Italian football is not run the same way as other leagues. We all know this, and it remains one of the main reasons why Serie A has struggled financially when compared to many other top five European Leagues. The problems are bound to build up again this summer, as the transfer session runs from September 1 to October 5 and is in full swing well after the season has started on September 19.
While deals have already been confirmed before the window officially swung open before Tuesday, Serie A clubs have the window open for only about a month. That is a considerably short amount of time, as compared to the other top five European leagues. The Premier League’s window has run for 10 weeks and even after the deadline of October 5, clubs will be allowed to make domestic moves for 11 days more.
The Bundesliga had two windows, with the second one set to go on till October. La Liga’s window will last a couple of months and Ligue 1 have had two different windows themselves. Whether this will put Italian clubs at a massive disadvantage in European football remains to be seen, but the shortage of days to complete deals doesn’t help anyone during these tough times.
Serie A always sees buckets of loan and obligation to buy deals go through. Those are as a result of financial constraints that clubs always have. Serie A sides become a subject of ridicule from fans of foreign clubs for conducting arrangements in this manner, but that has always been a reality of the situation. More of those deals are expected to happen this summer – Sandro Tonali from Brescia to Milan is a prime example.
That is where the pandemic has affected things even more. Clubs have the constraint of time due to a shorter window and finances because of how the money has been impacted. That comes as a double-edged sword, making it tougher for clubs to get deals over the line. It might not have a visible impact on the bigger clubs, but teams in the lower ranks are bound to have problems. More than that, the coronavirus cases haven’t exactly gone down. Cases have sprung up at Cagliari, Parma, Fiorentina, Roma and more.
In recent seasons, bigger Italian clubs haven’t exactly been too competitive in the market for global superstars and the capacity to compete with La Liga, Bundesliga or Premier League clubs has generally been on the lower side. The current situation has led to them being a bit more cautious about it.
Juve are looking to lighten their wage bill by throwing out deadwood and the idea is to reinvigorate an aging squad. Lazio, whose title challenge was scuppered by a lack of depth, are looking for added options in multiple parts of the pitch. Antonio Conte is looking for ‘his own players’ this summer, while Roma are getting to terms with the new Friedkin ownership. Atalanta seem set to sell Timothy Castagne to Leicester City. That presents the challenge of recruiting the right fits and reach the level that they were at last season.
With all those limitations, clubs will have issues fixing all their problems. The season starting on September 19 won’t help either. Clubs may not have their signings available for the first couple of weeks due to quarantine restrictions and that will surely derail their progress in the 2020-21 campaign. Perhaps, starting the season a bit later would have helped new signings train with the first team and get their fitness on track before they play Serie A football.
All in all, it gives the impression of being a mismanaged state of affairs. While that isn’t quite new in Serie A and a lot of it has been forced by the pandemic, it will certainly come as a disadvantage for clubs when competing in the league or in European competition.
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