The summer transfer window is nearing its end for another year and it certainly lived up to its hype as far as Italy is concerned. Several high-profile players moved to the country, with Matthijs de Ligt snubbing the likes of PSG, Barcelona and Manchester United to join Juventus whilst Inter Milan broke their transfer record to purchase United’s Romelu Lukaku. Meanwhile, there were some eventful changes off the pitch; Fiorentina have seen a new owner take charge in the form of Rocco Commisso, whilst Inter, Juventus, Milan and Roma all changed their head coaches.
With all this in mind, Serie A is becoming more and more of a talking point with football fans across the globe, who are tuning in to watch Italian matches once again. For every big name signing that takes place, credit must also go where it’s due for clubs keeping hold of their star players, especially when there is reported interest from La Liga and the Premier League; these two divisions being often considered as the main rivals for Serie A.
If you had told anyone prior to the window commencing that Roma would keep hold of Nicolò Zaniolo, Edin Dzeko, Cengiz Under and Lorenzo Pellegrini, few would believe you. Likewise, the assumption that Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa would stay with Lazio, especially as far as the Serbian is concerned, would have been met with much confusion. However, amid the big spending sprees of their closest divisional rivals, the Roman clubs kept hold of their stars and this is a real statement of intent for the 2019-20 season.
Roma’s summer was not without loss. After the arrival of highly-rated Portuguese Coach Paulo Fonseca, the Giallorossi saw two departures which looked as if they were going to set a pessimistic tone for the rest of the window. In attempt to make up capital gains for the deadline at the end of June, Roma sold Stephan El Shaarawy to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and Kostas Manolas joined division rivals Napoli. Fonseca’s side also said farewell to full-back Luca Pellegrini, the high-potential youngster leaving to join Juventus in a deal which also saw Leonardo Spinazzola move to the Capital.
These early sales cast a shadow over Roma’s summer and it looked as though it would be long and arduous. Zaniolo and Dzeko were also being heavily linked away from the club at this point, Juventus frequently linked with Zaniolo whilst Inter looked as though they would be poaching Dzeko for nearly the entire window, up until he signed a new deal with the Giallorossi.
Despite all this, Roma managed to get Zaniolo and Dzeko to sign new, long-term contracts. This ensures that even if clubs come sniffing around them next summer, likewise with Turkish forward Cengiz Under, the club will have a much stronger position as far as negotiations are concerned and can try and fight to regain their place in the Champions League, with the side narrowly missing out last season.
Lazio share a similar situation to their fierce rivals, as little as both sides would like to admit it. The Biancocelesti are not in the position to be spending as much as the likes of Inter, Milan, Juventus and Napoli, whilst their good recruitment also has them constantly battling to keep their star players. Last summer, Claudio Lotito’s side fought and succeeded in keeping Ciro Immobile, Milinkovic-Savic and Thomas Strakosha, whilst taking somewhat big hits in the form of Stefan de Vrij’s move to Inter and Felipe Anderson’s departure to join West Ham United.
However, unlike last season, this summer Lazio kept their departures at a minimum, even if it meant a situation where the likes of Patric, Wallace and Riza Durmisi, players whose time in Rome looked to be limited at best, remain at the club come the last week of the window. Despite this, the stars remained and this is what will give Inzaghi’s side confidence.
The Aquile excelled in their season opener against Sampdoria in a 3-0 victory and there will be faith in the Biancocelesti camp, much like with their rivals, that this will be the season to qualify for the Champions League.