Feels like every time Serie A takes a step forward, it’s immediately followed by a step back. After a successful first season, VAR now tends to create more drama and conspiracies, when it should be in place to accomplish exact opposite.
The same can also be said about the dates for the transfer window. FIGC’s decision to close it before the first match of the season last summer was met with universal praise, but for an almost inexplicable reason (I can explain on my podcast), the league has gone back to the September 2nd deadline.
But regardless of how you feel about window still being open, the question remains- with a week to go what is on the plate for the top teams?
Needs: stability, wingback
Excess players: Rugani, Mandzukic
X Factor: Dybala, Emre Can, Demiral
Right after the De Ligt signing, Juventus were once again seen as the masters of the transfer market- but since then things have gone as well for the bianconeri as it did for the hippies in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” when they showed up at Rick Dalton’s house. The Joao Cancelo and Kean sales followed by Dybala being shopped around made fans of the Old Lady livid.
The decision to even consider moving three young players with so much talent has little to do with a sporting decision, it’s rather a financial necessity. Cancelo brought in a big plusvalenza and Dybala could fetch another 50 million in capital gains since he has 19 million left in amortized value, and there’s much more pressure to sell him because Juventus is still stuck with the Matuidi, Mandzukic (who is considering an offer from PSG) and Rugani’s off the world.
Should Neymar not be sold, PSG would almost certainly avoid pursuing Dybala which could force sporting director Paratici to look to make a plusvalenza on someone like Emre Can who has a very low amortized value. By same token, Juventus would much rather sell Rugani, they maybe forced to consider cashing in on Demiral who is linked to Milan.
Needs: cherry on top of sundae
Excess players: Verdi, Ounas
X Factor: James Rodriguez
Following the additions of Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Elmas and Lozano it’s safe to say Napoli are in great shape, especially when you consider the only starter they sold was Albiol who also missed considerable time with injuries last season. While Napoli is still waiting to see if they can sign Icardi or James Rodriguez on bargain deals at the end of the window, their main focus is on moving spare parts with Ounas set to join Nice and Verdi potentially joining Fiorentina.
Needs: left back
Excess players: Dalbert
X Factor: Icardi, Borja Valero
The nerazzurri have been extremely active recently and thanks to Lokomotiv Moscow picking up Joao Mario’s considerable salary for the season, they were able to slightly increase their contributions to Alexis Sanchez’ wages for this season. The Chilean international will return to Serie A and have the opportunity to get his career back on track playing in the formation that made him into a star at Udinese.
Inter are also set to welcome back Biraghi one of their former youth team products in exchange for Dalbert. Biraghi tailed off after a very strong start to last season that even earned him a selection to the Italian national team and should be a good alternative to Asamoah who can now also play more frequently in the midfield. Inter could also try to move Borja Valero’s considerable salary before the window closes with a return to Fiorentina as a potential solution. Icardi on the other hand will almost certainly stay at least until the January window.
Needs: keep what they have
Excess players: Durmissi
X Factor: Berisha
Lazio were able to keep all of their top players while also finding a way to turn a profit on Milan Badelj a year after signing him on a Bosman deal. At this point the priority is signing Caicedo to an extension so he doesn’t play this season on an expiring deal while potentially cashing in on Durmissi who struggled in his first season in Serie A. Berisha has a better chance to stay, but he could also be expandable with Lazzari’s arrival.
Excess players: Pepe Reina, Laxalt, Andre Silva
X Factor: Donnarumma
At least Juventus won their first game and already have a great squad, but man it has also been a rather confusing stretch for Milan fans. The rossoneri signed Duarte less than a month ago and are now once again linked to Demiral and Lovren, certainly not a good sign for the Brazilian center back. The inability to move Andre Silva and or Suso has made it harder to pull the trigger on the Angel Correa deal and now Everton Soares is being considered as an alternative (it won’t be any easier to sign him) to the Atletico Madrid striker.
Should PSG sell Neymar, don’t be surprised if they make another push to sign Gigio Donnarumma since they aren’t fully convinced by Areola. Should Donnarumma stay (which is very likely since he’s committed to the club) don’t be surprised if Milan tries hard to shed Pepe Reina’s salary since he’s the highest paid backup keeper in Serie A- Real Madrid could be a good solution should they move Navas.
Needs: center back, backup striker
Excess Players: Schick, Olsen
X Factor: n/a
Roma had a bad defense last season and then they lost their only above average center back in Manolas. While Gianluca Mancini is a promising player, the giallorossi desperately need another starting caliber defender to partner with Fazio. Mustafi is probably too expensive and Torino are very determined to hold on to Nkolou, leaving Rugani and Lovren (who is still demanding a high salary) as the most realistic alternatives.
Roma will also likely send Schick to the Bundesliga on a loan with option to buy deal while replacing him with Nikola Kalinic, who at least is very familiar with Serie A (I was trying hard to find something nice to say). Sporting director Petrachi has to also find a new home for keeper Olsen.