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5 Best Serie A Signings from 2014 Summer Transfer Window

Anthony LopopoloFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

5 Best Serie A Signings from 2014 Summer Transfer Window

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    Sometimes the most important transfers are the ones clubs don’t make. That is true in the case of Juventus. Once Antonio Conte left as coach of the team, there was a real feeling that others would soon follow. Midfielders Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal were subjects of rumours for months. 

    The media looked so hard for clues. Speculation went wild when Vidal signed a Manchester United shirt for a fan in Australia, as per B/R. Newspapers in England (notably Metro) believed he had indeed signed a contract, but that was never the truth.

    Metro says that Vidal is at #ManU for the medical, meanwhile 45mins ago: "@kingarturo23: Terminando de entrenar!!! pic.twitter.com/xKCh8pfrgH"

    — Rocco Fasano (@CatenaccioNA) July 31, 2014

    So the saga spun out of control, but Vidal never made the move. Neither did Pogba. Juventus did not bring in too many reinforcements—apart from Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid and Patrice Evra from United—but the fact that they did not lose any of their starters is a feat in itself.

    There was also some good business done outside Torino and across Italy, where clubs spent £260 million this summer, per The Guardian. Some big names came in. Fernando Torres joined AC Milan on a two-year loan deal, and Ashley Cole and Micah Richards took the less trodden trail out of England to play in Italy with Roma and Fiorentina, respectively.

    But the moves that made most sense did not cost all that much. Let’s break down five of the best signings in Serie A.

5. Stefan De Vrij

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Club: Lazio

    Position: Centre-back

    Transferred from: Feyenoord 

    Fee: €8.5 million

    The 22-year-old was solid in the middle of the three-man defence for the Netherlands during the World Cup. He started every game, and he was confident on the ball. Last season at Feyenoord, De Vrij completed 87 percent of his passes, per Squawka, and he even served as captain.

    He started his first game for Lazio this past weekend, and it was the worst kind of debut. He was stripped down the wing for the first goal, and he should have been sent off. The game hurt his stock, but De Vrij is still young, and he has previously shown the maturity and poise to play at the highest level. 

    Lazio beat out competition from big clubs, including Manchester United, per Manchester Evening News—primarily because they were “the only club really interested in me before the World Cup,” he told reporters when he arrived in the Italian capital, per Football-Italia. Several dozen fans waited for him at the airport early in the morning, and De Vrij walked through the mob like a superstar.

4. Juan Iturbe

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    Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

    Club: AS Roma

    Position: Forward

    Transferred from: Hellas Verona

    Fee: €22 million

    Juan Iturbe is small, but he is stocky and quick on his feet. He scored eight goals for Hellas Verona last season, and he is due to score many more with Roma. Juventus were about to sign him, per the Daily Mail, and if Conte decided not to leave, they probably would have.

    Iturbe was truly discovered by Porto, a club with the distinction of finding so much great talent. He can dribble like the best of them, and he has a strong frame for someone standing 5’6”. There are even times when Iturbe wins the ball in his own half and initiates the play. He is a team player who can make the killer pass or cross.

    Roma were already a dynamic team with interchangeable parts. And with Iturbe they are even trickier to defend against. As Francesco Totti slows down, the rest of the team is speeding up, and Iturbe could definitely come to replace the 37-year-old in the future. 

    He cost the most of any single transfer made by a Serie A club, but he is worth it.

     

3. Diego Lopez

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    Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

    Club: AC Milan

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Transferred from: Real Madrid

    Fee: None

    Even when AC Milan won the Champions League, they did not have the best goalkeeper. Over the years it was Dida and Christian Abbiati filling the void between the goal posts, and while they were capable of making spectacular saves they were not capable of being consistent. 

    In Diego Lopez, the club finally has a world-class netminder. Indeed he is 32, but he came for free, and a free transfer is not always a bad one. He signed a contract with Milan until 2018, according to Goal.com, so he is not a stopgap.

    Milan had signed Michael Agazzi earlier, and he was disastrous on the team’s tour in the United States and Canada. They needed surer gloves, and now they have them.

    Lopez had to handle a tough situation in Madrid, where he shared duties with Iker Casillas. Casillas played in Europe while Lopez handled the domestic games, and in the end it was Casillas who won the trophies on the field.

    Still, Lopez impressed. He would get angry in practice if he conceded a goal. Villiam Vecchi noticed that. He worked with Lopez as the goalkeeping coach at Madrid.

    “Lopez is a goalkeeper who can do everything,” Vecchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Rossoneri Blog). “Technically he is complete and on the psychological level he’s proven this year that he can cope well with stress.”

2. Kostas Manolas

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Club: AS Roma

    Position: Centre-back

    Transferred from: Olympiacos

    Fee: €13 million

    As soon as Roma sold their star defender Mehdi Benatia to Bayern Munich, they went out and acquired Kostas Manolas. No saga—just business. They reinvested quickly and moved on. And in the end they got a defender four years younger.

    Manolas later told reporters that he rejected offers from “big clubs, including Juventus,” he said (h/t Goal.com). “But it was my choice to come here. I wanted to come to Roma.”

    Manolas was a key member of Greece’s World Cup squad, and he makes physical challenges. He only made his international debut last year. Things are moving fast, but so does he. The 23-year-old Greek can beat players and jump over them to clear the ball with a strong header.

1. Kingsley Coman

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    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    Club: Juventus

    Position: Attacking midfielder

    Transferred from: Paris Saint-Germain

    Fee: None

    The kid is a speedster. He can scorch past defenders and find the open man with a simple pass.

    Kingsley Coman made his first Serie A appearance on the weekend, playing 68 minutes against Chievo, and he was confident beside Carlos Tevez. Coman is 18, and he came for free.

    "The kid Coman played like a veteran," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri told Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia). "He has great quality and character. He’s a young lad and we should let him grow, but he has real talent.

    It is still surreal to think that PSG decided it was OK to let go of such a highly rated product of their youth setup. For PSG, everything seems to be about the present, to win now, not in the future.

    Coman does not play like Pogba, but he is a similar capture, a teenager leaving his parent club for nothing after struggling for playing time. Now he wears the No. 11 kit, previously worn by Pavel Nedved. Juventus are already showing some faith in the attacking midfielder, and he looks like another steal.

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