5 Players AC Milan, Inter and Juventus Will All Be Fighting over This Summer
With the Scudetto wrapped up for another season in Turin, the race for the next victory is on. But before Serie A's heavyweights can contend for next season's title, they'll battle it out off the pitch in the transfer market.
AC Milan, Inter and even the 2012-13 champions Juventus will all be looking to improve their squads. Max Allegri and the Rossoneri have a fine crop of young talent, but weaknesses remain, while Antonio Conte will be looking to add the finishing touches to his imperious Juve ahead of next season's league defence and Champions League assault. Andrea Stramaccioni, meanwhile, will be looking to start afresh as soon as possible following a disappointing and frustrating year for the Nerazzurri.
So who will they be fighting over?
Even as this article is being typed, there are unconfirmed reports circling in Italy that Daniele Bonera has signed with Juventus for next season. Some hopeful fan—or possibly a confident agent?—has already edited his Wikipedia page.
Bonera has been at AC Milan since 2006, and while he's never been a guaranteed starter, he has been a consistent presence in all of the Rossoneri's successful exploits. He also has some international experience with Italy, and, though he's 31, as a free agent he'd represent good value for Juventus.
Conte will need strength in all areas of the pitch ahead of 2013-14's multi-faceted campaign, and Bonera's ability to play as centre-back or on the right would mean very useful cover over a long season.
Mario Gomez is 27, a regular for Germany and has scored 75 goals in less than 115 league games for Bayern Munich, but according to the rumour mill (here, via football-italia.net), the Bavarians are looking to offload the forward.
Manchester City and Chelsea are interested, too, says the Express, but Juventus and Inter are favourites to land the mercurial striker.
There's even suggestion that Bayern might reduce their asking price for the player who has doesn't fit their team and obviously isn't part of new coach Pep Guardiola's plans for 2013-14.
Anyone who saw him score a six-minute hat-trick against VfL Wolfsburg this year will understand why Italy's top clubs are interested.
Sampdoria's Andrea Poli is one of the hottest properties in Serie A.
This year, the talented midfielder has not only broken into Cesare Prandelli's Italy team, he's also attracted interest from Juventus and AC Milan.
Poli made a name for himself last season while on loan at Inter and was set to join Juve back in January, but the Turin giants failed to finalise the deal on time. Now, rumour has it that the Rossoneri are out to scupper the deal (here, via goal.com).
His current club will be hoping to cash in this summer because Poli's current contract expires in 2014, and, judging from the interest surrounding the player, they look set to make a tidy sum on his transfer wherever he ends up.
There's no doubting Mauricio Isla's quality, but the 24-year-old Chilean has been a bit of a disappointment since moving from Udinese to Juventus.
In Udine, Isla notched up 127 league appearances in five years, becoming an integral part of coach Francesco Guidolin's setup and one of the most admired players in the league. In Turin, however, he's failed to make an impression.
Isla is extremely versatile, comfortable across the back and in advanced midfield positions. He can defend and attack, he's an established international for a talented Chile side and he's not even reached his prime. One mediocre season won't be reason enough for Juve to give up on him. But perhaps sensing hesitation, Inter are reportedly snooping around, refreshing a long-term interest in the dynamic defender (here, via forzaitalianfootball.com).
It's fair to say that Alessandro Diamanti is something of a late bloomer. The 30-year-old has been at nine different clubs in his career, with mixed success. Since joining Bologna from Brescia, however, the affable attacking midfielder seems to have finally found his comfort zone.
In a country so associated with iconic No. 10s in the attacking midfield, it's a measure of Diamanti's ability that he has been called up to the Italian national team. And while he might never be certain of a starting place in Prandelli's strongest XI, the Bologna man is popular with the coach and the players and has proven he can be influential.
Giorgio Chiellini is one of Diamanti's fans, telling the press recently that he hopes Juve can sign his friend ahead of next season. Chiellini's side will have competition for the midfielder's signature, however, because according to reports (covered here, by goal.com) Inter are said to be interested as well.