Is there any way back for Serie A?

Whilst many leagues around the world have evolved and greatly changed, serie A is still dogged by the stillness which has seen the player’s union calling for nationwide strikes. But with a league that has allowed great Milan teams conquer the world, would it be fair to say Serie A is in complete disarray?

With the match fixing fiasco that obliterated the league’s reputation in 2006, Serie A has been fighting to prove it can produce healthy competition with clubs like Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina sent to the doldrums of Serie B. Such an incident in the league’s past brought back criticisms that Italian football belongs to corruption and ‘mobs’.

But it is not just incidents five years ago which have hindered the leagues progress. Fast forward 2011 and Udinese a top four occupant, were beaten by an Arsenal team whose problems were more transparent than Berlusconi’s handling of AC Milan. Such a loss highlighted the fading presence that Italian football has on the world stage.  Struggles on the European font were further heightened by both Milan clubs last season. With AC Milan failing to beat off Tottenham and Inter Milan’s drubbing to Schalke only mirrored Udinese’s lack of fight on the European stage.

The worrying sight of Samuel Eto going to Russia and Alexis Sanchez to Spain have added weight to the argument that Serie A is a feeder league.  The enforced sale of the latter player shows that not even a top four finish is enough to secure the buoyant future of players. Seeing targets such as Aguero opt for Man city rather than Juventus was a decision which surely raises doubts over the long term ambition of so called Serie A ‘Lynchpins’.

Quite recently however, the leagues ability to keep its best players has brought some light to an uncertain season in prospect. As with striker Diego Forlan on his way to the blue half of Milan another World class striker will be donning the famous jersey.  Inter fans will also be hoping that he can replicate his 96 goals in 196 appearances at the San Siro. With Wesley Sneijder staying the talismanic figure will be another key figure in the team once again.

Roma’s recent takeover and the instalment of Luis Enrique has at last ended the days of uncertainty at the club, with lavish signing’s such as Bojan and Osvaldo the club can move on from relying on out of puff striker Totti. So with a resurgent Roma, the team will thrive under the former Barcelona B coach.  Enrique will be seeking personal revenge against AC Milan in the coming season with memories of the infamous incident with Mauro Tasotti still burning strong.

Walter Mazzarri and his Napoli have proven with last season’s top three finish that the club will be more than a threat, most notably Edison Cavani aka ‘tronco’ will be hoping to continue his scoring prowess which was evident in the 3-2 win against Lazio last term. Whereas Hamsik is another player who the Naples based club have held onto amidst heavy interest from Arsenal etc.

Moreover the arrival of Massimiliano Allegri has signalled a new dawn for Italian football with the manager exerting his class with leading the Rossaneri to yet another scudetto. His ability to remain as strong vocally could be seen with his criticisms of Mourinho for being ‘pathetic’ and ‘insecure’.

In conclusion to the debate over Serie A, the league has been marred by political issues on and off the pitch with unions, club presidents alike all clashing. But for the league to remain an ever-present force, clubs around league must continue to keep their star players and show that Italian football can be known for more than just tactical and slow football or else the country will fail to move past the days of continuous mishap.

Nabeel Perwaiz

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