Kevin Pogorzelski Date: 19th August 2016 at 9:31am
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With €155 million already spent this summer and another Serie A title in their sights, opposition fans will be praying for anything to stop the Old Lady of Juventus dominating another 12 months of domestic competition.

Whether it be a Leicester-style upset or fairytale end to the career of Roma legend Francesco Totti, any side close to challenging the Bianconeri will probably receive widespread support throughout the Peninsula.

However, while strengthening in preparation of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata’s departure to the Premier League and La Liga, Juventus have weakened their closest rivals, Napoli and Roma, with the capture of Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic.

panic juventus

With Kevin Strootman fit and ready for the upcoming campaign, Stephan El-Shaarawy expected to continue where he left off last year and a scattering of young talent, though, Totti could still wave goodbye (we assume) in perfect fashion.

Ajax’s Arkadiusz Milik was chosen to replace the Parentopei’s record-breaking Capocannonieri, after an impressive Euro 2016 with Poland, but a €35m price tag will not help when following the Argentine and the 22-year-old may be too inexperienced to shoot them into pole position.

Unfortunately, given Juventus account for a third of this summer’s transfer expenditure, new challengers are hard to find, particularly as fourth biggest spenders Inter (€46m) saw coach Roberto Mancini exit less than two weeks before kick-off.

mancini

Italian football needs a strong Milanese duo, however, the Nerazzurri and neighbours AC Milan are still some way from mounting a significant challenge to the Bianconeri juggernaut, and with both in the midst of takeovers, supporters are probably expecting another year of frustration.

With Sevilla hero Ever Banega and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva adding to what was already one of Serie A’s strongest squads, though, Inter could yet realise their dream of returning to Europe’s top table – if not the Scudetto.

Milan have yet another new face in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza dugout, Vincenzo Montella, after Sinisa Mihajlovic failed to inspire the Rossoneri hierarchy, and the hope is that new owners finally allow the time clearly needed to develop a competitive side.

However, with 11 changes this summer, time is something many Serie A coaches are rarely afforded – although the three-day tenure of Marcelo Bielsa at Lazio still managed to make headlines.

Simone Inzaghi steps up once again for the Biancocelesti, and with moderate backing in the transfer market will be hopeful that they can force their way into the European places, as will Sampdoria after prizing the talented coach Marco Giampaolo away from Empoli.

giampaolo

Arriving in Serie A this season are Cagliari, Crotone, and Pescara. The Sardinians looking best prepared for top-flight survival after bouncing back at the first attempt in style, while the others could be in for a stiffer test, particularly given the exits of Gianluca Lapadula (Milan) and Rolando Mandragora (Juventus) for the Delfini.

However, supporters should look at the recent success os Sassuolo – finishing sixth last term – and Empoli, for reminders that not everything that goes up comes straight back down.

With the exit of Giampaolo, Empoli could be candidates to slip out of Serie A this year at the expense of one of the promoted three, and the same will go for Torino who lost the long-serving coach Giampiero Ventura to national duty and defensive rock Kamil Glik to Monaco.

Udinese have also been on the slide for some time, but have invested heavily in comparison to their relegation rivals, while Chievo and the consistently mismanaged Palermo will no doubt flirt with relegation throughout.

Therefore, Serie A audiences could be set for a season of little change over the next 10 months, and although Juventus stand on the brink of a historic sixth consecutive title, it will be a success that even the neutrals will struggle to cheer.

 
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