Serie A Transfers: Top 6 Unnoticed Summer Signings in Calcio
Italy has been a hot bed for transfer activity as usual this summer.
Serie A clubs have tended to be creative with their transfer strategy in recent years, with money being restricted in most cases.
We have seen lower fees paid and more loans, trades and smaller fees for young players.
That has not changed in Italy, but with some of those younger players blossoming into the finished product after several seasons in Italian football, foreign clubs have come calling with inflated fees that the likes of Fiorentina and Napoli simply could not refuse.
With added funds from the sales of players such as Stevan Jovetic and Edinson Cavani from clubs abroad, a knock-on effect has seen clubs in Italy as busy as ever.
So while Juventus and Napoli have spent big, there have been several lower profile signings that have gone unnoticed in some parts of the media.
Here are my six favourite signings that have flown under the radar.
An overview of all transfers in Italy can be seen via Transfermarkt here and the fees quoted in this piece have been taken from this same source.
Francesco Lodi: Catania to Genoa
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Francesco Lodi has been one of the finest midfielders in Serie A over the last few seasons.
He has been outstanding for an overachieving Catania side as their regista, offering crisp, accurate passing and expertise from set pieces—both in terms of delivery and aiming direct at the goal.
Genoa have snapped up the 29-year-old for an undisclosed fee and it might prove to be one of the best pieces of business this summer.
Genoa often struggled to build continuity due to the sheer numbers that come in and out each transfer window.
That has not changed this summer, but signing a player of Lodi's intelligence will give Fabio Liverani the opportunity to knit the group together quickly.
Watching Lodi's free-kicks is one of the best things on offer for calcio fans. Expect him to lead the Grifone to a comfortable mid-table finish.
Mario Yepes: Milan to Atalanta
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Mario Yepes is one of the great veteran defenders in Italian football.
The 37-year-old joined Atalanta from Milan on a free transfer this summer in something of a surprise move.
The Colombian's contract might have expired, but Milan's defensive options remain weak and the former Chievo centre-back is still a more prominent influence on Los Cafeteros than countryman Cristian Zapata.
For La Dea to bring in a player with 90 international caps at the heart of their defence will be a major boost in their bid to avoid relegation and push into mid-table.
Lucas Biglia: Anderlecht to Lazio
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Lucas Biglia has been tipped to make a big move from Anderlecht for many seasons now, so to finally depart for Lazio will tell us how good the Argentine really is.
As a member of the Argentine national team, a move to the capital will give him the opportunity to cement his place in the squad for Brazil 2014.
The 27-year-old cost £6 million, which seems cheap in comparison to some of the fees handed out this summer. The former Independiente midfielder will add some extra zip to the Biancocelesti's passing game.
With Albano Bizzarri, Diego Novaretti and Cristian Ledesma already in Rome, Biglia has several Argentines to help him settle quickly.
Note: Ledesma represented Italy once at international level, but was born in Argentina and did not move to Europe until he was 18 years old.
Mehdi Benatia: Udinese to Roma
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Mehdi Benatia's arrival in Rome will turn out as one of the Giallorossi's most important moves in recent years.
Finally, Roma have a centre-back to be able to build a solid defence around.
While the Moroccan cost £11.9 million, the incoming £27.6 million from PSG for Marquinhos makes it a sound piece of business.
The former Udinese player is one of Serie A's best defenders. With proven experience in the league, he will be able to slot straight into the starting lineup and perform to his potential.
While Marquinhos has an outstanding future, Roma will argue that they marginally upgraded their defence with this swap, earning £15.7 million in profit.
Joaquin: Malaga to Fiorentina
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Maybe the bargain of the summer; Joaquin has joined Fiorentina from Malaga for the paltry sum of £1.8 million.
The Spaniard might have passed over the headlines to Isco last season in Malaga's magical run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but the 32-year-old was just as crucial to Manuel Pellegrini's success in Andalucia.
With a quality right-winger on board, Vincenzo Montella will at least be able to put extra pressure on Juan Cuadrado to raise his game to even greater heights.
The option of moving to a 4-3-3 with Cuadrado as a right-back and Joaquin in a more advanced role on the right would give the Viola even more versatility.
With his experience of playing in the Champions League, Joaquin will be able to provide the know-how to a squad chasing that dream that they fell agonisingly short of last season.
Manolo Gabbiadini: Juventus to Sampdoria
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Manolo Gabbiadini flattered to deceive somewhat last season on loan at Bologna.
The Azzurrini international was crowded out to an extent by Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Diamanti—who craves the ball more than most players in the league.
The 21-year-old signs for Samp for £4.8 million on a co-ownership deal from Juventus. He will be tasked with replacing Mauro Icardi, who departed for Inter Milan.
The Argentine striker was superb for Samp last season, but Gabbiadini has the potential to be able to match and eventually surpass his impact for Delio Rossi's side.
With regular minutes on the pitch, Gabbiadini will be able to kick-start his career in Serie A and replicate his prolific form for the Italy Under-21 side.
With one cap for the Azzurri already, look for Gabbiadini to be a dark horse to sneak into Cesare Prandelli's World Cup squad next year.