What Serie A clubs Juventus, Roma, Inter, Milan and Napoli need to do


Since January, Juventus have played a 4-2-3-1 and will recruit accordingly. Signing wingers is now the priority, although Juventus' efforts to strengthen the midfield will continue regardless of the arrival of Rodrigo Bentancur from Boca Juniors. A lot of work was done on signing Corentin Tolisso but Juventus' interest has decreased in proportion with every increase Lyon have made to his asking price. Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Angel Di Maria (PSG) and Keita Balde (Lazio) have emerged as targets.

Juventus have already beaten the competition to Riccardo Orsolini, the star of Italy's under-20 side at the World Cup in South Korea having signed in January. The Bianconeri are preparing for the future elsewhere too. Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to join as Gigi Buffon enters the final year of his career. Juventus should also come to an arrangement with Sampdoria for striker Patrik Schick, who probably will be left where he is for another year just like Mattia Caldara will at Atalanta.

Despite signing a new deal this season, there is a sense that if a world-record offer were to come in for Leonardo Bonucci, Juventus and the player would be more open to it than a year ago. Juventus have signed Mehdi Benatia on a permanent basis from Bayern and believe Daniele Rugani is now ready to step into the breach. The best piece of business, though, could well be extending Max Allegri's contract until 2020, a season longer than expected.


Observing what moves Monchi makes in his first window as Roma's director of sport should be fascinating. Monchi shares the Midas-like profit-making ability of his predecessor Walter Sabatini, with the major difference being that he delivered silverware as well when held the same role at Sevilla. Unlike last season, Roma can count on guaranteed Champions League money, but the cost of missing out on the competition at the playoff round last August is still being felt.

Roma fans have grown used to one or two big sacrifices every summer. But if Mohamed Salah and/or Antonio Rudiger go, trust in Monchi. This looks like another summer of change at Roma. You wonder if the goalkeeper situation could have been handled better now that former loanee Szczesny looks Juventus-bound. Backup Alisson is highly regarded but watching the champions line up your own No. 1 as Buffon's heir gives plenty of pause for thought. Injuries left Roma short at full-back last season and Emerson Palmieri and Alessandro Florenzi are both in recovery after serious knee injuries.

Jim Pallotta says the midfield will remain "intact." Radja Nainggolan's priority is to follow in the footsteps of Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman and extend his contract. Roma need greater depth in this position. Nice's Jean Michael Seri is a target and Roma should buy back Lorenzo Pellegrini from Sassuolo. Manager in waiting Eusebio Di Francesco knows him and it wouldn't be a surprise if he recommended Domenico Berardi as a replacement for Salah too. Of course, the upcoming season will also be the first in 25 years without captain Francesco Totti. Roma can't ever replace him in their hearts, but they did already move on from him on the pitch last season. Capocannoniere Edin Dzeko just needs a backup.


How do you improve a team that lost fewer games than anybody and had the best goal difference in Serie A last season? It's a tricky one. Napoli already look primed to be Juventus' No. 1 contender in 2017-18. They have the most depth outside of Turin and won't start next season figuring out how to replace their best player. Dries Mertens has signed a new deal and, if anything, Napoli's problem will be keeping Arkadiusz Milik happy.

The risk of losing goalkeeper Pepe Reina seems real too, although the player says he is happy in Naples. Napoli were already scouting a long-term successor anyway. They also need more competition in the full-back positions, particularly if Faouzi Ghoulam leaves, but confidence is beginning to emanate about getting the Algeria international to renew. Jose Callejon has clocked up a lot of miles over the years and doesn't look like slowing down. A backup for him or someone who can offer something a little different on the right wouldn't go amiss.

AC Milan

It's only June but frankly it's already hard to foresee anybody having a better transfer window or improving themselves quite as much as Milan have by the time the market closes on Aug. 31. The shadow team put in place by Yonghong Li just weeks after he struck a preliminary agreement to buy the club last summer clearly did not wait for the takeover to be completed in March before getting to work. The swiftness and decisiveness of Milan's actions have been impressive and a pleasant surprise, especially considering the scepticism surrounding their new owner. Milan know what they want. There is no confusion. And they're clearly making up for lost time after doing little or nothing in the past three windows. Everything seems targeted.

Milan haven't bought players just because an agent pushed their client onto them. They've also out-manoeuvered the competition to some signings like Franck Kessie from Atalanta, structuring that transfer in a way that the cost is delayed until a time when Milan expect to be in the Champions League. Milan have got themselves a new centre-back (Mateo Musacchio), a left-back (Ricardo Rodriguez) and a box-to-box midfielder (Kessie). Deals are in place for a deep-lying playmaker (Lucas Biglia) and a winger (Keita Balde) and offers have been made for a right-back (Andrea Conti) and a striker (Andrea Belotti), which, if successful, will break the club transfer record.

Milan mean business and are clearly confident that UEFA will sign off on their business plan despite doubts in Nyon about Li and the club's earning projections in China, which seem overly optimistic. For now though it is all very encouraging. Serie A has four Champions League places next season and Milan are doing everything to ensure they don't miss out on Europe's top club competition again.

Inter Milan

The season just past was the sixth in a row Inter have finished outside the top three. It's the club's worst run since 1979 and the fans, who still turn out and make Inter's games the best attended in the league, deserve better. The existing squad is a mish-mash of players. What else would you expect after chopping and changing nine managers since the treble, four of which have come and gone in the last two and a half years. Confusion reigns.

Inter gave existing director of sport Piero Ausilio a new contract last month and then appointed Walter Sabatini to do the same job for the owner's umbrella sports company, which looks after their other club Jiangsu Suning ... and Inter. Irrespective of their ability, it's all so muddled. That said, Luciano Spalletti is an excellent appointment and the existing squad doesn't lack talent. It lacks character. No one has replaced Javier Zanetti, Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito in terms of charisma and leadership. When it comes to signing players this summer, Inter need to judge them first on the content of their character. Talent must come (a close) second.

Rather than promote Italy under-20 star, Federico Dimarco, Inter seem keen on Dalbert of Nice to upgrade the left-back spot. Spalletti would like to raid his old club Roma for Antonio Rudiger and find a new David Pizarro for Inter's midfield, which has already had €98m invested in it in the last two years. Personally, I'd like to see Spalletti give Stevan Jovetic another shot after a successful loan spell with Sevilla. Inter have financial fair play to reckon with before they can spend big. The way to get around it would either be to sell a big name (Ivan Perisic) or several smaller names.