Summer 2018: The Rivals

Radja Nainggolan and Ronaldo at Inter and Juventus

Milan’s manic summer seems to be reaching a hopeful conclusion with new (temporary but long term!) ownership under Elliott and the return of capable and legends in Leonardo and Maldini. Other Serie A teams and rivals in the upper half of the table have had busy and newsworthy summers as well. There is still one week left in Serie A’s transfer window but a lot has happened already.

The big transfer news of the summer is that of Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid after three consecutive Champions League wins and making a €100 million+ transfer to Juventus. The reigning champions’ summer activity will certainly affect betting and bookmaker bonuses and expectations will be higher in Turin, especially when it comes to taking the next step and winning the Champions League. Juventus lost Gianluigi Buffon to PSG but signed Mattia Perin to compete with Wojciech Szczesny. Other transfers have strengthened the team, including making Douglas Costa a permanent member of the team. Joao Cancelo who was close to an Inter switch after spending time on loan was snapped up too. Not forgetting getting Bonucci back from Milan (in exchange for Caldara). Losing top scorer Higuian would have been a significant loss but Ronaldo’s arrival made it inevitable.

Napoli’s biggest move was bringing in Carlo Ancelotti, as it turned out long before Maurizio Sarri was officially gone. Ancelotti had left Bayern Munich last year and the stated reasons for it were not reassuring. Bayern players complained that training was too relaxed. Leading up to the transfer deadline there have been plenty of rumours but activity has been minimal.

Inter have been under Financial Fair Play pressure and have been creative in loaning or selling youth players with buy back options to add revenue for the current fiscal year. The likes of Davide Bettella and Federico Valietti have left to Atalanta and Genoa to add millions to the books. Those millions allowed the team to sign Radja Nainggolan from Roma. One early arrival was Stefan de Vrij from Lazio on a free transfer to boost the defensive line.

Roma have been busy with director of football Monchi making wholesale changes to the team again. Javier Pastore, Justin Kluivert, Davide Santon and others have arrived replacing departing players such as Juan Iturbe, Bruno Peres and the aforementioned Nainggolan. Dane Robin Olsen arrived after a long search for an Allison replacement. The Brazilian World Cup goalkeeper made a big money transfer to Liverpool.

Lazio have had a big shoe to fill with de Vrij’s departure. Ex-Milan player Francesco Acerbi has signed on to be part of that. Lazio also lost Felipe Anderson to the English Premier League (West Ham) for big money and have spent some of that to bring in Joaquin Correa from Sevilla.

It has been a bust summer elsewhere too with Atalanta, Fiorentina and Torino trying to remain top half teams. Duvan Zapata has been loaned to Atalanta by Sampdoria, ex- Milan midfielder Mario Pasalic is also on loan at Atalanta from Chelsea. Fiorentina have captured loan moves for Marko Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas. Torino are hanging on to Andrea Belotti and have signed Tomas Rincon, Armando Izzo, Soualiho Meite and others to make up a solid team.

A lot of hard work ahead to not only stay in the top 6 and possibly crack the top 4 for Gattuso and Milan.