Just a couple of weeks ago I provided what I thought would be the order of finish based on how the teams looked on July 19, just a few days after the World Cup.
In my second draft, we’re going to see how much of a difference a fortnight of the Mercato really makes.
The mega deal between AC Milan and Juventus grabbed all the headlines.
Leonardo Bonucci slithers his way back to his old club (yes I’m using that word, Bonucci lost some cool points with me), but in return Milan get Mattia Caldara in a swap for their former captain and take Gonzalo Higuain on loan.
I’m biased, but the Rossoneri got the better of this situation. Leonardo (Brazilian) made an instant impact upon returning to Casa Milan as Sporting Director.
Signed Caldara ✅
Loaned Higuain ✅
Brought back Maldini ✅
An incredible week for Milan. All, on the back of:
Appointing Leonardo ✅
The Europa League ban being overturned ✅
— Rossé Marrai-Ricco (@RossellaMarrai) August 5, 2018
Get past this transaction, and you’ll find there were some under-the-radar moves that could change the position of some of these teams. Here’s a summary:
- Robin Olsen becomes Roma’s new goalkeeper: After the Allisson sale, we expected Monchi to do something. Sweden’s #1 comes off a solid World Cup and performed well in his time at FC Copenhagen. Still, he’s not Allisson. It remains to be seen what he does for the Giallorossi.
- Sime Vrsaljko joins Inter: Inter fill the void left by Joao Cancelo’s departure for Juventus. Vrsaljko comes off a great World Cup, and you could argue he defends better than Cancelo. Veteran player that didn’t set Inter too far back financially.
- Lazio win the Milan Badelj race: and out of nowhere really if you ask me. AC Milan were heavy contenders for his signature, as were Zenit in Russia. Badelj could end up being an important piece in the Lazio midfield — especially if they part with Sergei Milinkovic-Savic. Lotito didn’t stop there, as Lazio also added Joaquin Correa, a talented winger in his time with Sevilla.
Other moves that will prove useful: Frosinone continue to load up on experienced Serie A campaigners, with Emil Halfredsson joining from Udinese.Speaking of the Friuli outfit, they are the new (temporary) home for Rolando Mandragora — Juve’s young up and coming midfielder who enjoyed a successful spell at Crotone last season.Gregoire Defrel is surplus to requirements at Roma and will spend a season on loan with Sampdoria.Gerson also sent on a loan assignment by the Giallorossi, he’ll be with Fiorentina this season.
And Mario Pasalic is back in our lives; this time loaned out to Atalanta by Chelsea, a useful signing indeed for the Bergamo side.
I also mentioned that Chievo and Parma found themselves in a little trouble that could potentially end up seeing them in Serie B before the season even starts.
Parma’s case has been settled, as they will start the season with a five point deduction.
I had them at the foot of the table in my initial predictions, so of course that won’t change.
Chievo’s course is different. Initially they had their case thrown out over a technicality, but the charges have since been revised over some major transfer indiscretions.
After a previous trial in July collapsed on a technicality, the #FIGC‘s Prosecutor has charged #Chievo and five high-ranking club officials with false accounting to create fictitious profits by exchanging players with #Cesena to obtain a national licence.https://t.co/PxoxYrbQ4q pic.twitter.com/tExmnKlLXx
— Alex Capri (@alexcapri86) August 4, 2018
So this is the nutshell of what has gone on in Serie A over the last two weeks. Let’s see what it does to my predictions:
- Juventus: last rank: 1. No movement here.
- Inter: last rank: 2. The addition of Vrsaljko I think helps the Nerazzurri cement their position in 2nd. Still going to have to fight off the competition for this spot, but at the moment I find them to be Juve’s closest challengers for the titles (though it’s not that close).
- Napoli: last rank: 3. Talk of Andrea Belotti arriving, which can give Carlo Ancelotti a lot of options in attack with what is already at his disposal. If Il Gallo can find his 2016-17 form and be free of injuries, it’s a great move.
- Roma: last rank: 4. I really was tempted to put Milan in this spot but I’m weathering my expectations. I’m that worried about the defense for Di Francesco’s side. They conceded a lot of goals last season with Allisson in goal, and I’m not convinced Olsen will help in that area.
- Milan: last rank: 8. They now have the 20+ goalscorer they hoped to have had with Nikola Kalinic. Mattia Caldara is an improving defender, and a reliable scorer on set pieces. Milan have a couple good set piece takers. Need depth in midfield and another winger to crack the top four, for now.
- Lazio: last rank: 6. The Biancacelesti will still bring the fun. The additions they’ve made confirm they will score a lot of goals, and will give a lot up. Ciro Immobile looks like he’s signing an extension too, big news for Simone Inzaghi and bad news for the rest of Serie A.
- Atalanta: last rank: 5. Atalanta are still going to be very good, it’s just that the moves Milan and Lazio made in the last couple weeks have made them better.
- Fiorentina: last rank: 7. See Atalanta. Fiorentina will be a continuation under Stefano Pioli, but just short enough on talent- keeping them just out of the European places.
- Sampdoria: last rank: 10. This probably has more to do with my concerns with Torino potentially losing Andrea Belotti at the time of writing this. Defrel should be of use for Marco Giampaolo’s attack and will be interesting to see how he fits.
- Torino: last rank: 9. This is a good Torino side, with or without Belotti, but if Il Gallo leaves you have to expect a little decline.
- Bologna: last rank: 11. Still the best of the bottom half, and almost by default.
- Udinese: last rank: 13. The Zebrette might be a troublesome bunch this season, Mandragora was solid for Crotone last season and should thrive here. A lot of hype about Ignacio Pussetto too from colleagues at WFI.
- Cagliari: last rank: 17. I’m going to be all over the place with this bottom half. After two weeks, I somewhat like what the Sardinians have put together. Nicolo Barella is still there amid interest from bigger Serie A sides. Lose him and they could slide before the final predictions.
- SPAL: last rank: 12. Again, they’ve remained intact, but they fall only because my opinion on a couple other teams have changed.
- Sassuolo: last rank: 14. This could be the fun-bad team of Serie A, with Djuricic and Kevin Prince Boateng being the playmakers and Khouma Babacar hopefully finding some scoring form.
- Genoa: last rank: 16. Esteban Rolon arrives from Malaga to help the midfield, and somehow Diego Laxalt is still there (this will be someone’s deadline panic-buy). Still, going to be a problem replacing Mattia Perin.
- Frosinone: last rank: 18. I still don’t believe in the three promoted teams; but Frosinone seems to have made the best moves and with the trouble Chievo is in, they will see a second Serie A season by default.
- Empoli: last rank: 19. This isn’t Maurizio Sarri’s or Marco Giampaolo’s Empoli. Hardly anything has been done to strengthen the squad.
- Chievo/ Crotone: Chievo last rank: 15. If it’s Crotone, they won’t be prepared for Serie A. If it’s Chievo, they’ll start the season with some sort of points deduction. Either way, the outlook stinks for both sides.
- Parma: last rank: 20. Thought they were the worst team in Serie A heading into this season in my last instalment, and now they start the season five points behind everyone.