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Friday July 26 2013
Bringing back the buzz

Italy may have lost a host of talented players to richer foreign clubs this summer, but Giancarlo Rinaldi is encouraged by a number of Serie A signings.

Abandon hope, all ye who follow Italian football. In recent years, the summer transfer window has assumed a hellish nature for anyone who holds Calcio close to their heart. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over every big name departure from the peninsula.

Napoli and Roma both found the newly-discovered financial clout of Paris Saint-Germain irresistible as they sent Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos across the Alps. Fiorentina eventually got a big money buyer for Stevan Jovetic in the shape of Manchester City. In the process, Serie A was shorn of three of its finest performers.

Cue the claims of terminal decline in the Division and bleak forecasts for the future. No doubt the League is a less thrilling place for their departure but, with about €100m going into Calcio coffers, was it really such bad business? The proof, of course, comes with the reinvestment process.

In Tuscany, that is already under way. Huge crowds turned out to greet new arrival Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich and season ticket sales are soaring. With repeated rumours that even Marco Verratti might be tempted to join the Viola "project" – nobody at the Stadio Artemio Franchi is feeling too downbeat about the new season.

And how about in Naples, where they have just punched a huge hole in their attack and filled it with a pile of cash? Aurelio De Laurentiis has promised new manager Rafa Benitez a huge war chest to plough into the transfer market. The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, for example, has surely eased the pain.

Roma, too, have been spending their Marquinhos bonus on arrivals like Kevin Strootman and Mehdi Benatia. Only time will tell if they perform better or worse without their teenage Brazilian talent. But it is worth remembering that even with him in the side they still missed out on European football last year.

Other sides, too, have been trying to give a little glamour back to Serie A. Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez might not be outright elite names in world football, but they are both top quality performers added to the Juventus ranks. Inter have done their shopping closer to home with young strikers Mauro Icardi and Ishak Belfodil joining the fray. And Milan are continually courting Keisuke Honda in a deal which would surely put a smile on Adriano Galliani's face.

Of course, only the truly bonkers or blinkered could compare this era with the golden age of big spending Italian sides snapping up whoever they liked each summer. There are simply some transfer fees which are beyond the reach of Serie A teams these days. If you don't have a sheikh or an oligarch on board, your strategy needs to be a bit more inventive than simply: "Pay them whatever it takes."

That does not have to spell disaster, however. It simply requires clubs to think a little differently in how they approach each Calciomercato campaign. A combination of opportunism, imagination and the occasional outright gamble can still produce impressive results.

Is it likely to mean they can compete with the mega-big spenders? Probably not. However, it can still bring some of the buzz back to Serie A and allow its clubs to build a more sustainable model than they had in the past. Money, of course, still talks but there are other factors Italian teams can utilise in their efforts to attract players. Improving their stadia, better marketing and drawing back the fans are all part of that package.

So it does not have to be all doom and gloom. There will be great players leaving the country but we can also coax a few back into the fold. A resurgent Juve, the Milanese giants, free-flowing Fiorentina, the capital clubs, Udinese's global scouting scheme and many other clubs can do their bit to bring Italian football back into the limelight. We can't do things like we used to do them, perhaps, but that doesn't mean we don't still have some good times in store.

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Have your say...
Platini screwed Italy with the rewardind of the hosting rights to Euro 2016 to France, even after France hosted WC just 15 years ago while Italy last hosted 1990 WC and Euro 1980. Italy needs new stadiums and infrastructure, but Platini, who was loved by Juve and Calcio tifossi in the 80's, has backstabbed calcio and its growth. The talent of youth and experience of the players is keeping alive Calcio, not the administrators, coaches who abandon the league for money, or the racist fans.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 3:21am
@ Me,

This is a comments page for serious Italian football fans, not trolls who are looking to get attention with their attacking comments. If that's your game, may I suggest a few of the tabloid sites. They'd love someone as daft as you!
on the 27th July, 2013 at 3:04am
@ Me

Where did you read me state that Napoli should spend "stupid money" on a striker? So, in your opinion, Napoli should sign one top class striker, and put the goal getting on his back alone? Are you that ignorant? How far would Napoli go if Higuain get's injured and is out of action for a month or more?

I hope that you are just new to football to make a brainless comment like that. My advice would be to stick to something you know, maybe fishing?
on the 27th July, 2013 at 3:00am
Can someone tell when will Italian league have 4 teams back in the CL please because it's a big shame that we lost a space
on the 27th July, 2013 at 12:34am
@me
everyone knows higuain is a big game flop. He scores consistently against the smaller teams. However, in over 45 CL games with a WC team like RM, he's only scored 8 goals. Even there, his goals come against the smaller teams. I have no doubt he'll get over 20 goals in serie a this season. But nearly everyone of those goals will ne against teams on the bottom 10 of the table.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 12:16am
If Italy build new stadiums then they can attract double the amount.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 11:07pm
@Jack;

If you've never watched Higuain play then your mouth should be shut. Going by your comments, you've never seen Higuain play.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 9:41pm
@Maradonamac10;

That's truly one of the most ridiculous things I've heard recently. So they should shell out stupid money to have a guy back up somebody else? They should spend more than twice on Soldado than Juventus spent on Tevez? OK then. Honestly, that's a truly stupid statement.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 9:39pm
Whilst Cavani and to a lesser extent Marqhuinos are losses for the Serie A, I think that Jovetic is not the same player after his knee injury and is too injury prone. On balance the Serie A has strengthened - Tevez, Llorente, Higuain, Gomez all will combine to provide more goals to the Serie A than Cavani and Jovetic combined and goals are what excites fans the most. The fact that season ticket sales are up for Juve, Napoli, Fiorentina and Roma is testament to a resurgent Serie A!
on the 26th July, 2013 at 9:05pm
@Lullugallo Enterprise

Haha your so deluded I swear, 500 million euro's!?!? Higuain cost more than the entire juve starting line up!! Lmao and more teams be like udinese!? Who make champions league then sell series a stars to Spainish teams and waste there career and don't even make the group stage!? Okay mate cause your a clever lad,

Juventus Napoli Fiorentina Roma have took series A that step higher in being a more of a a passionate, quality and exciting league than Spanish an German league
on the 26th July, 2013 at 6:59pm
Tevez is a better fit than Higuain and I am glad we didn't invest 80 million in a player who scores against weaker teams, but flatters to deceive in big games. Higuain is a goalscorer period, Tevez will go wide or drop deep, pulling defenders out of position and create lots of space for our midfield runners and wing-backs. I think Llorente will take a couple of months to get his match fitness, after being frozen out in Bilbao, but I believe he will prove another shrewd free transfer.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 6:25pm
Can't wait for the kick off, how many goals Serie A will have this season. Super Mario, Gonzalgol, Carlitos join the Capocanonieri race and should be given their best effort in this debut season of them all. Also Maybe not famous as Roma Marquinhos but to me Lazio Filipe Anderson could be this season emerging young talent. Forget Juve or Duo Milan, i say this season every team have chance to dream the title (even Sassulo could win Trofeo against Juve in pre season, am i wrong?). So excited !!
on the 26th July, 2013 at 3:52pm
As impressive as Napoli are in the transfer market though, they still lack the firepower backup that Juventus have. Right now we have Higuain as the main striker, but if he were to be unavailable we could have issues.
Yes Hamsik, Pandev and Insigne are there to provide also, but Napoli need at least another 15-20 goal a season striker to push Juve all the way.

Soldado would be a great purchase.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 3:40pm
Great to see big names in summer transfer, to be as a super supporter of Serie A from China, I will never regret to have my all life with Serie A together. Milan should keep their promising stars for the motivation of team. I do not expect to see litter pharaoh to leave, and wish Insigne can have his position in newly Napoli.I will always keep my eyes on such talents. It will be nicer if Serie A can purchase some players from China.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 2:41pm
If you replaced Juventus with Madrid and Milan with Barcelona, Serie A would be the near unanimous choice as world's best league...

Napoli have done so much right...and then they go and get Reina...genuinely a poor move. Fiorentina will land the best GK on the market...the second best GK in the world, still.

Have to wonder about Roma tho...Strootman to a team that has enough CM's. Michael Bradley is actually better than he is.

And I have to say...Veratti is exactly who Napoli need.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 2:21pm
The milano-duo is not keeping up with the rest of the country. Fiorentina, napoli and roma must be praised for their effort this summer, even juventus blocking ogbonna from leaving the italian league.

The italian scouting system is excellent bringing great players for cheap money and selling them for a high price.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 2:07pm
It's been a good summer so far. Cavani, Jovetic and Marquinhos are losses but they've been replaced properly, which is all fans ask for.

The Milan's are the only let-down. Inter need a host of new players, but there's no excuse for Milan. Stop messing about and get Honda and a proper centre-back.

Roma should go for Damiao or Lukaku if they sell Osvaldo.

Lazio need a bit more, while it would be great to see Verrati at Napoli. Fiorentina are ok, while Udinese will probably unearth more talent
on the 26th July, 2013 at 2:01pm
Yes.... credit to Napoli.
Just like what Conte said earlier.
Napoli will have enough money to strengthen their squad when Cavani go.
Oh.. well... the bright side is... SerieA become much more attractive than last season.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 1:49pm
Really impressed with Napoli! Showing that they are here to stay, not just a flash in the pan. I was very disappointed to lose Mazzarri. However, if anything, they have already made a bigger name for themselves without kicking a ball. De La deserves all the credit in the world, as he is building a Napoli for the future and is putting his money where is usually big mouth is!
If the players can respond well to Benitez, then a seriously good season is in store!
on the 26th July, 2013 at 1:25pm
Higuain is the best signing that Serie A made. I wished Juve would've brought him instead of the clown Tevez. Higuain is clever and knows how to find the goal in the slightest of chances. That's what Juve needed. He is a poacher, close to Trezeguet type of player.

I just don't agree with those fans who consider Llorente,Tevez or even Jovetic as world class. They're decent, but Juve could've done better.

But I know Conte will make the most out of them.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 1:23pm
Serie A - keep selling high and buying Low - that is how our teams will remain competitive in such a bad italian market. We need more teams like Udinese who find stars, culture them and then sell to the highest bidder. more gems in the rough need to be found such as Emegerra of Siena and then sold to a stronger side. I am waiting for Juventus to prove that you can win CL withour spending 500 million euros on your starting lineup. poor spending deserves to be punished with termination eg. Branca!
on the 26th July, 2013 at 1:20pm
Let's talk again after X-Mas and then we will see WHO IS WHO. FORZA JUVE!!!
on the 26th July, 2013 at 1:14pm
Napoli and Fiorentina have done great in the market but they are only going to be fighting over third spot
on the 26th July, 2013 at 12:44pm
Great signing just what we needed Gonzalo will help balance out of style of play and we won't be so reliable on just him like we were Cavani while he still will net a bunch of goals I expect him and Hamsik and Insigne to accommodate each other very well. If we can bring in Martinez or Damiaio that would be absolutely ideal. Credit ADL and Benitez for who they brought In so far we have made great moves. Callejon, Albiol, mertens, Rafael, Reina.I can't wait for the season to kick-off. Forza Napoli
on the 26th July, 2013 at 12:40pm
Napoli deserve credit, they got money then bought very good popular players. A bit like Juve with Zidane.

I think, giancarlo, the issue is with teams that sell their top players and do not replace them. I talk of course about inter and milan. ibra, silva, sneijder, etoo, kaka, shevchenko, motta, maicon. Massive players that were sold and replaced with nobodys. That is what infuriates ppl.
on the 26th July, 2013 at 12:36pm
great article and what a great summer, with napoli still looking at a midfielder and attacker, and roma still waiting to sell osvaldo( gervinhio is suicide)it adds to a more competitive season.
unfortunatly the 2 milan clubs are falling behind, hopefully with mazzari there can be a clear direction on what the future plans of the club are, and milan need more in defence if they want to challenge for champions league, fiorentina look great and hopefully a gk will arrive along with a midfielder
on the 26th July, 2013 at 12:12pm

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