Serie A Signings: 10 Players Hoping to Light Up Their New Teams
Italy may no longer have the spending power that put it to the forefront of football in the 1980s and early 1990s, but there have still been some intriguing transfers this summer.
A few old glories have returned from overseas, some young stars are getting their chance in more glamorous surroundings, and more established players have moved to finally seek the recognition their talents deserve.
Can anyone challenge Inter? Have Roma improved enough to steal the title? Will Juve make a serious fight for honours? And can Milan dig deep enough to keep themselves at the upper reaches of the table?
Here are Italy's 10 most interesting deals of the summer along with one which is, at the time of writing, still under negotiation.
10. Gianluca Curci (Sampdoria)
A goalkeeper who should have put himself on Cesare Prandelli’s quick-dial list, Gianluca Curci gets another opportunity to get back into Nazionale contention with Mimmo Di Carlo’s men. Having shown signs of recovery with Siena, now could be his last chance to really back up his potential with a more sizeable side.
It won’t be easy to take over the gloves from Marco Storari who had such an impressive campaign last year, but the Roma youth product could be up to the job. He looked assured in Samp’s Champions League elimination game against Werder Bremen before getting beaten by two long-range efforts.
With Gigi Buffon getting older and more injury-prone, Italy needs its next generation of net minders to stand up and be counted.
9. Riccardo Meggiorini (Bologna)
He didn’t get a lot of goals for Bari last season, but something about this Inter graduate suggests he is about to explode. A strong, physical presence and a thunderous pair of shooting boots have been his calling card and you get the feeling that when it all clicks into place he could become a double-figure goal threat.
The Rossoblu have been revamped over the summer and a lot will depend on the opportunities Meggio gets and how well he can team up with veteran forward Marco Di Vaio. A convincing campaign with a few more strikes to his credit could have a few bigger clubs taking notice.
He's confident player who needs to hit a run of form in order to deliver the contribution his new team hopes to receive.
8. Alessandro Diamanti (Brescia)
We got frustrating glimpses of his gifts at West Ham but the playmaker and free-kick specialist's skills never seemed best suited to the English Premier League. Gianfranco Zola’s departure and Avram Grant’s appointment sealed Alessandro Diamanti's fate, and a return to Serie A has been welcomed by all sides.
At Livorno he was making a case for the Nazionale, and while that train may have passed, he can still make up some lost ground at Beppe Iachini’s Brescia. If given some solid support from more defensive midfielders he has the ability to shine in the newly-promoted side.
He's a welcome return to the Italian fold, and hopefully he still has a few more starring weekends to offer in the season to come.
7. Andrea Ranocchia (Genoa)
The Italy Under 21 skipper was part of the Bari side which stunned Serie A last year, but this term Andrea Rannochia will have to confirm his talents by aiming a little higher than simply survival.
The Grifone’s summer spending has made a Europa League spot the bare minimum that will be acceptable in the port city.
Strong in the air as you would expect from his tall frame, Rannochia also has respectable distribution for a central defender, and will need all his wits about him in a back-line which is traditionally well-stretched due to Genoa’s aggressive style of play.
Another impressive year could see Inter Milan call in their loan and take a chance on a player who looks to have a big Azzurri future ahead of him.
6. Jonathan Biabiany (Inter)
Not so much a signing as a return from loan, it will be interesting to see if the explosive front-man can cut out a place in the Nerazzurri setup.
It looks unlikely given the wealth of talent in front of him, but he has shown preseason that he can slot into the side without too much difficulty and any injuries or suspensions could present him with his chance. There were definite glimpses towards the end of last season of what the flying front man has to offer.
He will need some lucky breaks if he is to make an impression this year, but he's a man to watch out for coming off the bench to turn a game.
5. Gaetano D’Agostino (Fiorentina)
In a slow summer transfer campaign in Tuscany, the Udinese midfielder stood out as a major acquisition for the Florentine midfield. A year after Gaetano D’Agostino's on-off deal with Juventus, he finally gets the chance to shine in slightly more impressive surroundings than Friuli.
Sinisa Mihajlovic appears to have found the answer to the question about whether he could play alongside Riccardo Montolivo by moving D’Ago to play just behind the sole striker in his 4-2-3-1 formation. There is little doubt he has the ability to function as a playmaker and goalscorer.
An extra dimension has been added to the Viola’s play with this acquisition, and if he settles in well he could help push them back towards the top end of the table.
4. Sebastian Giovinco (Parma)
One of the most tricky transfers of the year finally went in favour of the boys from the Ennio Tardini as they saw off a rival bid from Bari. Now one of Italy’s most talented young players gets his chance to deliver away from the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Turin.
Always under the microscope at Juve, Sebastian Giovinco should thrive in the provinces where there will be less need to deliver goals and assists from day one. The Atomic Ant needs a regular run in the team somewhere and there is every reason to expect he will get that with the Parmigiani.
No more excuses for an immensely gifted individual. If he flops in Parma it is unlikely he will ever surface again at the top end of Serie A and may well drop off the radar.
3. Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
A breakthrough year with Palermo saw the San Paolo side happy to pounce for the Uruguayan international forward to boost their challenge for league and European honours. It racks the expectation up a notch for a player with a classy style and an eye for goal.
The biggest question could be how Edinson Cavani will fit into Walter Mazzarri’s attack, which is already well established with the likes of Fabio Quagliarella and Ezequiel Lavezzi on song. However, it seems certain they will crowbar him into the lineup somehow having made such a significant signing.
Still just 23, and with huge room for improvement, he could win the hearts of Napoli fans forever if he helps to secure a glorious finish in the Champions League places.
2. Alberto Aquilani (Juventus)
Just like Diamanti, Alberto Aquilani's chances to shine in the Premiership were few and far between. The Little Prince came to Liverpool injured and was then weighed down by his price tag, a struggling side, and the belief that he should be the next Xabi Alonso.
Roy Hodgson quickly decided he was not needed at Anfield this year, and after protracted medical checks, he made the move to the rebuilding Bianconeri. If he can stay fit and confirm the flashes of brilliance from his Roma days, there is no doubt they have made one of the most astute moves of the summer.
Cesare Prandelli could also do with a flying Aquilani in his side, as long as his place in the Juve team is not at the expense of Claudio Marchisio.
1. Adriano (Roma)
It looked like the big, bustling front man might have been lost to European football after his off-the-pitch problems threatened to keep him close to home in Brazil or away from the game entirely.
However, the Giallorossi took the plunge and brought him back to Serie A where he has produced some wonderful football over the years.
The question mark is what kind of player Roma is getting. In full flight there are few more unstoppable forwards in the game, but if his mental condition suffers at any point, he will be almost entirely ineffectual.
He's an intriguing gamble which has the potential to give Claudio Ranieri’s team some extra edge in its pursuit of Inter.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan?)
A deal which is still being thrashed out could be the most explosive of the summer. Ibra has never really endeared himself to anyone wherever he has gone, but there is no doubt that the prospect of him teaming up with Pato is a mouthwatering one if it goes through.
A serial winner with Juve and Inter, the love affair never really blossomed in Barcelona. He never quite fit in with their system, and seems to have been a scapegoat in some people’s eyes for their failure to deliver another treble last year.
Never the most likeable figure, he remains an enormous talent and the Rossoneri would do well to regenerate him for their Serie A and Champions League challenge.