Serie A Final Weekly Transfer Market Recap

Fiorentina was the most active team over the last few days and signed a quality fivesome: Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo, Igor from SPAL, Christian Kouame and Kevin Agudelo from Genoa and Sofyan Amrabat from Verona. Duncan, purchased for €15M, has been pretty steady over the last four years at Sassuolo, but his playing time has been limited recently due to a tactical switch that did not suit his traits. He is known commodity and can contribute at both ends. Agudelo had a hot stretch under Thiago Motta, flashing very intriguing playmaking and potential, but fell on the wayside with Davide Nicola. He can play all over the formation offensively and probably projects as very offensive box-to-box. He joined on an 18-month loan with conditioned obligation to buy. They will add some much-needed dynamism to the Viola’s midfield, who had nobody behind Gaetano Castrovilli and Marco Benassi. Igor has been a day-one starter with the Estensi after coming over RB Salzburg in the summer, has had some ups-and-down but is still young. The Gigliati lacked a left-footed centre-back for their three-man line, so Igor could challenge Martin Caceres to play there. Continue reading

Top Three Winter Mercato Moves

While a few days remain before the transfer window is shut, there has been no shortage of activity within Italy throughout the winter mercato. Napoli have completely retooled their side while Milan are making the most of the window to off-load deadwood and reduce their wage bill. Inter, on the other hand, are actively looking for the final pieces of the puzzle to topple Juventus.

Here are the top three moves of the winter mercato until now.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Milan: When it was announced Ibrahimovic would be joining MIlan, many scoffed at the idea initially. After all, he had just finished playing in MLS and was nearing 40 years old. Despite his relatively high wages, the Swedish international is exactly what the doctor ordered in Casa Milan and his arrival has coincided with the rossoneri’s best form of the season.

Since returning to Milan, Pioli’s men have won five in a row and booked their ticket to the Coppa Italia semi-finals against Juventus. Some players are simply synonymous with winning and Ibra is one of them. The former PSG man has lead a quiet revolution and has introduced a winning mentality to the club. For this alone, he’s arguably the signing of the winter mercato. 

Christian Eriksen – Inter: It may have well taken them all month, but Inter finally got their guy. Giuseppe Marotta had been in negotiations with Tottenham for the better part of the month and finally decided to pay the price for the Danish international. Considering Conte’s men are lacking experience in the midfield, Eriksen’s arrival is a no-brainer.

A natural number ten, Eriksen will look forward to linking up with Lukaku and Martinez and form one of Italy’s most fearsome trios in the final third. With Sensi, Barella, and Brozovic pulling the strings behind them, Marotta has arguably built the best midfield in the league. Eriksen is merely the cherry on top of the cake and could prove to be the difference-maker in the title race.

Diego Demme – Napoli: This signing is one that has flown under-the-radar in Italy, but is one of the shrewdest deals of the winter mercato. The partenopei have looked extremely vulnerable throughout the season as their midfield has oftentimes left their defence exposed. Whether it was Fabian Ruiz, Elmas or Allan playing as the side’s deepest midfielder, Napoli always looked suspect defensively. Demme’s arrival adds some much-needed steel in the middle of the park at a particularly low-price and already looks to be paying off.

The veteran midfielder looked extremely at home in front of Napoli’s back four in their most recent win against Juventus. The 28-year-old regularly broke up play and shielded Napoli’s rearguard brilliantly. If he maintains this, Demme will go down as the signing of the winter.

Honourable mentions:

- Christian Koume to Fiorentina (Question marks remain over his ACL recovery)

- Duncan to Fiorentina. (Sassuolo man is slowly becoming a consistent creative outlet.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic lost the appeal so he will serve the second game of his suspension. Ruslan Malinovskyi is disqualified as well. Duvan Zapata is not ready after missing time with a thigh strain despite the early optimism, while Luis Muriel and Remo Freuler, who picked up some muscular ailments with their national teams, should be fine. 

Bologna: Mattia Bani and Danilo are banned. Takehiro Tomiyasu is poised to come back from a thigh strain, while Federico Santander suffered the same injury few days ago and will miss three weeks. Roberto Soriano and Mitchell Dijks will miss another one due to a knee and toe edema respectively, also Mattia Destro remains on the shelf due to knee soreness. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 12

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic was handed a two-game suspension for kicking an opponent from behind. Duvan Zapata is not ready to come back from his thigh strain. Robin Gosens is dealing with sciatica. Ruslan Malinovskyi has a sore glute. Remo Freuler is bang up as well and the trio is legitimately questionable. 

Bologna: Roberto Soriano has been ruled out due to a knee bruise, Federico Santander because of a calf one. Takehiro Tomiyasu (thigh), Mitchell Dijks (toe contusion) and Mattia Destro (knee soreness) stay on the shelf. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 11

Wojciech Szczesny: the Juventus back-line has given up few cheap goals, but never more than once since the last round , which at least does hurt fantasy owners, and, statistically, it is still the second-best in the Peninsula. Torino have failed to hit the net in three of the last four games.

Marash Kumbulla: the young defender has been a revelation so far and he has been the leader of what has been quite surprisingly Serie A’s stoutest defence so far, allowing just eight goals so far. Brescia have not scored more than once since the third round. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Ten

Standings implications: it took them 96 minutes, but Juventus downed Genoa therefore replied to Inter, which looked tired but withstood Brescia’s assault. Napoli and Atalanta shared the spoiled in the most anticipated match of the round. The Roma teams dominated, with the Giallorossi trashing Udinese away and Lazio doing the same to Torino at the Olimpico Stadium. Cagliari continue to march on and upended Bologna. Fiorentina staged a comeback to defeat Sassuolo. Verona blitzed Parma on the road, while Sampdoria and Lecce tied one-one. Milan have a pulse and squeaked by SPAL. Continue reading

One to Watch: Christian Kouamé

After an impressive debut season, Christian Kouamé was tipped to take Serie A by storm in 2019-2020. Alongside Andrea Pinamonti, the Ivorian was expected to form one of the league’s most youthful and dangerous duos in attack. The duo lived up to the hype early on, combining to devastating effect in their opener against Roma. Kouamé followed up his goal against the giallorossi with another impressive performance against Fiorentina, putting in a man-of-the-match display and adding another goal to his tally.

The 21-year-old would find the back of the net once more against Cagliari, starting his season in brilliant fashion with three goals in four games. However, following their convincing defeat at the hands of Cagliari, Genoa went winless in their next four games and Kouamé struggled. In his next four starts, the Ivorian played the full ninety minutes in all games and failed to score in any of them.

Genoa’s 5-1 defeat against Parma was the last straw for President Enrico Preziosi and he promptly sacked Aurelio Andreazzoli for former midfielder Thiago Motta. Motta was previously coaching PSG’s U-19 side and has been labelled a progressive tactician in his brief managerial career.

In Motta’s first game in charge, Kouamé started on the bench and came on for Sinan Gumus with over twenty minutes to play. In his cameo appearance, the 21-year-old was electric and helped Genoa overcome a one-nil deficit to claim the three points. Outside of his match-winner, a fantastic scissor-kick, Kouamé was a constant threat in the final third and didn’t give Brescia’s defenders a moment’s rest.

With I Grifoni up a goal, Brescia tried taking the game to them and left open spaces in behind. Kouamé took full advantage of this and registered his first assist on the season on Goran Pandev’s goal. In just 25 minutes of action, Kouamé displayed exactly why he comes so highly-rated around the peninsula. Whether he’s driving in possession or making the most of his incredible turn of pace, Kouamé makes for an increasinly dangerous striker.

This season, the Genoa forward has demonstrated that he could be efficient in front of goal, as illustrated by his four goals on the season already. One knock against Kouamé last season was that he couldn’t create his own chances. Much like his finishing, this is an element of his game that has since improved significantly compared to years past. Currently, Kouamé is averaging just under two shots per game and is also establishing himself as a creative threat with just under 1.5 key passes per game.

Moving forward, Genoa are going to need Kouamé to maintain his positive exploits in front of goal if they want to avoid relegation. Under Thiago Motta it will be interesting to see the young forward develop, especially considering the tactician’s desire to play attacking football. In any case, Kouamé is definitely one to keep an eye on as the season wears on and into the January transfer window. Capable of creating chances or taking them for himself, Kouamé will undoubtedly be atop most club’s wish-lists when the mercato reopens.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Ten

Brescia-Inter: Eugenio Corini has had some reservations in using Alfredo Donnarumma and Mario Balotelli together, but Florian Aye, while tactically precious, has not been productive and so the more predictable duo should be the way to go moving forward. However, they have combined for just one goal in the last three matches and they will face one of the best back-lines in the League. Daniele Dessena’s injury ended up hurting Romulo’s fantasy stocks in the short-term, since he is being used as box-to-box, at least until one between Emanuele Ndoj and Jaromir Zmhral manages to unseat Nikolas Spalek, who has not been effective as no.10. Sandro Tonali is coming off his first Serie A goal and constitutes is half of their offense. Continue reading

Serie A Best XI – Round Nine

Andrea Consigli (7 points): Sassuolo were quite amazingly the only team to keep a clean sheet in this round, so their goalie gets the token spot representing everybody. Consigli had a pair of nice saves in the first half, then was a tad lucky on Verona’s misses.

Mattia Bani (4 points): he is separating himself from the competition in the back at Bologna and his towering header, the second successful one this season, allowed the Felsinei to get back on track after a sizeable winless stretch. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Nine

Standings implications: a weird round results-wise since three of the top four teams shared the spoils against minnows. In chronological order, Juventus could not get past Lecce, Inter equalized against Parma and Napoli did not come up with a game-winner versus SPAL. Atalanta were the only ones to capitalize on the other contenders’ misfortune, demolishing Udinese. Lazio outlasted Fiorentina, while Roma took advantage of Milan’s blunders. Cagliari tied with Torino away, while Bologna and Sassuolo returned to winning ways, sinking Sampdoria and Verona respectively. Genoa bounced back in Thiago Motta’s debut by staging a glorious second-half comeback against Brescia.    Continue reading