Blog Written by Alessandro Pugliese (@sandro_pugliese)
Order is based off final standings from last season
Key Signings: Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuain, Dani Alves, Marko Pjaca, Medhi Benatia, Juan Cuadrado
Key Departures: Paul Pogba, Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra
It was quite a busy summer for the Bianconeri. Beppe Marotta and company got most of their work done early with the signings of Pjanic, Dani Alves, Pjaca, Benatia and even Higuain to an extent. Of course the biggest news was the record-breaking sale of Paul Pogba to Manchester United. As I have written, I believe Juve will miss Pogba’s off the field marketing more than anything else. Their midfield is still very strong and as we saw in the first match against Fiorentina, Kwadwo Asamoah is more than able to play there as well. Most people have already crowned Juventus as Serie A champions yet again but I do believe this year will be a very tight Scudetto race and it will be decided in May. But I think everyone knows that this season will be determined by Juve’s Champions League campaign. Anything short of at least reaching the semi-finals this year would be a disappointment in my eyes. Because of a pretty large turnover in the squad it might take a little time for Max Allegri to get this side firing on all cylinders but expect Juventus to be one of the top four teams across Europe this year.
Key Signings: Arkadiusz Milik, Nikola Maksimovic, Amadou Diawara, Piotr Zielinski, Marko Rog, Emanuele Giaccherini, Lorenzo Tonelli
Key Departures: Gonzalo Higuain, Mirko Valdifiori, David Lopez
After a record-breaking 36 Serie A goals last season, Gonzalo Higuain joined Juventus as they activated his €90 million release clause. Despite this huge loss, Napoli has made quality signings this summer. They improved and added depth to their midfield with Diawara, Zielinski, Rog and Giaccherini and finally made an upgrade over Raul Albiol by singing Lorenzo Tonelli and Nikola Maksimovic. I truly believe that in the long-term this transfer window will make Napoli a better team. They have a great mix of experienced guys like Hamsik, Callejón, Mertens, Allan etc. and young talents such as Insigne, Milik, Diawara, Zielinski and others. If Maurizio Sarri can get the new signings implemented into the squad quickly, Napoli may be able to keep up with Juventus closer to May this year.
Key Signings: Bruno Peres, Thomas Vermaelen, Stephen El Shaarawy, Allison, Juan Jesus, Federico Fazio, Wojciech Szczesny, Mario Rui (tore ACL in pre-season)
Key Departures: Miralem Pjanic, Lucas Digne, Maicon, Seydou Keita, Adem Ljajic, Iago Falque, Antonio Sanabria, Seydou Doumbia
The Giallorossi failed to qualify for the Champions League after collapsing in the second leg against Porto, finishing the match with nine men. It looked as if the capital side were a bit hung-over from their Champions League exit after a draw with Cagliari and falling behind to Sampdoria. But their eternal captain came to the rescue yet again. Francesco Totti came on as a halftime substitute, after a weather delay, to completely change the match. An assist and a stoppage time penalty goal from the soon-to-be 40 year old gave Roma an emphatic win and possibly kick started their season. This Roma side still has a strong core and Spalletti has done a fine job since his return to the club. A Scudetto triumph may be out of grasp but a top three finish along with a respectable Europa League campaign should be on the cards for the Giallorossi.
Key Signings: Antonio Candreva, Ever Banega, Gabigol, Joao Mario, Cristian Ansaldi
Key Departures: Juan Jesus, Adem Ljajic (was on loan), Alex Telles (was on loan), Dodô
Inter had somewhat of a hectic summer. There was much speculation if captain Mauro Icardi would be leaving, Frank de Boer replaced Roberto Mancini only two weeks before the season started and then the Nerazzurri completed two huge deadline day signings in Gabigol and Joao Mario. As expected with the abrupt coaching change, Inter got off to a slow start losing to Chievo and drawing Palermo. Captain Mauro Icardi has scored three goals in three matches, leading the line as expected. Ever Banega has already proven to be the most important summer signing with the way he controls the tempo and creates going forward. Candreva, Joao Mario and Gabigol are obviously all talents players; the main question to be seen is how de Boer uses them on the field. The Nerazzurri will be aiming for a top three finish but it’s hard to judge how good their chances are so early into de Boer’s reign.
Key Signings: Cristian Tello, Sebastian De Maio, Carlos Sanchez, Sebastian Cristoforo,
Maximiliano Olivera, Kevin Diks
Key Departures: Marcos Alonso, Mati Fernandez, Mario Gomez, Giuseppe Rossi, Facundo Roncaglia, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Manuel Pasqual
It certainly was not one of the more exciting summers for the Viola faithful. No real big name signings although keeping Cristian Tello from Barcelona was a good move. Marcos Alonso signed for Chelsea on deadline day with a reported €27 million being paid to the Florentine club. Certainly a good price but it could be hard to replace Alonso’s performance at left back. Fan-favorite Pepito Rossi left to join Spanish club Celta Vigo, with no real replacement signed. This season will be a real testament to how good of a manager Paulo Sousa really is. I think the squad dropped a little bit in terms of quality so it will be interesting to see how Sousa manages the team this year. Don’t be surprised if La Viola drop a spot or two in the league standings but they should be able to represent well in the Europa League.
Key Signings: Alessandro Matri, Timo Letschert, Antonio Ragusa, Pol Lirola (on 2-year loan)
Key Departures: Nicola Sansone, Sime Vrsaljko
The Neroverdi are Italy’s charming story. Competing in the third division under a decade ago, Sassuolo qualified for the Europa League this summer. Admittedly, the club sold two of their best players in Sansone to Villarreal and Vrsaljko to Atletico Madrid. Nevertheless, Eusebio Di Francesco has worked wonders at the club since being appointed in 2012. Young star Domenico Berardi has got off to a flying start, scoring seven goals in his first six games this season. The Italian has scored 40 Serie A goals at the age of just 22, following in the footsteps of legend Gianni Rivera. As expected the main question is how will Sassuolo balance both league and continental competition. While the Neroverdi may not finish top six again they could be a dark horse to cause some upsets in Europe.
Key Signings: Gianluca Lapadula, Mati Fernandez, Gustavo Gomez, José Sosa, Mario Pasalic, Leonel Vangioni
Key Departures: Jeremy Menez, Mario Balotelli (was on loan), Alex, Phillipe Mexes, Christian Abbiati
After a dark couple of years for Milanisti, there finally might be some light ahead. The sale of the club to Chinese investors has finally taken significant steps and looks surely set to happen. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Montella has taken over on the bench. To be truthful, the Rossoneri are still in the re-building phase but Montella has some shown some bright flashes of how he wants his team to play. An attacking trident of M’Baye Niang, Suso and Carlos Bacca looks like it has the potential to be lethal. While problems in the midfield still exist, mainly with Montolivo and Poli, Sosa and Fernandez should be able to provide some quality. This Milan squad does have some talented pieces but not enough overall quality or depth to fight for a top three spot. The Rossoneri will surely be aiming for a Europa League spot, while constructing a solid foundation the future.
Key Signings: Ciro Immobile, Wallace, Bastos, Luis Alberto, Jordan Lukaku, Moritz Leitner
Key Departures: Antonio Candreva, Miroslav Klose, Stefano Mauri, Ogenyi Onazi, Santiago Gentiletti
There was quite the controversy in the capital this summer as Marcelo Bielsa joined and then quit Lazio within the space of the 48 hours. Disagreements over signing new players is believed to be the reason of the abrupt departure. And so, Simone Inzaghi returned to the bench for the Biancocelesti. Then there was the report of only 11 season tickets being sold within the first 24 hours of them being on sale. Despite the loss of Candreva, this side still has its fair share of talent. I am interested to see if Felipe Anderson is able to become a leader and carry this team on the field. Summer signing Ciro Immobile should be able to do well and score goals. Expectations aren’t very high for Lazio this year expect a solid mid-table finish.
Key Signings: Samuel Bastien, Jonathan De Guzman Stefano Sorrentino,
Key Departures: Simone Pepe, Giampiero Pinzi
The Flying Donkeys have become a solid constant in Serie A. Never really flashy, but competent and hardworking. Head coach Rolando Maran has done well in his time at the club. Valter Birsa is the main man going forward, being able to both create and score himself. The club did well to sign goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who at the age of 37 is still kicking strong. Chievo will fight for every point and finish in the middle of the pack yet again.
Key Signings: Alberto Gilardino, Manuel Pasqual, Matheus Pereira, Josè Mauri (on loan), Andres Tello (on loan), Giuseppe Bellusci (on loan), Federico Dimarco (on loan)
Key Departures: Lorenzo Tonelli, Mario Rui, Piotr Zielinski (was on loan), Leandro Paredes (was on loan)
The four departures listed above were arguably Empoli’s best players last season. However, the Tuscan club did reasonably well in signing some decent replacements. Mauri, Tello and Dimarco are all young talents who should be able to bring some excitement to watching this side. Riccardo Saponara is the key man, who will look to lead this team now. The old violin player, Alberto Gilardino, should be able to provide an adequate amount of goals and possibly reach 200 scored in Serie A. Expect Empoli to largely remain in the same area of the table, safe from relegation.
Key Signings: Lucas Ocampos, Giovanni Simeone, Lucas Orban, Miguel Veloso, Santiago Gentiletti, Diego Laxalt
Key Departures: Sebastian De Maio, Cristian Ansaldi, Diego Capel, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Suso (was on loan)
Genoa has a new coach in Ivan Juric, who led Crotone to Serie A last year. Goalkeeper Mattia Perin has recovered quickly from his ACL tear and should be available to play soon. Lucas Ocampos will be expected to perform well and deliver service into the box for Leonardo Pavoletti. The Italian striker will probably bag around 15 goals yet again this season, leading the line for the Rossoblu. It will be interesting to see Juric implement his high-pressing style of play. Expect a solid mid-table finish from Genoa.
Key Signings: Joe Hart, Adem Ljajic, Iago Falque, Lorenzo Di Silvestri, Luca Rossettini, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Leandro Castan
Key Departures: Kamil Glik, Nikola Maksimovic, Bruno Peres, Alessandro Gazzi, Ciro Immobile (was on loan)
Torino lost the three best players on their backline this summer, which will be a tough loss. Man City loanee Joe Hart had a shaky debut, misreading a corner kick, which lead to a goal. An attacking trident of Ljajic, Falque and Andrea Belotti should be mouth-watering for new manager Sinisa Mihajlovic. Along with Daneile Baselli in the midfield, Torino should be able to create goals quite well. I believe Mihajlovic can do quite well and maybe move up a few spots but their defense makes me somewhat hesitant.
Key Signings: Alberto Paloschi, Ervin Zukanovic Bryan Cabezas
Key Departures: Marten De Roon, Marco Borriello, Gabriel Paletta (was on loan)
Gian Piero Gasperini takes over in Bergamo after spending the last three years at Genoa. Franck Kessie has already scored four league goals this season, tied for the most. Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez is a constant threat, with quality pace and an eye for goal. A solid mid-table finish should be expected for Atalanta.
Key Signings: Federico Viviani, Ladislav Krejci, Adam Nagy, Simone Verdi, Blerin Dzemaili, Umar Sadiq (on loan)
Key Departures: Amadou Diawara, Emanuele Giaccherini, Luca Rossettini, Matteo Brighi
Roberto Donadoni will look to build upon the work he started mid-season last year. Summer signing Adam Nagy performed well at Euro 2016 with his native Hungary and will now look to prove his worth at the Stadio dall’Ara. Striker Mattia Destro will look to find some consistency in front of the net this season. This Bologna side should finish just about exactly where they did last year.
Key Signings: Dennis Praet, Bruno Fernandes, Patrick Schick, Luca Cigarini, Filip Djuricic, Karol Linetty, Daniel Pavlovic, Ante Budimir
Key Departures: Roberto Soriano, Joaquin Correa, Fernando, Lorenzo Di Silvestri, Niklas Moisander
Marco Giampaolo took over at Sampdoria after Montella joined Milan. While Massimo Ferrero sold some top players, his club made some fine signings this summer. Most notably Dennis Praet, from Anderlecht, a very good creative midfielder who should be a joy to watch in Serie A. There seems to have been a falling out between Antonio Cassano and the club management and it remains to be seen if that will become a problem throughout the season. Sampdoria should be able to avoid a relegation scare this year.
Key Signings: Bruno Henrique, Alessandro Diamanti, Alessandro Gazzi
Key Departures: Franco Vazquez, Achraf Lazaar, Alberto Gilardino, Stefano Sorrentino
Club president Mauro Zamparini is already up to his usual antics as he made his first coaching change just two weeks into the season. Roberto De Zerbi hopped on the coaching carousel as Davide Ballardini was booted out. The four departures listed above were all vital players for this team last year. Neither Franco Vazquez nor Paulo Dybala have been properly replaced at the Sicilian club. Zamparini can change managers, as many times as he wants, but Palermo will certainly be in a relegation battle this season.
Key Signings: Seko Fofana, Rodrigo De Paul, Sven Kums, Ewandro
Key Departures: Antonio Di Natale, Piotr Zielinski, Bruno Fernandes, Valerio Verre
Toto Di Natale is irreplaceable and he will be sorely missed by the Zebrette. Duvan Zapata and Cyril Thereau should certainly be able to score goals, provided they are granted enough service from their teammates. Head coach Giuseppe Iachini is accustomed to relegation battles, and this season will be no different.
Key Singings: Marcus Rohden, Noe Dussenne, Djamel Mesbah, Aleandro Rosi (on loan), Marcello Trotta (on loan), Lorenzo Crisetig (on loan)
Key Departures: Ante Budimir, Gianmarco Ferrari, Leonardo Capezzi
The Calabrian side earned promotion to Italy’s top flight after winning Serie B last season. Davide Nicola took over after Ivan Juric left to join Genoa. Raffaele Palladino brings Serie A experience and will need to provide goals for debutants. It will definitely be a tough task to avoid relegation but Crotone will look to compete and make Calabria proud.
Key Signings: Mauricio Isla, Marco Borriello, Simone Padoin, Bruno Alves, Artur Ionita
Key Departures: Duje Cop, Victor Ibarbo, Luka Krajnc
The Sardinian club did superbly well to sign experienced Serie A talent. Guys that have been around the block and can get the job done. Diego Farias is also an exciting winger to watch, who should perform well. Personally believe Cagliari has enough talent to reach that 40 point benchmark and avoid a relegation battle.
Key Signings: Simone Pepe, Jean-Christophe Bahebeck (on loan), Alberto Aquilani, Bryan Cristante, Cristiano Biraghi, Robert Muric (on loan)
Key Departures: Gianluca Lapadula, Daniele Verde (was on loan)
Massimo Oddo leads The Dolphins in what is to be a big test for the former player. The clubs leading scorer from last year, Gianluca Lapadula, joined Milan for €9 million. Gianluca Capari will be asked to step up and the youngster has looked very bright so far this season. Bahebeck played very well against Inter, notching himself a goal, and looks like a great young talent. The team from Abruzzo has some young talent but do they have enough experience to survive a relegation battle?