As we move closer to the beginning of another campaign, expectations are as high as ever at Juventus. New stadium, new coach and several new players later, we have fresh optimism ahead of the Serie A season. Will there be a repeat of the last two years, or can Antonio Conte restore the Old Lady’s pride and make it a memorable eight months?
While Milan and Inter took part in the preliminary battle in Beijing, we’re now just short of two weeks until the season kicks off with an away trip at Udinese. The Zebrette will have already started their long slog by the time the Bianconeri arrive at the Friuli, with a Champions League qualification clash with a Cesc Fabregas-less Arsenal to look forward to. As a supporter of Italian football, I wish Francesco Guidolin and his men all the luck as they look to pull off a huge shock and enter the group stages of Europe’s premier competition.
Moving on to transfer talk, since my last post, Juve have secured the services of Mirko Vucinic from Roma. His arrival didn’t quite cause the same scenes witnessed in London in recent weeks, but it was indeed met with more disappointment rather than jubilation from those around me. The Montenegrin international brings with him a wealth of experience in Serie A after several years with the capital club, and should he find his best form could prove to be an astute signing. "The very name of Juventus is enough for defining this club and I didn't have a single doubt when my agent spoke that name. Now I'm playing for the most known and loved Italian club in the world". Aww, stop it Mirko you’re making us blush!
Elsewhere, following on from my recent rant on the now departed Felipe Melo, it seems as though Samuel Eto’o has now been ‘Melo-fied’ too. The Cameroon international is reportedly set for a mega-money move to Russian side Anzhi. Just weeks ago, the Inter ace declared his hope to remain with the Nerazzurri in order to ‘try and win the Champions League one more time’. However it appears rather than dreams of the Champions League, it will be Ruble signs bouncing around his head at night as reports claim he will earn close to £17.8 million a year. In the grand scheme of things, with Eto’o set to join Alexis Sanchez and Javier Pastore abroad, has Serie A lost some of its brightest stars this summer? From a Juve perspective it is great to see rival clubs losing key players, but as they leave, they also take undoubted quality with them.
Not long until Ibrahimovic and Giorgio lock horns on our screens once again
Prediction time. While our calciomercato has been strong, Milan still look the team to beat next season. Should Inter lose Eto’o and potentially Sneijder, the Nerazzurri will be weakened depending on who they bring in to replace the duo. Both Roma and Napoli look set for a successful campaign, while Lazio have brought in some clever signings. My prediction?
What are your hopes and aspirations for this season? Do you agree that Serie A has suffered in this summer’s transfer market, or are you content that the league will flourish regardless?
With the new stadium set to open on September 8 in a friendly against Notts County, I would love for my readers to share their experiences, opinions and photos on the new ground. Send in any of the mentioned to my email (on the right under my snap) and I’ll be sure to publish some in my next post. Countdown to the season begins, fingers crossed we’ll have something to smile about when it concludes!
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