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...
The teams or reporters, like you guys here at Football Italia have to start shining the light on Abete and his continual mismanagement of this league. What exactly has he done to help remedy anything that is currently wrong with Calcio? A better question might be what sort of road blocks had he failed to remove, and even help keep in place. Let's see an article go up that heads in this direction.
on the 14th August, 2013 at 1:00pm
But I thought Higuain could only poach and do nothing more?

See, when you don't watch a player, then keep quiet.

If they sign Martinez for a bunch of money, then Napoli fans should be worried about Benitez...even more concerned if he tries to bring either Mascherano or Skrtel, much less both.

If you're gonna spend near Higuain money for Martinez to not have a starting spot, that's a problem...much less on Martinez, who isn't worth it. Why not make a huge offer on Cesc or something? Ehh...
on the 3rd August, 2013 at 5:21pm
I love how Juve fans are hell bent on claiming Inter are cheats and Juve are not. I find that funny. Annoying and dishonourable, but funny.
on the 30th July, 2013 at 10:03am
These signings will not bring the buzz back, far from it. They will only ease the blow a bit for Serie A. Because it is a blow and it has been for some time now. Unfortunately.
on the 30th July, 2013 at 1:48am
Although I do agree that the "Buzz" is returning to Serie A with these big name signings, I can't help but feel that Napoli in particular are spending money for the sake of it, and targeting the wrong players. Higuain is a good, but costly buy. Why now pursue Martinez for a further 30-40 million when they could spend 10-12 on Matri and then invest elsewhere in the team. I also feel that Benitez is too stubborn and only looking to sign his former players, pushing the likes of Insgine out.
on the 29th July, 2013 at 3:56pm
@ No10_Manny : you're honestly proud that a team can win a scudetto and a Champions league by throwing money around? so they can end up like Lazio in 2000 when all those big signings almost bankrupted the team? you want to be like inter and have a factory produced team and no youth so Conte can say "what have they built since the treble?" NOTHING! juve's MVP cost 11 mill & easily worth 90 mill - THAT IS CALLED SMART BUSINESS! Schelotto+Silvestre=14 mill is a disgrace!
on the 29th July, 2013 at 2:28pm
Sorry, PauloCesar, but claiming that Platini is the main culprit for the problems of Italian Calcio, is like making Angela Merkel responsible for 15 years of Berlusconi's mismanagement as Italy's prime minister. Serie A has slept for years and only started understanding what went wrong after having lost the fourth CL slot. But still, no actions to remedy have been taken but the league itself. It is down to single clubs like Juve, Napoli or Fiorentina if some little steps forward have been made.
on the 29th July, 2013 at 1:59pm
This is to mikkel and Milan/Italian football fan Italy won't get back that 4th CL spot
as Italian clubs have not only fallen behind Germany (who they lost the spot to) but they have been inconsistent in Europe the Europa league the past 10 years which now also affects your CL now.
on the 29th July, 2013 at 9:14am
Italy will win another world cup within the next 3 finals. Let all the top foreigners go to France or England. Italy can focus on it's own talents and forge a strong team of united players and win it's 5th WC.
on the 29th July, 2013 at 9:06am
@ Me

If I was condescending towards you, it is because I am a self-proclaimed Misanthropic Narcissist and that is something I just do naturally. It has been very interesting verbally jousting with you and I believe given your handle you are quite narcissistic yourself. This has been fun and I hope we cross swords again sometime.
on the 29th July, 2013 at 1:40am
@ Me,

I believe that Napoli are looking to build and do an awful lot more competing this season. To do that, a quality squad of players is needed. Higuain is a great purchase, but not enough and another top class forward is needed. If they have to spend 15-20 million to get him, then they will.

You seem to think that Napoli only need one forward. Doesn't matter if Rafa likes to play 1 up top or not. He knows he'll need other options.

Let's just agree to disagree.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 5:12pm

Don't agree at all. Serie A has struggled because of scandal and because, for a while, they didn't produce many great, Donadoni wasn't ready for the job as the NT Coach and Lippi was brought back to bring nothing. Scandal and perception, that's it.

@Jacky Boy;

Adult manner? You keep sending your condolences to me, which would be condescending enough were I Napoli fan, but you do it when I've made clear I'm not. Spare me the the high road you think you're on.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 4:07pm
@ Me

Instead of debating in a adult mannner, you seem to think insulting everyone on here is clever and impressive.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 3:22pm
If Italian teams want to recapture the success enjoyed in the early 90's, then they need to adopt the same principles they had back then. Sides with predominantly Italian players, 3-4 foreigners of excellent quality. The decline of Italian clubs didn't happen overnight with the arrival of sheikhs, it began with the Bosman ruling.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 5:44am
Also, people have this ridiculous idea of what Higuain is. How is a guy capable of playing in the midfield (if you haven't seen him play in the midfield than you haven't seen him) nothing but a poacher? People talk a lot about what they just ran thru.

Lastly, it's such a shame to anyone who thinks the Bundesliga is ahead of Serie A. If Bayern and Dortmund transferred to Serie A then Bayern would be Bayern and Dortmund would FIGHT for 3rd. The teams below wouldn't qualify in the top 5.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 5:12am

You keep referring to me as a Napoli fan. I'm already bored with you.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 5:09am

First of all, United are likely to sell Rooney and we have no reason to believe (yet) that Cavani and Zlatan can play together.

Second, those teams play with more than one forward. Not that Benzema is of any importance, as he has yet to show he has any balls, but Madrid play CR7 and someone else. Barcelona haven't yet played with Neymar, but they play a 3 man attack. And those guys are all versatile. There is no space for what you're asking for.
on the 28th July, 2013 at 5:09am
@ Dino Al

I agree with many of your points. On a tactical level, I still believe Italy is the most difficult league to adapt to. Higuain is a penalty box striker and needs the service to score many of his goals, unlike Cavani, who can score any type of goal. Replacing Cavani and De Sanctis with Higuain and Reina, for me, makes Napoli a lot weaker. Juventus, on the other hand, have kept all their champions, have strengthened their attack and will score goals as a team from every position.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 8:39pm
To Milan fan: Italy wont get their 4 th CL spot again anytime soon since Germany, Spain and England are miles ahead. Building new stadium and creating talents seem to be the way forward!?!
on the 27th July, 2013 at 7:04pm
@ Me,

I also mention that we need a 15-20 goal striker to share the goals. How would this player get these goals without playing? No, I don't expect Napoli to buy a player like Soldado and sit him on the bench. He would get plenty of game time as Napoli are now looking to hit the next level and realistically challenge for 3 trophies a season. You don't do this with one striker, which is what we had with Cavani for 3 years. When he was injured or suspended, we struggled and lost ground on Juve.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 6:43pm
@ Me, team's capable of winning league and champions league with top strikers;

Real Madrid: Ronaldo, Benzema

Barcelona: Messi, Neymar, Alexis

ManUtd: Rooney, VP, Hernandez

PSG: Ibra, Lavezzi, Cavani

Now, each of the above clubs bar Napoli has other striking options that keep them in the hunt if injuries and suspensions occur. At this stage Napoli do not, and they are aware of that. Which is why they are looking at adding another top striker. It's obvious to all but you. Daft sticks, sorry.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 6:27pm
I'm sure Higuain will score more goals than Tevez in total, but I believe Tevez will score the more vital goals. Napoli are reminding me of Inter during the mid to late 90's and the early 2000's when they used to regularly spend fortunes on top players like Ronaldo, Vieri, Djorkaeff, Crespo, Seedorf and many more, but they never beat Juventus to the Scudetto. Can Napoli seriously challenge Conte's Black and White machine...I certainly won't be losing any sleep about their challenge.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 4:17pm

May i remind you that it doesn't matter who scores more goals but who ends up winning the title! You may have a reason to be so optimistic with all the players Napoli brought but you have a new Coach that didn't do well last time he was in Serie A, some players that have never played in Italy and lets be honest Higuain is not Cavani and without some major help he won't be able to carry Napoli the way Cavani did. It will be up to Benitez to bring out the best out of this team, personally i have my doubts that Benitez will deliver, let's just hope Napoli don't end up broke in trying to satisfy his player needs.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 2:52pm

No one is trolling. And daft is hardly something you could say about me. My comment to the other guy were fair. My comment to you was not rude but what you're saying was quite ridiculous. Ridiculous to the point that you're incapable of clarifying without contradicting. Again, Soldado costs a lot of money. You would be spending that on a #2 striker, for a team that plays 4-2-3-1 (the plague). He's expensive, not a backup, and would be playing backup.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 2:43pm
@Jack and Mohammed;

You're right, stats do not tell the story. I wonder how many of the CL games you've watched, if you've noticed how inconsistently he starts. I wonder if you've seen the mess that is Madrid, even when the draw helps threm thru to the semis the last 3 seasons.

I'm a Napoli fan? Thank you for this news. Higuain is a better goal scorer than Tevez, tho not a better player. But anyone who thinks Higuain scores goals and nothing more has simply never watched him play.
on the 27th July, 2013 at 2:38pm
To be honest serie a even in the darkest days after calciopoli made grandiose signings which were affordable it was really just a case of milan and inter committing financial suicide season after season. The real difference for me being the amount of young mainly Italian players being utilised by the big Italian sides and milan/inter actually making a real attempt to cut costs. As for napoli why o why do they listen to rafa on transfer matters he is a master of wasting money
on the 27th July, 2013 at 2:33pm

I'm sorry, but Soldado is going for stupid money. You mentioned him by name so what else might you mean? Really tho, you had Cavani for three seasons and who did you have backing him up? Napoli is in no position to get a player like Soldado to use as a backup. And Soldado would have no interest in playing second fiddle. You made the point and then you tell me otherwise. Again, you've had only Cavani the last three seasons. What are you actually trying to say?
on the 27th July, 2013 at 2:32pm
Higuain will score and keep the Napoli fans happy. He will surprise a few of the doubters as you could put a real donkey in attack and he will still score because of the support the Napoli midfield and support strikers give. Only hoping that Benitez keeps allowing Napoli to play exciting football. To all Juve fans I bet Higuain scores more goals than Tevez or Llorente this year. In fact I'm guessing Llorente will leave by the end of the season and Tevez will argue with Conte and be dropped!
on the 27th July, 2013 at 8:53am
meanwhile in-chea-ter milan might going lower than 9th positions lol
on the 27th July, 2013 at 6:50am
@ Me (what a vivid imagination you have)

I have seen a lot of Higuain and I stand by what I say. He has an excellent goalscoring record, but records do not always tell the full story. I understand, as a Napoli fan, that you are desperate for Higuain to prove he is worth the colossal outlay, but at the end of the season it will be Carlos Tevez with a Scudetto winners medal not his fellow countryman. Napoli are not in Juventus' ballpark. Never have been...never will be!!!
on the 27th July, 2013 at 3:47am

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