Wednesday September 2 2020
Serie A always dragging its heels

A lack of organisation and planning has always been the bane of Serie A and the build-up to the 2020-21 season is a perfect example, writes Kaustubh Pandey.

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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Have your say...
Serie A needs to be cut to 18 teams.
on the 10th September, 2020 at 1:34pm
Typical Italian press, always complaining and complaining about this and that. Every other league starts before the italian league yet they aren't complaining. I fully agree that Serie A isn't run properly and there are opportunities to increase TV Rights deals, but literally every league, or company or person has noticed a financial decline due to COVID. Italians need to stop finding scapegoats to blame and work with what they have.
on the 4th September, 2020 at 6:19pm
Maybe Serie A could try and use the recent Chinese TV rights issues with the EPL and strike a deal with PPTV who are owned by Suning and increase the overseas TV rights for Serie A clubs. These are the sort of deals that make huge difference to the financial power of teams
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 6:31pm
i don't think Italy is very good at the business administration in general side of things for example trying to do some personal banking with any italian bank is an absolute nightmare.
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 5:40pm
Serie A could do with reforming but it takes time, other leagues have issues too-TPL complains about Christmas + the fixture list leaving players injured or too exhausted to compete. The Lega is looking at a new deal to become a brand, move more into social media, build new stadiums...etc and there is a lot of interest from private-equity funds/companies to buy a stake in it. They see the potential is huge. IF the clubs can agree to move forward together then Serie A has a lot going for it!
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 3:18pm
italian clubs have to stop buying foriegn players that are not good enough for the club they play for and are only in italy there for their pension before they retire
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 1:45pm
The transfer window is long enough. You could double it, but many clubs will still leave concluding deals to the last minute.
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 9:40am
Serie A's decline has coincided with the invention of the internet and general technological advancements. Once upon a time all Italian clubs were owned by rich Italians who lets face it were likely engaging in plenty of dodgy dealing and corruption to obtain their wealth. With technological advancements those dealings became more difficult as they were easier to spot by the authorities and so Italian owners began to have less money to plough into the clubs thus falling behind the other leagues
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 8:52am
For the big clubs, loans sometimes is the only one option, if they want to avoid problems with stupid FFP regulations.
On the other hand, loan deals can help big clubs to minimise some risks. Tonali`s example - if this guy will be a flop, Milan will lose only 10 mln. spend on loan, instead of losing 30+ mln.
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 8:15am
Biggest problem is the stadiums. Once every club have their own, then I believe Serie A will slowly get back to where it used to be. More relaxed tax laws have already helped.
on the 3rd September, 2020 at 5:09am
Serie A has the clubs and the history to become a league on level with La Liga and the PL, but it's like Italy is lacking the will to make that happen. From bad organisation to how hard it is to get a new stadium built, the feeling you get is that there is no clear, overarching goal set for Serie A. Why is nobody saying that they want to make Serie A the best league in the world again? Instead it's like ambitious Italian clubs are forced to fight the system in order to get anywhere at all.
on the 2nd September, 2020 at 8:16pm
It's really a joke. Italian Clubs have done so poorly in Europe they are already a laughing stock. As a home for rejects from every league, it has to stop. Pedro to roma being the latest. I mean come on..serie a will fall again into obscurity unless something is done asap
on the 2nd September, 2020 at 7:23pm
The whole of Italy is badly run, not just football.
on the 2nd September, 2020 at 6:20pm
It has to be one of the worst-run leagues ever. It really is a joke at times

Those loans/options should be drastically reduced, especially for the big clubs. All they do is leave clubs unstable and players unsettled

Loan deals for promoted/recently promoted clubs are a good idea. But established clubs should be severely restricted from making numerous loan deals

That way it evens the field a bit and makes clubs and players commit instead of being short-term - just like so much else in Serie A
on the 2nd September, 2020 at 4:15pm

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