The whole city of Naples was buzzing for the big match against Juventus. Once I starting wearing a Napoli scarf every person I encountered asked if I was going to the game. At 4:00pm I accompanied my father to the Municipo, where he interviewed the mayor of Naples. The mayor was very kind and gave us two tickets in the Tribuna Autorita (Stand for the Authorities).
My father is a Napoli fan and I am a Juventino so this was clearly going to be the experience of a lifetime for us. We were so excited as we headed out to the stadium at 6:00pm. Every 200 feet there were guys selling scarves and jerseys. My dad and I went in two hours prior to kickoff and the Stadio San Paolo was already starting to fill up.
The stadium jeered loudly when Bonucci and Morata came onto the field before the warmups. Lemina came onto field, got booed, and then went back down the tunnel. Pepe Reina got his own announcement and round of applause when he came onto the field for warmups.
Agnelli, Paratici and Nedved had a nice pre-game chat on the field during warmups. The Juventus hierarchy consisting of sporting director Beppe Marotta, Pavel Nedved and President Andrea Agnelli sat in the Tribuna Autorita amongst Napoli fans, with bodyguard protection.
You could tell from watching warmups that Lorenzo Insigne wanted to score more than anything in the world. You could tell he was up to the task; he was in that zone where you know everything is clicking and you're really feeling it. I'm happy he got his goal before he got subbed off in the 40th minute due to injury.
At halftime a select few get invited into this special suite where they serve dinner and ice cream. I got to see Aureilo De Laurentiis from a distance and then Antonio Conte give an autograph to a little kid.
As the second half kicked off, there seemed to be a certain aurora among the fans. They knew the significance of this game and that they were 45 minutes from a massive victory.
A terrible pass by Hernanes led to Higuain's goal. At first I thought Buffon made the save but then I saw the ball hit the back of the net and the San Paolo absolutely erupted! Everything happened so quick. The fans were jumping around like crazy loosing their minds. Then the announcer screamed "GONZALO" and the whole stadium responded "HIGUAIN" (Watch video here: https://twitter.com/transferscalcio/status/648118737535696896). Some fans in front of me were still standing so I didn't even see Juve's goal live but that might've been a good thing because I don't think I would've been able to hold back celebrating. Such a quick response from Juventus. That goal put the San Paolo in both shock and silence.
Juventus had two good opportunities to tie up the game. Morata had a great chance at the top of the box but his first touch wasn't quite good and he put his shot wide. Then in the 83rd minute after some nice buildup play, Pogba got up for a header inside the box but didn't connect well and the ball sailed harmless over. I really think Pogba had to do better with that, at least get that header on goal.
Maurizio Sarri was pretty calm throughout the match on the sideline while Max Allegri was out near the touchline yelling instructions to his team. As time ran out, the Juventus management made their way from their seats greeted by jeers and heckling from the Napoli supporters. You could really feel the sense of pure happiness of the whole stadium. I stayed only 15 minutes after the final whistle but many fans were still in their seats chanting and signing.
It's a shame that no tickets were sold to Juventus fans for this match. So I suppose it wasn't exactly and authentic atmosphere as there wasn't numerous curses and chants towards the traveling fans but it was still great. If the Stadio San Paolo didn't have the big track around the field, the atmosphere there would be even more incredible. Back in the day when Maradona played that place must have really been unbelievable. Even with the track, my seats were really remarkable. I think it's pretty cool to see all those players we love and hate on the field in person, playing the beautiful game we all love.
My taxi driver the morning after the game called Buffon a monumental legend and he is pissed that there are so few Italians at the top Serie A clubs.
Overall, it truly was a sensational experience. I've been watching Serie A games on the weekends for as long as I can remember so to be part of the authentic atmosphere was phenomenal. If you're ever in Italy during the season make sure you go to a game. Even at the smaller stadiums, it's still a great experience.
My thoughts on individual players:
- Buffon is the calmest player on the earth with the ball at his feet.
- Chiellini and Bonucci are a towering center back pairing and are both comfortable on the ball despite how awkward Chiellini looks dribbling. Chiellini looks the furthest thing from a soccer player in person and while it is funny to watch him, he's a rock at the back.
- Evra's experience and talent is unmatched. He's calm on the ball and goes hard into every tackle; he won every header he went up for and I think he was a great signing. He should be a perfect mentor for Alex Sandro.
- Hernanes was way too slow in almost everything he did. On the 1st goal he let Insigne go right around him on the give-and-go and then the 2nd goal was his fault with that terrible pass. He seemed to be playing the regista role but I don't think that suits him well at all and he played terribly.
- Pogba was playing on the left side of the midfield diamond and at times I felt he was just too far away from the center of the park. I think he should be in the center of the midfield and setting the tempo but I suppose Allegri knows better than me. At times it seemed he was trying too hard to make something happen and overdid it with the ball. When Marchisio and Khedira return I think he won't have to carry as much weight in his shoulders and the Frenchman should be able to just play his game. But Pogba running at full stride is a sight to see, it's like a gazelle running through a field.
- Lemina played a solid game in my opinion. He played simply, defended well and of course scored the goal.
- Zaza and Dybala both seemed a bit frustrated. I think Dybala needs a bit more license to roam free and do his thing. He's almost as good at creating as he is scoring goals. Despite Morata and Mandzukic being ahead in the pecking order, I actually do think Zaza can do well in this Juve squad. He made some good runs granted most were offsides and he had two good chances and probably should've put one away.
- Cuadrado might be the best signing Juventus made this summer. And that's not a joke. Every time I've seen him play he's been a catalyst; He runs at the defense and causes problems. After being on the field for about two minutes, he tracked back to win the ball, dribbling at speed about 40 yards, and then found Pogba open in the middle who ripped a shot straight at Pepe Reina. Cuadrado is the winger that's been needed at Juve for the 4-3-3 since Conte wanted him and I think he'll reignite his career this season.
- If Daniele Rugani is only going to play in Coppa Italia matches, he has to go on loan in January. The kid played out of this world last season at Empoli and along with Romagnoli he's the future for the Azzurri defense. In my mind he should be ahead of Barzagli on the depth chart and to be honest there have been some games where I've wanted to see him start over Chiellini. Considering he hasn't made his official debut yet, I think Rugani deserves much more playing time and I hope he gets it to continue his growth.
- Pepe Reina is solid in net and the Napoli fans love him. He's a quality keeper who makes an occasional mistake.
- Koulibaly is a good center back. He reads the game well and uses his strength.
- Allan is a great player. He always has his head on a swivel, uses both feet well and of course plays great defensively. His touch is quality and he does well in tight spaces.
- Hamsik is a smart player and reads the game well. He does well pulling the string going forward.
- Insigne was just in the zone. It's a shame he had to be taken off due to injury but his goal was a thing of beauty. A great give-and-go with Higuain and he placed his shot low into the corner.
- Mertens is a great player in my opinion. Like Cuadrado, he runs at the defense with speed and makes things happen. While Cuadrado has more speed, Mertens has more skill and is a great dribbler. Personally, I prefer him over Callejon.
- Higuain is a great center forward. Despite his penalty misses, he's got that classic #9 instinct. Gonzalo is a very good dribbler for a center forward and can shoot very well with both feet. He also did a solid amount of defense work last night. The Napoli fans absolutely love him as he got the most cheers throughout the night and Gonzalo walked around to every section of the stadium to applause the fans.
Fiorentina had picked up 9 points from four matches coming into the Derby dell'Appennino against Bologna on Wednesday night. La Viola were coming off a 1-0 victory against Carpi while the Rossoblu picked up their first win of the season against Frosinone on Sunday. Despite it being a midweek game, 25,085 spectators came to the Stadio Artemio Franchi for the match including a solid contingent of travelling Bologna fans.
The game had a very slow start for the first 15-20 minutes, understandable considering both sides only had 3 days rest. That slow start was seen across of all Serie A last night as there were 0 goals in the first 30 minutes of the 8 games being played. Like most provincial sides, Bologna was content to just stay compact and keep 8-9 men behind the ball. The first piece of action came in the 22nd minute when Marcos Alonso hit a free kick from about 20 yards out just over the bar. La Viola was dominating possession but weren’t playing quick enough in the final third to create any chances. In the 41st minute, Bologna played a quick free kick over the top to Mattia Destro who brought the ball down inside the box and fired a left footed shot but Ciprian Tatarusanu did well to make himself big and make the save. Destro makes very good runs off the ball and does well to hold up play and I’m quite surprised there wasn’t more competition among Serie A teams to sign him this summer. So, heading into halftime each side had one good opportunity but the first half was quite dull.
La Viola started the second half on the front foot with a chance off a cross from Jakub Blaszczykowski that Ante Rebic headed wide. The home side was playing sharper and showed more purpose going forward. Paulo Sousa deserves credit for bringing on Nikola Kalinic for Khouma Babacar in the 56thminute. Too often coaches wait until the 65th-70th minute to make a change and then the substitute struggles to make any significant impact on the game. Babacar was ineffective but Kalinic came in and seemed to change Fiorentina’s dynamic. La Viola looked much more dangerous in attack in the second half as they got the ball out wide and whipped in crosses. Bologna remained resolute at the back as they looked to hang onto the point but Fiorentina eventually found the breakthrough. In the 71st minute, Rebic put in a cross from the left side, which Matias Vecino flicked on to the back post as Blaszczykowski was there to pounce and smash the ball into the back of the net to score his first goal with Fiorentina. Once La Viola found that goal the match was pretty much sealed, as Bologna wouldn’t ever pose any real threat. La Viola proceeded to keep the ball with the occasional opportunity. Paulo Sousa’s side put the game to bed with a second goal in the 83rd minute. Marcos Alonso took the ball down the left flank and whipped in a low cross, which Kalinic slid on to and tapped into the net. It was a classic center forward goal as Kalinic timed his run in the box to perfection and was in the right spot to finish off the cross. La Viola hung on to keep the clean sheet and pick up a quality 2-0 win. Fiorentina did very well to adjust their game plan in the second half and it was effective as they scored both their goals off of crosses. Paulo Sousa made very good in game adjustments to guide Fiorentina to victory.
Fiorentina now sit in second place with 12 points ahead of their clash with league leaders Inter on Sunday. There is a real sense of optimism in the city of Florence at the moment regarding Fiorentina. Despite their Europa League defeat to Basel, Fiorentina are flying high in Serie A at the moment. If La Viola can travel to Milan and get a result against an Inter team that has 5 wins in 5 games it will raise the confidence of this team even more.
While he has made 3 appearances this season so far, Giuseppe Rossi has not yet returned to 100% game fitness following his long-term injury. Paulo Sousa spoke about him at the pre-match conference on Tuesday night: “[Giuseppe] Rossi can always play, although we must understand that he’s in the process of rehabilitation. We’re waiting for him because he is a phenomenon, being aware that he must be handled the right way to get him to his level.”
Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa: “We can fight it out with anyone but we also have to be realistic. There are many new players at Fiorentina, plus a new coach, so we have a long way to go. I believe in our capabilities, but am also a realistic person. I always said we could compete with everyone and we will compete. No two games are ever the same. We have had some important performances so far this season and improved as the night went on against Bologna. There are clubs out there who invested a great deal to win the Scudetto, but at the same time I never said we should just give up. We still have to improve, but don’t want to set limits on ourselves either.”
Milan Badelj: “We scored two goals in the second half but we also did well in the first half. How do I recover balls? You need to play with your head. Last year we won against Inter but they are a good team. Yes, I will talk to [Ivan] Perisic before the match!”
Serie A: Mercato Recap & Season Preview
Order is based on the standings from the previous season
Key Signings- Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Neto, Sami Khedira, Daniele Rugani, Alex Sandro, Mario Lemina, Hernanes, Juan Cuadrado (loan)
Key Departures- Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Fernando Llorente, Angelo Ogbonna, Kingsley Coman
The Bianconeri will look to win their fifth consecutive Scudetto but it will be quite difficult this year. Most of the top teams improved while Juve had a big turnover in their squad and will need time to build chemistry together. While opening the campaign with two loses is clearly never a good thing, I don’t think The Old Lady needs to panic just yet. They’ve been missing some key guys to injury, notably Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira and Alvaro Morata, who’s just returned to full fitness. Max Allegri’s side did lose some vitals players but also signed some top class talent, while also lowering the squad’s average age by 3 years. Hernanes may seem like a bit pricey panic buy but I do think he will do well as he brings experience and creativity to the midfield. In Alex Sandro, the Bianconeri have a highly talented left back with his best years ahead of him plus Patrice Evra to mentor him. Juve received a tough draw in the Champions League group stage with Manchester City, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. Juventus may take a step back this year but they do seem set to compete at the top level for the 5-10 years with a very good young core consisting mainly of Daniele Rugani, Alex Sandro, Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata.
Key Signings- Mohamed Salah, Edin Dzeko, Iago Falque, Lucas Digne, Antonio Rudiger, William Vainqueur, Wojciech Szczesny (loan)
Key Departures- Alessio Romagnoli, Mattia Destro, Adem Ljajic, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Seydou Doumbia
There will be big expectations for Rudi Garcia this year but he’s got off to a very good start with the 2-1 win against Juventus. Roma have signed some very good players with Edin Dzeko being the #9 striker they desperately needed. Expect Mohamed Salah and Lucas Digne to both perform well this year. Roma will be expected to progress from their Champions League group but it won’t be easy being drawn with Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen. Rudi Garcia may be on the hot seat if things don’t go well for Roma this year but they certainly have the talent and potential for a great year. I think the Giallorossi have the talent and ability to get over the 2nd place hump and lift the Scudetto this season.
Key Signings- Riccardo Kishna, Ravel Morrison, Wesley Hoedt, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Patric, Alessandro Matri (loan)
Key Departures- Cristian Ledesma, Luis Pedro Cavanda, Lorik Cana
Lazio will be very disappointed that they had a great season last year but failed to qualify for the Champions League after losing to Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on aggregate in the UCL play-off. Nonetheless, they made some very good signings, which went a bit unnoticed. Kishna is a great talent who scored in his first Serie A match, Morrison seems likely to turn his career now while Hoedt and Milinkovic-Savic are highly-rated. Stefano Pioli will look to continue their success from last year. The Biancocelesti will probably drop a few spots but don’t be surprised if the Biancocelesti make a deep run in the Europa League.
Key Signings- Mario Suarez, Nikola Kalinic, Davide Astori, Gilberto, Jakub Blaszczykowski (loan with option to buy)
Key Departures: Stevan Savic, Mario Gomez, Neto, Alberto Aquilani
After the surprise sacking of Vincenzo Montella, La Viola hired former Basel coach Paulo Sousa. Fiorentina improved their squad and it will be interesting to see how Paulo Sousa does with this team. Giuseppe Rossi has made his return from another long-term injury but hopefully stays fit and healthy because when he does, he’s a very good player. Expect Suarez and Blaszczykowski to both play well this season. La Viola seem to usually struggle balancing Europa League and Serie A, let’s see how Paulo Sousa does. With many teams improving, Fiorentina will likely not finish 4th again but they are a team that can do well in the Europa League.
Key Signings- Pepe Reina, Mirko Valdifiori, Allan, Vlad Chiriches, Mirko Valdifiori, Elseid Hysaj, Nathaniel Chalobah
Key Departures: Gokhan Inler, Miguel Britos, Edu Vargas, Walter Gargano
With Rafa Benitez’s departure, the Neapolitan club hired the hipster coach of last season Maurizio Sarri, who also brought Valdifiori and Hysaj with him from Empoli. Napoli didn’t lose any important players yet they strengthened their defense and midfield. Chiriches and Hysaj may not exactly be upgrades from what they have but in Reina they have a quality keeper and you can expect Sarri to be more organized that Benitez was. While their defense is still not so strong, their attack is deadly. Higuain, Insigne, Callejon, Hamsik and Gabbiadini should certainly not have trouble creating goals. I could really see this season go either way for Napoli. Either a great year where Sarri works his magic and they finish top 4 and do very well in the Europa League or it might just not work and Napoli drops to the 6-8 range in the league. Either way I’m interested and excited to see how Napoli does this year.
Key Signings- Goran Pandev, Diego Capel, Ezequiel Munoz, Leonardo Pavoletti, Blerin Dzemaili (on loan)
Key Departures- Andrea Bertolacci, Iaqo Falque, Juraj Kucka
The 3 departures above were all very important to their 6th place finish last year and it is very unlikely they finish that high in the table this season. Their additions are all good players with Serie A experience who should do well. Expect them to drop a few places but Giampiero Gasperini will be looking to finish mid-table with his squad.
Key Signings: Antonio Cassano, Fernando, Lorenzo De Silvestre, Edgar Barreto, Emiliano Viviani
Key Departures: Samuel Eto’o, Pedro Obiang, Stefano Okaka, Alfred Duncan, Sergio Romero
After Mihajlovic joined Milan, Sampdoria hired Walter Zenga, which was unexpected. Sampdoria were miserably knocked out of Europa League during the play-off, which Zenga got some heat for. While they did lose Obiang and Okaka who were important players in their squad, they signed Fernando who will be very good in central midfield and they still have Eder, Luis Muriel and Antonio Cassano to lead the attack. Although Sampdoria have a pretty solid squad and have got off to a good start, I’m not convinced Zenga is good enough for the job but let’s see. And honestly, the best part of this team is the President, Massimo Ferrero. He’s an absolute character and I can’t wait to see his antics this year.
Key Signings- Geoffrey Kondogbia, Stevan Jovetic, Ivan Perisic, Adem Ljajic, Jeison Murillo, Miranda Felipe Melo, Alex Telles, Martin Montoya
Key Departures- Mateo Kovacic, Xherdan Shaqiri, Hernanes
In my opinion, Inter had the best mercato in Italy even though they sold Mateo Kovacic to Real Madrid. They did a great job at improving every position on the field. Murillo and Miranda are both very good center backs, Alex Telles is a talented left back, Kondogbia and Melo can boss the midfield while Jovetic, Perisic & Ljajic are all great additions in attack. While that all sounds great, the big question is if Roberto Mancini can get it to work. I wasn’t very impressed with him last season but now he really has no excuses to not do well, especially without European football he only has to focus on the league. On paper Inter are a top 3 team and even a Scudetto challenger, let’s see if Mancini can make that happen.
Key Signings- Daniele Baselli, Davide Zappacosta, Andrea Belotti, Joel Obi
Key Departures- Matteo Darmian
While Torino sold their best player to Manchester United, the first three signings above were all great buys. Zappacosta is the perfect replacement for Darmian at right back, Baselli is a quality midfielder and Belotti is a highly talented striker. Ventura is a good coach who will do well this season. I’d expect them to finish 8th-10th yet again.
Key Signings: Carlos Bacca, Alessio Romagnoli, Andrea Bertolacci, Luiz Adriano, Juraj Kucka, Jose Mauri, Rodrigo Ely, Mario Balotelli (loan)
Key Departures: Stephan El Shaawary, Adil Rami, Giampaolo Pazzini, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, Robinho (the last few are ‘key’ departures because their wages are gone)
After hiring Sinsa Mihajlovic, Milan added some pretty big names. Signing Carlos Bacca from Sevilla was a big coup and Alessio Romagnoli is a young center back with world class potential. Luiz Adriano and Andrea Bertolacci are also both quality signings who I think will both play very well this campaign. After watching their game against Empoli, it was apparent that they still need to strengthen their midfield. While Juraj Kucka is a solid signing I don’t think he’ll solve all the problems. Balotelli returning on loan is certainly interesting. Personally, I think Super Mario knows that this is his last shot to salvage his career and I hope he’s more mature. I’m looking forward to seeing him play as I think he could be a great spark off the bench for the Rossoneri. I really like Mihaljovic’s attitude and I think he’ll be the coach to get Milan back up to the top but I think they’ll need one more year to contend for the Scudetto. There’s a slight possibility they finish in 3rd but I’d say they’re more likely to finish 4th-5th.
Key Signings- Alberto Gilardino, Uros Djurdjevic, Oscar Hiljemark, Abdelhamid El Kaoutari
Key Departures- Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti, Ezequiel Munoz, Edgar Barreto
Pretty much every calcio fan was surprised Giuseppe Iachini managed to survive as coach the entire season, considering owner Zamparini’s past. While they sold their two best strikers they did manage to bring in two quality strikers. Gilardino is a proven goal scorer in Italy while Djurdjevic is a nice talent joining from Vitesse. It seemed odd that their captain Edgar Barreto left on a free transfer. I’m interested to see how Franco Vasquez does this year, if he can play & create like last year I think Palermo will do fine and finish mid-table. With that being said, don’t be surprised if the Rossoneri fall into a bit of a slump and Ianchini gets sacked.
Key Signings- Domenico Berardi, Gregoire Defrel, Alfred Duncan
Key Departures: Simone Zaza, Jasmin Kurtic, Leonardo Pavoletti
Eusbio Di Francesco did a very good job to lead Sassuolo to a 12th place finish last year. While they sold Simone Zaza to Juevntus, they signed Gregoire Defrel from Cesena who’s coming off a great season and is quite talented. The Neroverdi managed to keep one of Europe’s top young talents in Domenico Berardi for at least one more year but Juventus have an option to buy him next summer. Alfred Duncan is also a very good pickup in the center of the park. Sassuolo has some solid quality and expected them to finish in the 12-14 range.
13. Hellas Verona:
Key Signings- Giampaolo Pazzini, Federico Viviani, Matteo Bianchetti, Filip Helander
Key Departures: Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Mounir Obbadi (were both on loan)
Hellas Verona had a quite nice under the radar mercato. They snapped up Pazzini on a free transfer to partner and rotate with Luca Toni up top, Federico Viviani is a capable central midfielder and Bianchetti & Helander are nice youthful signings at center back where their age was considerably old at that position. I really quite like their squad and wouldn’t be surprised if they finish around 10th place this season.
14. Chievo Verona:
Key Signings- Lucas Castro, Paul-Josè M'Poku, Valter Birsa, Simone Pepe
Key Departures- Ervin Zukanovic, Dejan Lazarevic, Ezequiel Schelotto
The Flying Donkeys are quite literally, flying at the moment. They sit atop of the Serie A Table with 2 wins and the best goal differential. While it’s a great early Cinderella story don’t expect it to last the whole year. Almost every calcio fan dreads watching Chievo play but this year might actually be different. Alberto Paloschi is a fine goal scorer, Valter Birsa is a nice, nifty, creative player and Paul-Jose M’Poku & Simone Pepe are both attacking wingers. It doesn’t look like they’ll be relegated but expect a similar finish in the table from the Flying Donkeys this season.
Key Signings- Riccardo Saponara, Michele Camporese, Leandro Paredes (loan), Marko Livaja (loan with option to buy)
Key Departures- Mirko Valdifiori, Elseid Hysaj, Daniele Rugani, Simone Verdi
Empoli lost their two best players from last season as well as their coach. Saponara has been great for them since joining from Milan. They rejected an offer from Germany for their left full back Mario Rui, who is a quality player. Empoli made some nice signings at the end of the mercato in Paredes and Livaja but it may not be enough. This season will definitely be tough and I expect them to be in the relegation battle.
Key Signings- Ali Adnan, Ivan Piris, Marquinho, Giamperio Pinzi, Duvan Zapata (2 year loan)
Key Departures- Allan, Matej Vydra
Udinese hired a new coach in Stefano Colantuono and also completed renovations to their Stadio Friuli. Losing Allan in the middle of the field will be very hard to replace but they made some solid signings. I’ve heard Ali Adnan is a pretty talented left back, who has become the first Iraqi player in Serie A history. Marquinho can put in a shift in at central midfield and Zapata is a big strong striker on loan from Napoli. I was a bit surprised at how little at he played at Napoli because I think he’s a dangerous threat inside the box and he should do well. Expect them to finish a little higher up in the table than last season.
Key Signings- Rafael Toloi, Jasmin Kurtic, Gabriel Paletta (loan)
Key Departures- Yohan Benalouane, Davide Zappacosta, Daniele Baselli
Atalanta lost three of their top players but Tolio and Paletta are both good center backs and Kurtic is a quality midfielder. Their goalkeeper, Marco Sportiello, is very solid while Mauricio Pinilla and German Denis lead the attack. I don’t expect too much from the Bergamo side and see them finishing in the same area again, battling relegation.
Newly Promoted Teams
(Warning: I know very little about Frosinone and Carpi)
Key Signings- Modibo Diakitè, Aleksander Tonev, Nicola Leali (on loan), Daniele Verde (on loan), Samuele Longo (on loan), Aleandro Rosi (on loan)
Key Departures- Uros Cosic, Mario Santana (both were on loan)
Their arrival to Serie A has been a great story but it will be difficult for them to avoid relegation. Their loan signings are all pretty good. Leali is a good young goalkeeper, Verde showed that he could change a match coming off the bench for Roma so I think he’ll do quite well, Longo is a competent striker who will score 5-10 goals while Rosi is versatile and can play full back on both sides. Fully expect a relegation battle.
Key Signings- Marco Borriello, Nicolas Spolli, Christian Zaccardo, Wallace (loan option to buy), Ryder Matos (on loan), Luca Marrone (loan)
Key Departures- Filippo Porcari, Gabriel (was on loan)
Like Frosinone, while their promotion to Serie A is a lovely story, they are favorites to be relegated. Borriello is a proven goal scorer in Italy, which will certainly be a big help. Spolli is a decent center back, Wallace is supposedly a talented right back, Marrone will do well in central midfield and Matos can help going forward as his showed when he scored a beautiful curled shot against Sampdoria on opening weekend. It’s fun to see them in Serie A for the first time but it might not last long.
Key Signings- Mattia Destro, Godfred Donsah, Lorenzo Crisetig, Antonio Mirante, Anthony Mounier, Franco Brienza, Ibrahima Mbaye, Luca Rossettini, Emanuele Giaccherini (loan)
Key Departures- Matuzalem, Gianluca Sansone, Rolando Bianchi
Bologna have been ambitious this mercato and I love it. Mirante on a free transfer after Parma’s collapse was a great signing. Destro is a big coup for them, who will lead the attack and score goals. Donsah is a very good young talent and the Rossoblu beat Juventus & Chelsea for his signature. Crisetig and Brienza bring experience to the midfield. Rossettini and Mbaye will help to the defense. And I just love the move to sign Giaccherini on loan. I mean he’s the ultimate utility man and will basically do anything for the team. I think Delio Rossi should avoid relegation with this team he should be expected to.
The New York Cosmos and the Carolina Railhawks met for the second time in just 9 days.