The 2020/21 edition of the Italian championship has its start scheduled, in a Serie A where Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, will pursue the unprecedented conquest of the 10th championship in a row.
WHO IS IN A POSITION TO PINCH JUVENTUS HEGEMONY?
Still, the “Vecchia Signora”, which debuts Andrea Pirlo as its head coach, may be under real threat from teams that promise to raise the level displayed in 19/20.
Last season, the team that was coached by Maurizio Sarri until the surprising fall in the Champions League Round of 16 (against Lyon) reached the 9th consecutive title, an unprecedented achievement and within reach of few in world top leagues.
The task of reaching the 10th consecutive title, which seems, according to the bookmakers forecasts (see below) to be the most likely scenario, may not be as simple to carry out as this.
The Turin team managed to keep its main stars (I am talking of course, of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala), but leading the platoon there is still a doubt, despite being a man perfectly identified with the ideals of the club and knowledgeable of the Italian reality.
Andrea Pirlo was chosen to replace Maurizio Sarri as head coach, for what will be the first adventure of the former Italian international, who walked a unique class on the top of world football for about two decades.
Inter, who after a lot of ran ink, kept the bet on Antonio Conte, so it will be perfectly possible that, in the second year ahead of the Milan team, the former Juve man may come to present a team more capable of having a cohesive and sequential performance until the final of Serie A.
Running on the outside, the names of Atalanta, Lazio, Napoli and AC Milan will emerge, with AS Roma at a slightly below level, in my opinion.
The football that Gian Piero Gasperini’s team has been consistently presenting for several seasons now may well catapult Atalanta’s formation to a higher level than the one displayed in 19/20. In order for that, it will be essential to maintain the consistency shown in the second half of the last edition of Serie A.
Lazio, Napoli and AC Milan also bet on the continuity of last season’s work, with Simone Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso and Stefano Pioli, respectively, at the helm of their teams, which could always be an asset to take into consideration in a long run of several months.
THE REFLECTION OF THE PANDEMIC IN THE ITALIAN MARKET
Although in Italy, football is not exactly given to “madness”, as has often happened in recent years in England, France or Spain, the truth is that at the time of the start of the 2020/21 Serie A, only three signings exceeded the mark of 30 million euros of investment.
At the top of the list are, separated by a “scarce” value, Arthur, a Brazilian middleman who exchanged Barcelona for Juventus for 72 million euros (with Miralem Pjanic doing the opposite route), and the Nigerian Victor Osimhen, who headed to Napoli for an incredible ammount of 70 million euros, from the French team of Lille.
Completing the top-3, is the Moroccan with Spanish nationality Achraf Hakimi, who spent the last season in Borussia Dortmund on loan from Real Madrid, who cashed in about 40 million euros for his sale to Inter Milan.
“POWER RANKING” OF THE 2020/21 SERIE A
What if we start this approach of the strongest teams from a market value perspective of their squads and the most valuable entourage turn out not to be the one from Juventus? That’s right.
Inter Milan tops the list of the most expensive teams in the 20/21 Serie A, with an overall value of 720.60 million euros, according to data collected in the reliable Transfermarkt.
The ‘Vecchia Signora’ appears just behind, with a squad worth around 662.40 million euros, with Napoli (valued at 591.08 million) completing the top-3.
Personally, I believe that the fight for the ‘Scudetto’ will still go on between Juventus and Inter, not least because I foresee difficulties for Lazio to show once again the high competitive level they showed during most of last season and also teams like Napoli and AC Milan do not seem to have the consistency needed for a 38 round marathon.
The fight for the remaining two top-4 positions will surely be between Napoli, Atalanta, AC Milan, Lazio and AS Roma, with good expectations for teams like Sassuolo, Torino and Fiorentina to overcome last season’s campaigns and get in the way of the run for the qualifying spots for the Europa League.
In the fight to avoid relegation, naturally the three newly promoted (Spezia, Crotone and Benevento) seem to have the theoretically most complicated task, although some Italian football historical badges, such as Genoa, Sampdoria, Udinese or Bologna need to keep a close eye on their conditions so they don’t stumble into the fall to Serie B.
Moreover, teams like Cagliari, Parma and Hellas Verona, which in 2019/20 achieved some very nice routes which allowed them to escape the “stress” of fighting to avoid the relegation in the final stages of the championship, point to quiet campaigns.
The great contenders by the bookmakers to interrupt the ‘Vecchia Signora’s’ hegemonic cycle is Inter Milan, with odds of 2.90 to raise the trophy, followed by Napoli and Atalanta on the same level (13.00) and also Lazio (16.00) and AC Milan (18.00).