The 89th season of the Serie A is about to get underway with Matchday 1 starting in a few days, so let’s take a look at each of the teams and what we can expect from them…
Fan-favourites Atalanta were the top-scorers in Serie A, scoring 98 goals en route to a podium finish. They were only five points off the league-leaders’ tally, so it was a strong season for them. However, the Coronavirus pandemic devastated the city of Bergamo, so this season, they’ll be fighting for their citizens more than anything.
Transfers: Atalanta haven’t transferred too many players in, but notable additions include Cristiano Piccini, Aleksei Miranchuk and Simone Muratore. The departures’ list features Timothy Castagne among others.
Key Player: Josip Iličić – It’s hard to overstate the importance that Josip Iličić has for Atalanta, not just on the pitch but off it too. The club captain was a big miss in their final Champions League dash last season, and we all hope that he will return to play football once again. Last season, he scored 15 goals and set up five others in the Serie A, and hopefully he can better that tally this time around.
Last year’s Serie B champions won the title by quite a margin, and were comfortably promoted to the top-flight for only their second-ever season. They went straight back down in 2017/18, but they’ll be keen to avoid a repeat of that this time around.
Transfers: Gli Stregoni have conducted some very smart business in the transfer window. Their acquisitions include ex-AC Milan striker Gianluca Lapadula, Kamil Glik from AS Monaco and Gianluca Caprari. At the same time, they have managed to hold on to their first-team players.
Key Player: Marco Sau – The Italian forward was Benevento’s top goal-scorer in last season’s Serie B as he netted 12 times. The veteran striker will be hoping to translate that form into the top division to help his side in their battle against relegation.
Last season, Bologna finished in a respectable 12th position and were just a couple of points away from the top half of the table. Their primary objective this time around will be to build on that performance, and perhaps threaten the fringes of the European qualification spots.
Transfers: Bologna have been quite low-lying in the transfer window. Their major signing was that of teenager Luis Binks from MLS, while their only first-team departure saw Ladislav Krejčí head to his home country, the Czech Republic.
Key Player: Musa Barrow – The Rossoblù‘s winter signing became an instant hit in the squad, appearing in 18 Serie A matches after he was signed and scoring nine goals and two assists in the process. Now, in his first full season at the club, the Gambian striker will look to lead the line and score as many goals as he can.
Cagliari ended the 2019/20 campaign in 14th spot – 10 points clear of the relegation zone. While they will be happy about their distance from the drop, they should now look to start aiming for a top-half finish. They had a strong squad capable of doing that last season, but they have lost a few key players now.
Transfers: In terms of arrivals, the only one of note for Cagliari is a loan deal for Ajax’s Răzvan Marin. The losses are plenty though, as the loans of Luca Pellegrini, Federico Mattiello, Radja Nainggolan and Robin Olsen have all expired.
Key Player: João Pedro – Luckily for Cagliari, last season’s top-scorer João Pedro hasn’t gone anywhere. He scored 18 goals and assisted four others in 36 appearances last time around. With all the departures, he will have to bear an even greater portion of the goal-scoring burden, so his performances will be key to Cagliari.
The Serie B runners-up return to the top-flight for their third campaign after debuting in 2016. Their main aim will be to avoid relegation as they did in 2016/17, and if they succeed the season will surely be considered a success.
Transfers: Crotone have mainly looked to strengthen their defence, bringing Lisandro Magallán in. Their main loss will be that of reliable midfielder Andrea Barberis, who moved to Monza on a free transfer.
Key Player: Simy – The Nigerian forward was a first-team fixture in the last season, and he scored 20 goals to become Serie B’s top-scorer. If he can get anywhere near that tally in the top-flight, his team will undoubtedly be quite happy.
The tumultuous history of Fiorentina took another turn at the start of the previous campaign when the club was sold to Rocco Commisso, and they looked to be in for yet another relegation battle when Vincenzo Montella was sacked, but Giuseppe Iachini steadied the ship and guided them to a top-half finish. This season, they should look to challenge for the Europa League spots at least.
Transfers: Fiorentina’s transfer window has been very quiet, with no major signings made and no first-team players sold. The only player that they will miss on the pitch is left-back Dalbert, who should be replaced by the returning Cristiano Biraghi.
Key Player: Erick Pulgar – While Federico Chiesa steals all the goal-scoring headlines, Erick Pulgar quietly goes about doing his equally important work in the middle of the park. The Chilean midfielder scored seven goals and assisted six others in last season’s Serie A, while averaging 2.2 key passes, 3.3 tackles and interceptions per match and a passing accuracy of 88%. More of the same will surely be welcome.
The Genoese club narrowly avoided relegation in the last campaign as they finished in the ever-precarious 17th spot. The oldest active Italian club will be keen to stay as far away from the drop zone as possible, and perhaps look towards the top half of the table.
Transfers: Genoa have completed a few deals in the summer. Their new signings include Paweł Jaroszyński, Peter Ankersen and Mattia Perin, while Cristian Romero has departed.
Key Player: Lasse Schöne – The Danish international was a key cog in Genoa’s midfield this season as he averaged 46.9 passes, 2.5 tackles and interceptions and 1.3 key passes per match while maintaining a passing accuracy of 88.3%. He also had a hand in five of his side goals. A similarly consistent campaign should go a long way in helping his side advance up the table.
Before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, almost everyone expected I Gialloblu to go straight down to the Serie B. They shocked everyone, however, finishing all the way up in 9th place. If they can match that result, everyone in Verona will be happy.
Transfers: Verona have made one or two good signings as well, including those of Adrien Tameze and Kevin Rüegg. They’ve lost some important players after their loans ended, most notably Sofyan Amrabat.
Key Player: Miguel Veloso – The 34 year-old Portuguese midfielder was crucial to Verona’s midfield, as he played a hand in seven goals throughout the previous campaign while screening the defence well. He averaged 1.5 tackles, 1.7 key passes and 46.6 passes per game last time around – numbers which he will try to maintain in the upcoming campaign too.
Last year’s runners-up Inter had a very strong and yet frustrating campaign. They only missed out on the Scudetto by a solitary point, while also losing in the final of the Europa League. They just need that final cutting edge, and hopefully they will find it in this season to end a 10-year long trophy-drought.
Transfers: Inter’s headline signing involved Achraf Hakimi and his move from Real Madrid, while Aleksander Kolarov was also recruited. Meanwhile, Radja Nainggolan has returned from a loan spell at Cagliari, and reportedly restored relations with the club and Antonio Conte, though his future still remains in doubt. The departures include Victor Moses and Cristiano Biraghi, whose respective loan spells have ended.
Key Player: Romelu Lukaku – The Belgian striker is the obvious pick here, as he scored 34 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions (equalling the great Ronaldo’s record for a debut season) last time around, including 23 in the Serie A. Similar scoring rates will be appreciated by his manager.
One team that is certainly not deprived of trophies is Juventus, as they sealed their ninth-consecutive Serie A title. It was a rather sloppy end to the season though, as they only lifted the Scudetto by a point while losing the Coppa Italia final and getting knocked out of the Champions League’s Round of 16 by Lyon. Maurizio Sarri was sacked and Andrea Pirlo was brought in, so let’s see what the midfield maestro can do as a head coach.
Transfers: The Arthur-Pjanić swap deal was sealed before the arrival of Pirlo, so the Italian manager’s first signing was that of Weston McKennie. Besides Pjanić, the notable farewells were for Blaise Matuidi and Simone Muratore.
Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo – When the Portuguese great is in your squad, it’s very difficult to overlook him when thinking about the key player. Last time around, he scored 31 goals and assisted five others – contributing to 47.3% of his side’s Serie A goals. Even at 35 years of age, he is operating at the highest level, and looks set to have another great campaign.
Lazio were the main title-challengers for most of the previous campaign, but in the end they fell short and slumped to 4th place thanks to goal difference. This time around, they will be keen to avoid a repeat of that, and mount a more sturdy title charge.
Transfers: Lazio have had a rather subdued transfer window, with the only notable arrivals being those of Pepe Reina and Vedat Muriqi, while they haven’t lost any first-team regulars.
Key Player: Ciro Immobile – Last season’s European Golden Boot winner boasts of a mountainous tally of 36 goals and nine more assists in the Serie A – playing a part in nearly 57% of his side’s goals. The 30 year-old was rewarded with a contract extension for his hard work, and will hope to celebrate it with another prolific goal-getting campaign.
The other giants from Milan had another lacklustre season as they just edged into the top six, largely thanks to a strong run of form post-lockdown. That patch of form led to the cancellation of their plans to hire Ralf Ragnick as manager, and Stefano Pioli’s contract was extended instead. He will now look to repay the club’s faith by re-entering the Champions League spots at the very least.
Transfers: Milan’s transfer window has been rather subdued too, with the only headline transfer being a loan deal for Real Madrid’s Brahim Díaz. The departures include Ricardo Rodríguez, Giacomo Bonaventure and Lucas Biglia.
Key Player: Theo Hernández – Milan’s French full-back was easily their most impressive player of last season, and his strong performances caught the eye of many top European clubs. He looks to be staying though, and wouldn’t mind bettering his tally of six goals and three assists along with an average of 3 tackles and interceptions, 1.7 dribbles and 1.3 key passes per match.
Napoli too had a mixed campaign last time around. Although they reached the Champions League knockouts and won the Coppa Italia, they finished outside the top six in the league and had a very inconsistent campaign (featuring a player mutiny for good measure). This time around, they should look to restore some order under Gennaro Gattuso and push for the higher spots of the league table.
Transfers: Napoli have only made one signing in the transfer window – that of Victor Osimhen from Lille. They lost a couple of established players too, however, including Allan and José Callejón.
Key Player: Lorenzo Insigne – Napoli’s club captain has been a loyal servant for many years, and last season was no different as he starred with eight goals and six assists from 37 appearances. He’ll look to keep his high average of 2.3 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per match up as he spearheads his side’s attack once again.
Parma had a decent campaign last time around, and only missed out on a top-10 finish because of an inferior goal difference. It’s a solid base to improve on though, and they will surely look to do just that in this campaign.
Transfers: Parma have not made any new additions to their squad, and they have also lost star players like Dejan Kulusevski, Ionut Radu and Andreas Cornelius whose loan spells ended.
Key Player: Juraj Kucka – Parma’s versatile midfielder was among their best players last season, as he scored six goals and set up three others while playing a key role in midfield. He also made 2.8 tackles and interceptions and one dribble per match, something he’s like to keep doing.
The Romans finished in fifth place last season, but had quite a gap to the top four. This time around, their key aim will be to close that down and perhaps try breaking into a Champions League spot.
Transfers: Roma’s star arrival was undoubtedly that of Chelsea star Pedro, while their only notable losses were those of Davide Zappacosta and Aleksander Kolarov. Apart from that, their first-team squad has remained largely consistent.
Key Player: Edin Džeko – Roma’s club captain and main man up front Edin Džeko was linked to some other Italian clubs in the summer, but he shut the rumours down and remained committed to Roma. His main target will be to equal or perhaps even better his tally of 16 goals and seven assists from last season’s Serie A.
Sampdoria finished in the lower reaches of the table last season, but were a comfortable seven points away from the drop. This time around, their primary objective should be to close the gap to the top-half of the table and focus more in that direction.
Transfers: Sampdoria added some strong players to their squad, including Mikkel Damsgaard, Erik Gerbi and Matteo Stoppa. Their departures’ list features Karol Linetty and Gianluca Caprari among others.
Key Player: Fabio Quagliarella – Even at the ripe old age of 37, Fabio Quagliarella managed to get a double-digit number in his goals column for last season. The statistic that he played 28 games and started all but two of those is also quite impressive, and it’s indicative of the fact that he’s still one of Sampdoria’s most crucial figures. Hopefully, he still has one more high-quality season in him.
Another strong team from last season was Sassuolo, who finished all the way up in eighth place. Although they were quite a few points off the top seven, they should be proud of the fact that they were the best-of-the-rest. Defending that crown should be the main aim for this season, and if they manage to do so, this should be considered an emphatic success.
Transfers: I Neroverdi‘s main signing was Kaan Ayhan, the centre-back who they bought from Fortuna Düsseldorf. They managed to hold on to most of their first-team squad, which should be a good sign for them.
Key Player: Domenico Berardi – Sassuolo’s star man last season was forward Domenico Berardi, who got into double digits for both goals and assists. In total, he was involved in 24 of his side’s goals – over a third. If he can keep those numbers up, Sassuolo are sure to have another solid campaign.
The last of the promoted sides are Spezia, who edged into the podium places in the Serie B table. This proved crucial in the play-offs, as the aggregate score of the final was 1-1 and Spezia were promoted courtesy of their higher league position. In their Serie A debut, their main objective will certainly be to simply stay up.
Transfers: Spezia’s marquee signing was that of Inter youngster Lorenzo Colombini. Their main losses, however, saw Tomasso Augello and Delano Burgzorg leave the club.
Key Player: Elio Capradossi – Spezia’s Uganda-born centre-back was key in their quest for promotion, as he appeared in 34 matches and helped the joint-second best defence of Serie B. He will face much tougher opposition in the top-flight, and his performances against such players will be crucial.
Torino were predicted to be involved in a relegation battle last time around, and that’s exactly what happened. They finished 16th in the table and just five points clear of the drop, and they will be quite happy to repeat the trick once again.
Transfers: La Granata have been quite proactive in the transfer window, signing recognised international players like Ricardo Rodríguez, Karol Linetty and Mërgim Vojvoda among others. Better yet, they have also managed to keep most of their primary starters, so they look set to push a bit further up the table.
Key Player: Andrea Belotti – Torino’s club captain was leading from the front once again, as he scored 16 goals and set up three others from 36 Serie A appearances. That was his fifth-consecutive Serie A campaign with a double-digit goal-return, and he’ll certainly want number six this time around.
Not many expected to see Udinese here at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, as they were tipped to get relegated. That was not to be, however, as they finished in a comfortable 13th place – 10 points clear of the drop zone. Now, they will be looking to build on that result, and perhaps even knock on the door to the top half of the table.
Transfers: I Friulani haven’t done too much in way of summer business, but notable additions include full-backs Nahuel Molina and Thomas Ouwejan. The best bit, though, is the fact that all first-team regulars have stayed with the club.
Key Player: Juan Musso – It’s rare to see a goalkeeper named as a side’s key player, but Juan Musso has certainly earned that. Last season, he kept 14 clean sheets as he played every single minute of the campaign – the most in the league. If he can repeat the trick this time around, his side will surely do very well once again.
Top Six: Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta, Lazio, Napoli, Roma
Relegated: Crotone, Genoa, Spezia