Friday July 13 2018
Serie A is stepping up

With a list of proven winners, emerging talent and four teams back in the Champions League, Serie A is making a huge step up, writes Vilizar Yakimov.

It’s been a while since there has been so much excitement before the start of a Serie A campaign. It’s only the middle of July, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism for Calcio fans, as putting Milan aside, all of the Serie A big guns have made a significant leap in quality compared to last year.

Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at Napoli is expected to insert a much-needed winning mentality into the Partenopei’s game and is likely to tempt more top players at the club.

Unlike his predecessor Maurizio Sarri, Carletto would never tolerate Napoli’s shameful displays from last year in the Champions League, Europa League and Coppa Italia. Ancelotti is a proven winner, Sarri is not, and as much as Napoli fans were fond of their ex-Coach, his approach was holding their team back.

Another Scudetto contender, Roma managed to improve their financial stability and are putting together a very exciting and talented squad, which boasts some of the finest young players in Europe. Cengiz Under looks ready to make the next step after a very good debut season in Italy, while the arrivals of Justin Kluivert and Ante Coric for reasonable transfer fees mean that Roma now have three potential wonderkids in their squad.

The only disappointment for the tifosi of the Giallorossi so far has been Radja Nainggolan’s transfer to Inter, but Javier Pastore arrived and there is still plenty of time for Monchi to find another quality midfielder.

Speaking of Radja’s transfer to Inter, the Nerazzurri managed to pull of a remarkable deal for arguably Serie A’s best midfielder in the last couple of seasons and they did even better by snapping up Stefan De Vrij for freefrom Lazio. Rafinha’s departure and Joao Cancello’s transfer to Juventus are losses for Inter, but Champions League qualification makes a huge difference when it comes to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, so the Nerazzurri will undoubtedly make some big transfers before deadline day.

With the club finallyfinding some stability, Mauro Icardi set to stay and Luciano Spalletti ready to start his second season as their Coach, Inter has the potential to do something extraordinary.

When it comes to Lazio, the Biancocelesti’s narrow miss on a Champions League spot last year might cost them dearly, as they already lost their best defender, who departed for Inter. However, similarly to Spalletti, Simone Inzaghi is set to start his second season at the helm of the club, after doing remarkably well in his first one.

The arrivals of Francesco Acerbi from Sassuolo and Valon Berisha from Salzburg will add depth and increase the overall quality of the squad. Ciro Immobile looks set to stay and his presence would guarantee the goals. If Sergej Milinkovic-Savic does the same, Lazio can potentially be even stronger than last year. If the Serbian leaves, it would be for an excessive figure, which would allow the club to bring in more players, so regardless of the outcome of the saga, Lazio’s gain would be guaranteed.

Of course, we need to mention the cherry on the cake, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable arrival at Juventus will do wonders for the Bianconeri on and off the pitch. Ronaldo’s impact is so huge that the whole of Italian football will see increased revenues, just because of his presence in the league. On the field, it arguably makes their attacking force the best in Europa, as the Bianconeri currently have Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Douglas Costa, Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi on their books.

While CR7s’ arrival means that Higuain will most likely leave, very few, if any, Juventini would complain. As things stand, Juventus look like one of the biggest favourites for the Champions League next year and while the Bianconeri were amongst the top contenders in previous seasons, next year they’ll have the biggest advantage - they won’t have to face Ronaldo.

It is really encouraging to see Napoli, Roma and Inter also looking ready for a serious Champions League run, which means that for a first time in a while, Italy will have four really good teams participating in the lost elite competition on the Continent.

The fight to enter the Europa League will be tougher than ever too, as Atalanta continue to not only churn out talent from their youth academy, but also purchase the likes of Colombia international Duvan Zapata from Sampdoria.

Fiorentina are determined to keep hold of Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone, while picking up very talented French goalkeeper Alban Lafont. Samp lost Lucas Torreira and Duvan Zapata, but brought in Jakub Jankto from Udinese and can develop Poland international Dawid Kownacki into a real star.

This is a clear sign of the growth of Italian football, which will be improved even further by Parma’s extraordinary revival and their return to Serie A. It is just the middle of July, but we can easily conclude even at this point - Calcio is stepping up.

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Have your say...
People around the world and in Italy are seriously overlooking Inter. They have arguably some of the strongest defenders in the world with Miranda, Devrij and Skrinier and a midfield that can hold their own against the best of them with valero, Radja, Gaglia, Vecino and a front line which includes one of the best hitman in the world (icardi) mixed with youth like politano, martinez, karamoh and world cup star Perisic. Dont be suprised if they make a great champions league and scudetto run.
on the 22nd July, 2018 at 7:26am
Only Juventus at the moment are capable of any success as regards the Champions League and as stated in above comments as long as clubs don't own their own stadiums and the investments owning brings then Napoli,Roma,Inter and Milan will continue to just barely hang on to the Juventus coattails here comes Serie A and Coppa double again.
on the 21st July, 2018 at 6:48pm
@Bored of it - I was about to say the same thing. Roma getting these players is no different to their normal approach - get good potential, hope they perform and sell them to the EPL for a huge profit. Lazio will lose their best players from last season. Napoli may have got Ancelotti but truth be told, I don't think there was anywhere else he could have gone to other than Milan. In the end, apart from Ronaldo, we'll probably only see players moving between Serie A clubs like Naingollan to Inter
on the 18th July, 2018 at 10:07pm
Nope. I love Serie A but it's clearly being gutted more than ever this summer. It is set to lose, Jorginho, Torreira, Alisson even Felipe Anderson to a poor club. Before the summer is out it's very possible Donnarumma, Bonucci, SMS, Alex Sandro, Rugani, Higuain will leave. Top players like Malcolm and Seri are being lost to Everton and Fulham, it's an apocalypse. What stars are coming in. Ronaldo. That's it. Diaz and Kluivert are nice signings but overall the league has become less competitive
on the 18th July, 2018 at 5:19pm
Stop it. Serie A is the new bundesliga. Juve are the Bayern of Serie A. It’s just Juve that are carrying Serie A. The other teams are hopeless. The other teams best ambitions are fourth place.

The league is all about Juve and Juve only. It’s not suddenly become great because of ronaldo. He came here to retire. If he gets injured seriously Juve are in trouble.
on the 16th July, 2018 at 10:32pm
on the 14th July, 2018 at 11:39pm
5 years ago people wouldve laughed at the report of someone like CR7 coming to Serie A, now its happened. The league is on the up no matter what anyone says.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 6:29pm
Italy's stadiums ranked worst in Europe... So why don't you start by linking a source for that ridiculous claim? There are 50 countries in Europe.
on the 14th July, 2018 at 4:40am
I can't see Bernadeschi getting any game time at Juve.
His competition are Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa, Juan Cuadrado, and Mario Mandzukic. Good luck Federico!
That said, I could see him staying at least one more year regardless of playing time. He will relish the chance to train/play alongside Ronaldo and will have dreams of winning the UCL. Expect him to move on eventually though.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 11:08pm
@who else but dybala: 1st even with Ronaldo entry, I move that dybala remains the most naturally gifted player in Juve but Ronaldo is the most effective. 2. I think Roma have had a more impressive window than Inter. Juve even after Ronaldo coup I think are third sportingly but 1st economically in transfer window. Ante Coric for approx 10M is serious. Then pastore and Kluivert.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 10:33pm
I think the mayors are very corrupt in Italy. And the national government in Italy does not intervene in approval of stadia despite what it can do for the Italian economy. that tells me that even the national govt is corrupt. It's obvious this will increase the money coming into Italy but they stand aloof.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 10:23pm
Now we only need ref's to stop favouring Juventus. Then serie a will be great again.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 9:26pm
Italy's stadiums are ranked the worst in Europe... i've been to 3 of them... worst is san paolo... it's barely safe.. I'd hate to be in it in an earhtquake! Olimpico has that horrible running track like napoli.. so far from play
on the 13th July, 2018 at 8:17pm
O please. Stepping up!!! Why, because Ronaldo arrived? Serie A need reform. Less forgeiners not more esp not with Egos like Ronaldo. Hes probably earning more than 5 of the bottom clubs in Serie A.
All top clubs are rammed solid with forgeiners, wheres the italian talent?
Rhis isnt stepping up this is filling thw cracks and hoping no will see.
Ronaldo will not save Serie A....
on the 13th July, 2018 at 3:01pm
Roma have had a very shrewd market, I like the signings they've made especially Pastore as creativity is what they've lacked since Pjanic left. I must also congratulate Inter as the few additions they've made should raise their team to the next level. Juve's is obviously great. My Milan are finally free of Li and hopefully stability awaits us. I am most excited about Fiorentina though, their window has been exceptional and I cant wait to see how that team does next year. Calcio is on the way up
on the 13th July, 2018 at 2:43pm
@Anonymous. Seriously? Which stadiums and which city will he step in that he won't admire? San siro will be full, Stadio Olimpico will be full, Ferraris will be full, Bologna will be full (beautiful stadium and city), Cagliari will be a lovely place to play, Azzurri d'italia is always full, Chievo have great fans and based in a lovely city, Tardini is 100% going to be full and so will Udine. Like in spain, there are the smaller clubs, but even their stadiums will be packed.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 2:23pm
So you have not seen the stadiums in La liga... Eibar had a 6000 capacity. Legnanes 8000 capacity. Girona 9000, and a bunch of stadiums around or bellow 20 000. With most stadiums being old. Camp Nou was build in 1956. Santiago Bernabéu 1947. Estadio Mestalla 1923.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 12:48pm
Stadiums are terrible as someone pointed out... Third world terrible... Ronaldo is going to step into many of these stadiums and think, "Oh my, is this the top flight league I signed up for..."
on the 13th July, 2018 at 10:57am
Excluding Ronaldo's arrival at Juve, Inter have had the best transfer season so far!
on the 13th July, 2018 at 10:28am
Hopefully Milan will do some business and make a impression.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 10:01am
And this would be far better if only every club had their own stadiums which was not an easy tasks since some (or many) Italian clubs are facing financial problems.

But someday .. who knows?
on the 13th July, 2018 at 4:34am
Great article highlighting the improvements made in Serie A, in only July, the world cup isn't even over yet!
on the 13th July, 2018 at 4:07am
Hopefully Serie A will return back to the very top in the coming years.. as well as the Italian National team hopefully.
on the 13th July, 2018 at 3:15am

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