Serie A Transfer Round Up - Edition 1
It was a very exciting finish to the Serie A season, as Juventus were crowned champions for the seventh consecutive season. This season was a little bit tougher for the bianconeri, however, as Napoli were breathing down their necks for most of the campaign, eventually losing on the second to last match day. In the battle for the Champions League spot, Inter won against Lazio in a highly entertaining match to claim the fourth spot into the competition. Lazio will have to settle for the Europa League Group Stage along with Milan, while Atalanta will enter the preliminary phases of the competition. The relegation battle also went to the last day, with Crotone securing the third and final relegation spot with a loss to Napoli, 2-1. An exciting season has now led to an exciting transfer market, as the window has not even officially opened but the craziness has begun. Let's take a look at the current rumors around the market. (Please note that I am not confirming or denying any of these reports, I am just compiling them and giving my thoughts).
THE "OH S**T, WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!" TRANSFERS:
Gianluigi Buffon to PSG
Buffon ended his Juventus career on Saturday, but at his farewell press conference he made it a point to say he was not retiring from football. He hadn't decided yet. The reason? PSG is apparently offering him at least a two year deal (some reports say fours year) and the opportunity to be a brand ambassador at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This transfer would rock Juventus fans as this would be the second legend in recent years (the other being Alessandro Del Piero) who didn't retire with the club. The difference? Del Piero went on to play in Australia while Buffon could play for a team that will be competing for the coveted Champions League trophy against Juventus. This would be an absolutely crazy transfer and one that seems very likely to happen.
Carlo Ancelotti to Napoli (Update - this if official)
Managers count as transfers too! Especially when they are as big of a name as Carlo. This seems all but complete, and Carletto will be taking over for Maurizio Sarri. Napoli were always at risk of losing Sarri, and it seems like they are comfortable with doing so now because they are signing one of the best managers in the world. This would shakeup the Serie A race, as Ancelotti is an experienced, winning manager and it's hard to believe he would come to Napoli without being promised reinforcements. One thing is also for certain, Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a manager and also as a player, so Napoli will not be taking the competition off next season. At this point this deal looks all but completed.
THE "NO ADVANCED TALKS HAPPENING YET, BUT WE CAN SEE THESE COMING IF THINGS BREAK THE RIGHT WAY" TRANSFERS
Jorginho to Manchester City
This a rumor that makes sense, although Ancelotti joining Napoli could surely impact this. Jorginho has been instrumental for Napoli this season, as he orchestrates the play from midfield. He is the perfect player for Pep Guardiola, as he is technically gifted and comes from a similar system. If Napoli were to sell some of their stars and blow it up, I would say this transfer will happen, but the arrival of Ancelotti makes me feel like it is less than likely to happen unless Napoli have a replacement in mind.
Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea
This seems like a match made in heaven. Napoli are about to sack Sarri to hire Ancelotti, so Chelsea would not have to pay the release clause. Chelsea loves Italian coaches. Sarri's style would surely be welcome to Chelsea supporters who have watched a defensive team play under Antonio Conte and would like to see beautiful football. The obstacles? Sarri is reportedly considering an offer from Zenit in Russia (another club that loves Italian managers) and Chelsea would have to first get rid of Antonio Conte. This unfolding is 50/50 for me at the moment because Chelsea seem in no rush to get rid of Conte.
THE "DIFFICULT, BUT THERE IS A POSSIBILITY" TRANSFERS
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Juventus/Manchester United
This one seems unlikely at the moment as Lazio always get the top amount possible for their players and might not want to let him go so early. They would undoubtedly want a significant sum for Savic, and not sure Juventus could match the figure as they themselves have some holes to fill and might not be able to spend so much on one player. United, meanwhile, do have the money but it would be up to Lazio to sell. United is the likelier of the two destinations at this point.
Alvaro Morata to Juventus
Morata enjoyed a successful spell at Juventus before returning to Real Madrid. This season at Chelsea was unsuccessful and he looks set to leave the club, and the bianconeri would surely welcome him back with open arms. The problem? Same as Savic above. Chelsea paid a hefty sum for Morata and will likely want that back in order to sell him. Could Juve really spend that kind of money on another attacking player? This move could happen if Mandzukic, Higuain, Dybala etc... leave the club, if not, it is hard to see this going through.
THE "THIS IS JUST CRAZY TALK" TRANSFERS
Alvaro Morata to AC Milan
Milan has stated that they would like to sign a midfielder, a winger and a great striker. Morata would definitely fit in as a "great striker," however, Milan is about to be hit with a penalty from UEFA for not following the FFP rules. As stated above, Chelsea will undoubtedly want a large amount for Morata, and the club will have a hard time paying that when they are hit with a penalty from UEFA. Oh yeah, they also don't have Champions League revenue to rely on next year so it is very difficult to see this going through. A fantasy at the moment.
Inter have two transfers to wrap up - both Rafinha and Joao Cancelo. The nerazzurri are riding high after qualifying for the Champions League, and have already made some outstanding signings like Argentine starlet Lautaro Martinez, Kwadwo Asamoah & Stefan de Vrij on free transfers. Cancelo, at the moment, seems like a difficult one for them to complete because Valencia has stated they will not be giving Inter any discounts.