Team by team guide to the forthcoming Serie A season.
Coach: Andrea Mandorlini
Key arrivals: Albertini (Lazio), Rossini (Bologna)
Key departures: none
Prediction: Back in Serie A after a season down below,
the yo-yo club will as ever be concentrating solely on
guaranteeing survival. Coach Mandorlini is new to Serie A
but he can count on the
experience of midfielders Demetrio Albertini and Alex Pinardi, and strikers Gianni Commandini and Fausto Rossini.
Coach: Carlo Mazzone
Key arrivals: Zagorakis (AEK Athens), Giunti (Besiktas), Cipriani (Sampdoria)
Key departures: Signori (retired), Nakata (Fiorentina), Guglielminpietro (Boca Juniors)
Prediction: Coach Mazzone, 67, remains at the helm of a side strengthened by the arrival of Euro 2004-winning captain Theo Zagorakis but weakened by the retirement of striker Beppe Signori. Bologna can expect a better showing than last season, when Mazzone was controversially appointed just before the campaign began.
Coach: Gianni De Biasi
Key arrivals: Manninger (Bologna), Sculli (Chievo), Zambrella (Servette)
Key departures: Baggio (retired), Brighi (Juventus), Matuzalem (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Prediction: Is there life after Baggio? Striker Giuseppe Sculli and schemer Simone Del Nero, both Under-21 European
champions, and 18-year-old Fabrizio Zambrella will hope to fill the void left by the departure (retirement?) of the Little Prince.
Coach: Daniele Arrigoni
Key arrivals: Katergiannakis (Olympiakos)
Key departures: none
Prediction: Back in Serie A after four years, Cagliari received a mid-summer boost when Sardinia’s most famous footballing son, 38-year-old Gianfranco Zola, decided to delay his anticipated retirement. However, he and Serie A
debutant coach Arrigoni will have their work cut out to keep Cagliari away from the drop, since the squad looks weak.
Coach: Mario Beretta
Key arrivals: Brighi (Roma), Marazzina (Modena)
Key departures: Barzagli (Palermo), Perrotta (Roma), Sculli (Brescia), Santana (Palermo)
Prediction: The ‘Flying Donkeys’ finally came down to earth last season, and prospects do not look much better this year. Serie A debutant coach Beretta replaces Gigi Del Neri (Porto, briefly), the architect of the rise and rise of Chievo. International midfielder Simone Perrotta has gone to Roma in a deal that involved Matteo Brighi moving to Chievo.
Coach: Emiliano Mondonico
Key arrivals: Guigou (Siena), Nakata (Parma), Lupatelli (Roma), Maresca (Juventus), Portillo (Real Madrid, loan), Ujfalusi (Hamburg)
Key departures: none
Prediction: Following a marathon 48-match season
and a play-off with Perugia, Fiorentina are back in Serie A after just two seasons in the lower divisions – not bad for a club that collapsed in summer 2002. With experienced coach Mondonico in charge and a reinforced squad, they could challenge for a UEFA Cup place.
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Key arrivals: Coach Mancini (Lazio), Burdisso (Boca Juniors), Cambiasso (Real Madrid), Choutos (Olympiakos), Davids (Barcelona), Mihajlovic (Lazio), Veron (Chelsea, loan), Ze Maria (Perugia)
Key departures: Brechet
(Real Sociedad), Helveg (Norwich), Kallon (Monaco), Okan (Besiktas)
Prediction: Despite more than a decade of disappointment, Inter start out as ever with sky-high ambitions. All the more so following a summer in which the most significant of their many signings (is there no end to the Moratti millions?) may
be that of former Lazio coach Mancini. With Adriano, Fabio Cannavaro, Obafemi Martins, Alvaro Recoba, Dejan Stankovic and Christian Vieri still on their books, Inter, on paper at least, could field two teams far
superior to those of the majority of their Serie A rivals.
Coach: Fabio Capello
Key arrivals: Blasi (Parma, loan return), Emerson (Roma), Kapo (Auxerre), Zalayeta (Perugia, loan return), Zebina (Roma)
Key departures: Brighi (Roma)
Prediction: After a season of failure in Serie A and the Champions League, the Old Lady gave a clear indication of her competitive intentions when signing both coach Capello (to replace Marcello Lippi, now in charge of the national team) and Brazilian midfield general Emerson. More big names such as Czech Marek Jankulovski (Udinese) could be on the way. With such as Alessandro Del Piero, Pavel Nedved, David Trezeguet and Lilian Thuram having a post-Euro 2004
point to prove, Juventus are guaranteed to be in the fighting line right down to the finish. As seasonal objectives go, the Serie A title for once may be given higher priority than the Champions League.
Coach: Mimmo Caso
Key arrivals: Di Canio (Charlton), Pandev (Ancona), Manfredini (Perugia, loan return), Baggio (Ancona,
Key departures: Albertini (Atalanta), Corradi (Valencia), Favalli (Inter), Fiore (Valencia), Lopez (America, Mex, loan), Mihajlovic (Inter), Stam (Milan)
Prediction: Lazio’s new boss, industrialist Claudio Lotito,
says the club are in a state of “irreversible coma”, with debts of £215million and annual
losses of £100m. He should know, having spent £13m to take a 29 per cent shareholding in July. Not surprisingly, the club have had more departures (coach Roberto Mancini, Bernardo Corradi, Stefano Fiore, Jaap Stam) than arrivals, although Paolo Di Canio makes a welcome return from England. New coach Caso looks set for a tough time.
Coach: Zdenek Zeman
Key arrivals: Diamoutene (Perugia, loan)
Key departures: Bolano (Parma, loan return), Bovo (Roma), Chevanton (Monaco), Tonetto (Sampdoria)
Prediction: Zeman, the ex-Lazio and Roma coach, makes a welcome return to Serie A after a period in the lower divisions that may have had something to do with his 1998 accusations of widespread doping practices in Italian football. He will do well to repeat last season’s showing by Lecce, particularly after the departure of Uruguayan striker Ernesto Chevanton. Serie A survival will be a result.
Coach: Franco Colomba
Key arrivals: Amelia (Parma, loan), Grandoni (Modena), Vargas (Empoli), Vidigal (Napoli)
Key departures: Lucarelli (Torino, loan return)
Prediction: Having waited 55 years for a return to Serie A, Livorno and their fans will not be short of enthusiasm. New coach Colomba knows all about maximising Serie A debutant potential, having done well with Reggina previously, but even he will have to work overtime with a largely inexperienced squad led by 38-year-old striker Igor Protti. Serie A survival will be the seasonal objective.
Coach: Bartolo Mutti
Key arrivals: Baiocco (Reggina), Donati (Sampdoria, loan), Eleftheropoulos (Olympiakos), Iliev (Partizan Belgrade), Yanagisawa (Sampdoria, loan), Zampagna (Ternana)
Key departures: none
Prediction: Having been absent from Serie A for 20 years, Sicily surprisingly has two representatives this season – Palermo and Messina. On paper, Messina look much the weaker of the two. Back in the top flight after a 39-year lapse,
they will rely heavily on the experience of coach Mutti and striker Arturo Di Napoli.
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Key arrivals: Crespo (Chelsea, loan), Dhorasoo (Lyon), Stam (Lazio)
Key departures: Borriello (Reggina, loan), Laursen (Aston Villa), Roque Junior (Leverkusen)
Prediction: The reigning
champions have been relatively quiet in the transfer market but, given the strength of their
existing squad, that hardly
matters. Argentinian forward Hernan Crespo (Chelsea) and Dutch defender Jaap Stam (Lazio) have joined, but they are far from guaranteed a starting berth. Other important players could yet arrive before the Serie A season starts, but it’s likely that the Champions League will be priority No 1.
Coach: Francesco Guidolin
Key arrivals: Barone (Parma), Barzagli (Chievo), Farias (Estudiantes), Santana (Chievo, loan return), Zaccardo (Bologna)
Key departures: Andersson (Malmo), Maniero (Torino)
Prediction: Back in Serie A after a 31-year absence, Palermo set off with more lofty ambitions than mere survival in the top flight. The side that won promotion already had the look of Serie A quality about it. Coach Guidolin, the man behind Vicenza’s good showing in
both Europe and Serie A in the mid-1990s, can call on useful players such as strikers Luca Toni and Andrea Gasbarroni, and midfielders Eugenio Corini and Lamberto Zauli.
Coach: Silvio Baldini
Key arrivals: Bovo (Lecce, loan), Junior (Siena, loan return), Sicignano (Lecce,
loan return), Siviglia (Lecce,
Key departures: Amelia (Livorno, loan), Barone (Palermo), Blasi (Juventus,
loan return), Ferrari (Roma)
Prediction: Like Lazio, Parma have been hit by a mini-
exodus prompted by their
financial problems, with such as Marco Amelia, Simone Barone, Manuele Blasi and Matteo Ferrari moving on. At press time, however, they had yet to decide the fate of their Under-21 European champion, striker Alberto Gilardino, arguably the hottest property in the Italian market this summer. In the end, he (and others such as defender Daniele Bonera and goalkeeper Sebastien Frey) are almost
certain to move on (to Juventus or Roma), leaving new coach Baldini with a tough task in assembling a competitive UEFA Cup and Serie A side from a young squad.
Coach: Walter Mazzari
Key arrivals: Borriello (Milan, loan), Boudianski (Juventus, loan), Dionigi (Napoli), Esteves (Pacos Ferreira), Zamboni (Napoli)
Key departures: Cozza (Genoa), Di Michele (Udinese, loan return), Falsini (Parma,
loan return), Jiranek (Moscow Spartak)
Prediction: Reggina will
hope that their traditional blend of experienced journeymen and talented youngsters (‘parked’ by the big guns of Serie A) will once again be good enough
to save them from the drop. Debutant Serie A coach Mazzari will need all the help he can
get from such as Emiliano Bonazzoli, Giandomenico Mesto, Mozart and Shunsuke Nakamura.
Coach: Cesare Prandelli
Key arrivals: Cufre (Siena, loan return), Ferrari (Parma), Mexes (Auxerre), Perrotta (Chievo)
Key departures: Bovo
(Parma, loan), Emerson (Juventus), Lima (Lokomotiv Moscow), Samuel (Real Madrid), Zebina (Juventus)
Prediction: Even if Roma have lost two outstanding players in Argentinian defender Walter Samuel and Brazilian
midfielder Emerson, the club have managed to hold on to their two most valuable
players, standard bearer Francesco Totti and golden
boy Antonio Cassano. New coach Prandelli, who took
over from Juventus-bound
Fabio Capello, has already stamped himself as among
the very best in Italy,
following two excellent
seasons with Parma. With
some interesting new arrivals, Prandelli and Roma could
yet surprise their opponents
in both Serie A and the Champions League.
Coach: Walter Novellino
Key arrivals: Domizzi (Modena, loan return), Donadel (Parma, loan), Kutuzov (Avellino), Tonetto (Lecce)
Key departures: Conte (Messina, loan), Yanagisawa (Messina, loan)
Prediction: Sampdoria look very similar to the newly-
promoted side that did so well last season, going close to
winning a UEFA Cup place. Coach Novellino, strikers Francesco Flacchi and Fabio Bazzani, and midfield schemer Sergio Volpi should be good enough to ensure another
Coach: Gigi Simoni
Key arrivals: Falsini (Reggina, loan), Rasiak (Groclin), Zancope (Modena)
Key departures: Cufre
(Roma, loan return), Guigou (Fiorentina), Junior (Parma, loan return), Lazetic (Como, loan return), Ventola (Inter, loan return)
Prediction: Although club
officials and players are involved in the ongoing investigation into match-fixing, Siena hung on to their place in Serie A. But whatever the outcome of the judicial inquiries, the team will struggle to stay up for a second season given the departure of a number of experienced players. Coach Simoni, however, is
nothing if not an old dog for the hard road.
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
Key arrivals: Di Michele (Reggina, loan return)
Key departures: Jancker (Kaiserslautern)
Prediction: Udinese were
good value for their seventh-place finish last season, and with much the same squad in the hands of the same coach, Spalletti, they will again be competitive. They will certainly hope to do better in the UEFA Cup this season than last, when they went out in the first round to Salzburg.