Italia, Italia.Posted: January 21, 2011
Transfers again! Seeing as I’m currently writing to you from Switzerland, and the Italian Serie A is quite popular here (even though the Bundesliga is more popular in Der Schwiez, it’s still not more popular with me), I thought it would be fitting for me to write my next article on where who need improving in this part of the world.
Campioni d’Invierno, AC Milan, sit relatively comfortable at the top of the table with a four point cushion between themselves and both Napoli and Lazio, with fierce rivals Inter only 2 points further behind. The club has not won a Scudetto (Italian league championship) since 2003/2004 and it’s a trophy I’d love to see the Rossoneri win. Can they with the current squad? Well they can certainly make it a lot easier for themselves, if Adriano Galliani is willing to invest more into the playing squad this winter. Two full backs are what the team needs the most. Abate and Antonini, right and left backs respectively, are honestly terrible players, who shouldn’t be playing at such a high level. Oddo, and more so Zambrotta are able to do a job in the full back role, but there is still room for improvement. In-form Domenico Criscito has been heavily linked with a move to San Siro, and this would prove a fantastic purchase for Milan. There’s also talk of Andrea Lazzari joining Milan after some glittering performances in Cagliari’s midfield so far this season.
City rivals Inter Milan, well, they’ve already got all they needed to get. And that was rid of Rafa Benitez, and a new manager. Former AC Milan hero Leonardo, who spent 13 years in the red and black of Milan, has now taken up the managerial post at Inter, and is doing a fantastic job with 4 wins from 4 games already. The sides ahead of them will now have to keep one eye over the shoulder for the Nerrazzuri, as they still have a strong squad that could potentially win the league again.
Napoli have two particular assets that they couldn’t do without if they want to stay where they are – Edison Cavani and Marek Hamsik. A striker and a midfielder, these two combined have produced 28 goals for their club so far this season. They need most to hold onto this pair. Their defensive line is good, but perhaps a good addition in that area would be worthwhile. If Fabio Cannavaro would be interested in a move back to Italy then the prospect of playing alongside his brother for their hometown club. He’d only be worth a six, or just maybe an 18 month contract though, considering his age.
Juventus, I feel, are a team that are in dire straights, and have been for quite some time. There’s no stability in the team, . Ferrara and Zaccheroni have proved miserable managerial choices too. However Del Neri seems to have put a stop to losing so many games to relegation candidates. A new centre back and a new striker is what the side could do with most. A Bonucci-Chiellini partnership won’t win you the Scudetto. And while Del Piero is a Juve legend, and can still do a more than decent job for the team, he is really getting old now and should only have another 2 years or so left, while Amauri hasn’t even scored a league goal this season. Quagliarella looks to be out for the season on the injury table, and as a result the club have signed Luca Toni, for some strange reason that I don’t quite understand, from Genoa. A decent player in his day, but now shouldn’t be playing for a club aiming to finish in the Champions League spots. Bologna are now in serious financial trouble, and may be forced to sell Marco Di Vaio, who is in sparkling form at the moment in Italy.
Capital club Roma have league glory in their sights, after a second place finish last season. Manager Ranieri believes they are equipped to win the title, but realistically can they do it with their current squad? Nicolás Burdisso deserves more playing time ahead of Cassetti. Totti, Borriello and Vucinic is a good attack to boast, but you’d need a very strong midfield if you want to win titles, while their fourth striker, Adriano is simply a gamble for any football club to employ. He can cause a lot of disruption in the dressing room without enough contribution on the field. They could do with another attacking midfielder. It seems more and more unlikely as the days go by that Kaká will be up for sale, but he’d make a great addition to the Roma squad. Also another more reserved midfielder could be a good idea for them. Fernando Gago isn’t really needed at Madrid any more, and he’d be an excellent buy for Roma or Juventus.
In my view, Serie A is up for grabs between Milan, Inter and Roma. Napoli will do well this season, but I can’t see them winning it, while Lazio will probably fall further behind eventually. Juventus can only really aim for champions league spots, but I’d tip them to finish with Europa League football for next season.