to start as centre-back pairing alongside left-back Mario Rui and right-back Elseid Hysaj. Amadou Diawara, Allan, and Piotr Zielinski is expected to start in midfield alongside front three of Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon, and Lorenzo Insigne.
It’s pretty much the same team for Partenopei as it was in last three seasons except the change of Jorginho and Pepe Reina in starting lineup. Ancelotti hasn’t disturbed the spirit of the squad but will he be able to get the performance from the very same squad is an issue. The only new signings for Napoli came in Vinicius Morais, Simone Verdi, Amin Younes, Fabian Ruiz, and Kevin Malcuit with on loan arrival of Alex Meret, David Ospina, and Orestis Karnezis (all three are goalkeepers).
It’s a big ask but you can never doubt Carlo Ancelotti’s ability to transform a team into winning team.
AS Roma is another title challenger with great work done by their new sporting director Monchi. In two seasons, he has made at least two dozen changes and this season Giallorossi really proved to be a supermarket. The only problem for team manager Eusebio Di Francesco is to maintain the same formation or adapting to a new style with a different looked squad.
Giallorossi lost their most prized possession goalkeeper Alisson Becker to Liverpool, but they tried to fill in that gap with bringing in three new goalkeepers. Copenhagen’s Robin Olsen, Bologna’s Antonio Mirante, and Palmeiras’ Daniel Fuzato arrived to replace Alisson.
Konstantinos Manolas will lead the centre-back position, but Federico Fazio is expected to fight for his position with new arriving men Ivan Marcano and William Bianda. Aleksandar Kolarov’s left-back position has become more competitive with Luca Pellegrini internal switch and Davide Santon move from Inter Milan. Alessandro Florenzi is expected to start as right-back but he has got the competition as well from Rick Karsdorp and Abdullahi Nura.
It’s not only defense, they have got three players for each position. Captain Daniele De Rossi’s defensive midfield position has also got backup in former Sevilla man Steven Nzonzi and Maxime Gonalons. Kevin Strootman, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Bryan Cristante (on loan from Atlanta) will also be their central midfield trio vying for only one place in the team.
Javier Pastore, Ante Coric, and Nicolo Zaniolo have also arrived to compete for attacking midfield role. Diego Perotti, Stephan El Shaarawy, and new arrival Justin Kluivert will be competing as left-winger in the squad. Cenzig Under is the only one with safe bet to play as only right-winger in the team, whereas Edin Dzeko and former Sampdoria man Patrick Schick will fight for the no.9 role.
It’s a pretty much balanced team looking to grab their fourth Serie A title. If Roma want to win Scudetto, it’s their time to win it. They couldn’t ask for a more decorated side than they have right now.
Inter Milan still have some work to do, but they’re up for their Champions League challenge after some gap. Champions League football will give them confidence to fight for Serie A title as well which they have won 18 times.
Nerazzurri’s transfer spending at least have given them a formidable playing XI. Samir Handanovic is expected to start as their no.1, alongside the centre-back duo of former Lazio man Stefan de Vrij and Brazilian veteran Miranda. Kwadwo Asamoah and Sime Vrsaljko arrival from Juventus and Atletico Madrid have respectively strengthened their left-back and right-back positions. In midfield they already have World Cup stars in Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino from Croatia and Uruguay respectively. Their attacking midfield has strengthened with Radja Nainggolan arrival from AS Roma and West Ham United loaned Joao Mario.
Keita Balde has arrived on loan from AS Monaco to help out tired legs of Ivan Perisic in left-wing position. Sassuolo loanee Matteo Politano is a great backup for Antonio Candreva in right-wing position as well. Mauro Icardi has got a great backup in Lautaro Martinez arriving from Racing Club.
You cannot rule out Inter Milan with this formidable playing XI, although we know that they still have work to do to catch up with Juventus, Napoli, and AS Roma. Luciano Spalletti will be ready to weave a magic with this talented squad.
AC Milan look more promising with their latest transfer spending. They have really done a great job in the summer to strengthen their squad despite going through UEFA ban and their Chinese owner failure to pay the debt to Elliot Management and ownership taken over by Elliot.
Rossoneri has strengthened themselves in each position. Gianluigi Donnarumma stayed with Milan and they got immediate backup in Pepe Reina in case someone come calling for Donnarumma. Alessio Romagnoli, Mateo Musachhio, and Cristian Zapata got a great backup in new arriving man Mattia Caldara and Stefan Simic.
Ricardo Rodriguez has got a competition in Ivan Strinic from Sampdoria in left-back position. They already have better option in right-back position with Andrea Conti, Davide Calabria, and Ignazio Abate. Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko gives them an edge in defensive midfield battle with ageing Lucas Biglia and Ricardo Montolivo.
Franck Kessie is a great asset in central midfield role. Giacomo Bonaventura and Jose Mauri was already there to support him, but Milan made great signing in Diego Laxalt and Alen Halilovic to strengthen their midfield. Fabio Borini came in to support Hakan Calhanoglu, whereas Samu Castillejo arrived to help out Suso at right-wing position. Patrick Cutrone got a great competition from Juventus loaned player Gonzalo Higuain.
AC Milan definitely look like a solid side to compete with the best and they’ll really compete this time for Champions League return.
Other than them, there are teams like Lazio, Sampdoria, Torino, Atalanta, and Bologna ready to put their stamp on Italian football history. Serie A is definitely going to be interesting this time. It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence but teams competitive level has also improved to bring a global appeal.