Zlatan, Mourinho, Juve, Lukaku, Monza, Pogba : Les 8 questions que l'on se pose sur la reprise de Serie A

Zlatan, Mourinho, Juve, Lukaku, Monza, Pogba : Les 8 questions que l’on se pose sur la reprise de Serie A

Can AC Milan do it again?

It seems that winning is one thing, doing it again is another. Last season, the Rossoneri achieved a great performance by winning the 19th scudetto in their history under the nose and beard of Inter, the great rival. Hardly anyone would have bet on such an epilogue. And yet… With a clear project on and off the pitch, embodied to perfection by the duo composed of Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara, in addition to Stefano Pioli on the bench, Milan signed the biggest surprise of the last decade. But unlike the previous year, the Lombard club will be expected in the next one. New data for the youngest team (25.8 years) to have won the scudetto since 1994-95.

Serie A is back this weekend!

Credit: Eurosport

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On the transfer window, Charles De Ketelaere notably arrived for 35 million euros (bonus included), appearing as a response to reinforcements from the main rivals. Inter, for example, repatriated Romelu Lukaku or Henrikh Mkhitaryan but lost Ivan Perisic, Juve does not intend to stop at Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria or Gleison Bremer to compensate for the departures of Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt and Paulo Dybala , while Roma scares with the arrivals of Joya, precisely, Georginio Wijnaldum and Nemanja Matic. Enough to dethrone AC Milan, who lost Franck Kessié and Alessio Romagnoli? Underestimating the Lombard club would be another mistake.

During the summer, the band in Pioli, certainly not reinforced, impressed. Its performers know each other by heart, with perfectly worked, integrated and assimilated automatisms. The feeling of power released is great. And everyone now knows they are capable of winning. “You can sign the best players in the world, but if you don’t have the spirit, the desire and the organization, it’s useless. I’m not afraid of the competition, we are stronger than last season“, warned Stefano Pioli The Gazzetta dello Sport last week. Second in 2020-2021, first in 2021-2022, 195 pts since the end of the first confinement: Milan is a train launched at full speed which does not intend to stop.

Is this the last season of Zlatan?

We tend to answer “yes”. As always, you will tell us. And you would probably be right. But this time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could well make his final last stand on the lawns of Serie A. Operated on his knee at the end of the last exercise, the 40-year-old Swedish giant will not return until next January. Aware of his importance in the locker room, his managers agreed to extend his contract for a year on favorable terms. Probably for the last time. Returning in January 2020, Zlatan managed to fulfill his mission to bring AC Milan back to the top. Whatever happens, he can hang up his crampons with peace of mind at the end of the season.

Will Romelu Lukaku still make the difference?

Not exactly the best friend of the Swede, with whom he bickered on and off the pitch, “Big Rom” made a sensational return to Inter this summer. Who could have imagined that, just a year after leaving Chelsea? Probably nobody. Even less on the conditions obtained by the Nerazzurri. After selling it for 115 million euros, they managed to recover it on a paying loan (around 10 million). Unlikely. Under the orders of Antonio Conte, between 2019 and 2021, the Belgian martyred the defenses of Serie A (47 goals in 72 matches). He intends to do the same with Simone Inzaghi, even if the 3-5-2 is not really the same (higher block, more possession and less long play). Lukaku, devourer of spaces or follower of the game in discounts, will therefore have to adapt to Inter. And Inter relearn to play with Lukaku.

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In the meantime, he has already found some automatisms with his friend and friend Lautaro Martinez, with whom he forms the famous “Lu-La”. These two can still make the difference, but it’s a whole frame of play that Inzaghi will have to rethink. The results of the friendly matches, against some high-level opponents, confirmed this quest for a new identity. After a complicated year with Chelsea, Lukaku is hungry for revenge: “I want to win the scudetto, no matter the individual results“His team are obviously among the favourites.

Can Juve reclaim the title?

We strongly wish it to Massimiliano Allegri. Criticized by a good part of the tifosi since his return last year, in particular because of a non-existent game and a still vague identity, the Tuscan coach is under pressure, even more when we know the details of his concrete contract ( a salary of 7 million euros until 2025). Its leaders believe they have done the job on the transfer window. If Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt, Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala have left, Bremer, Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria have arrived. Filip Kostic too, and Memphis Depay could even land by the end of the summer. Not to mention the arrival of Dusan Vlahovic last January for 80 million euros.

The wage bill has fallen considerably (about 21 million). On paper, the Old Lady has had a makeover and can win back the scudetto. After a white season, a first for a decade, this is the goal, like every summer. She has to aim for it. But Allegri still has work to do, as evidenced by the last slap suffered against Atlético de Madrid (0-4) in a friendly.

Dybala, Matic, Wijnaldum: Does Mourinho have the pressure?

You couldn’t miss it. Presented on July 26 at the Palace of Italian Civilization in Rome, Paulo Dybala was welcomed by thousands of crazy people, giving rise to totally crazy images. What sums up the summer of the tifosi of Roma, already on a cloud since the victory of the Europa League Conference last May. The Argentina international’s unexpected arrival has definitely sent them to heaven. Today, Roma have a formidable attacking force with an exceptional quartet made up of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Paulo Dybala, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Tammy Abraham. The transfer of Georginio Wijnaldum has also generated overwhelming enthusiasm in the Eternal City, while Nemanja Matic has also returned to strengthen the midfield. For many, all these arrivals would have been impossible without a certain José Mourinho, already sent to the Pantheon with his victory of the C4.

Paulo Dybala received a royal welcome from AS Roma supporters

Credit: Getty Images

Untouchable in Rome, the Special One however has the pressure. Officially, the Roman club is aiming for qualification for the next edition of the Champions League. But given the transfer window and the enthusiasm of a whole people, many observers believe that the title is a possible objective. The Giallorossi have been dreaming about it for over twenty years now (2001). But in Rome, a “scudetto is equal to ten in Milan“, likes to recall Fabio Capello, the last coach capable of winning the precious sesame, aware of the complexity of the club and of a city that lives on its emotions. This summer, she will have experienced unforgettable ones.

Are Napoli already out of the race?

Just over 200 kilometers north of Rome, the atmosphere is quite different. In Naples, the mood of the tifosi is indeed very gloomy. At the start of the transfer window, the much-maligned president Aurelio De Laurentiis had warned that the time was up for savings and a drastic drop in the wage bill. It’s done after the departures of Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens or David Ospina, four holders of Luciano Spalletti. Fabian Ruiz should follow.

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In the arrivals department, Napoli have great faith in Georgian international Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, recruited for around 10 million euros. The South Korean Kim Min-Jae is brought to take the heavy succession of “KK” in defense. Not easy. Disappointed, the tifosi boycotted a subscription campaign launched late, with only 5,000 positive responses. “ADL” is criticized for a lack of ambition, programming and ideas. The season starts badly and the title seems difficult to envisage. A place in the top 4 would probably already be a small victory.

Should Monza dream of Europe?

Probably not. Or not yet, at least. For its first historic season in the top flight, Silvio Berlusconi’s club will have the mission of maintaining itself. But as always, the Cavaliere and Adriano Galliani, his historic right arm, saw things big on the transfer window. In the arrivals department, we note in particular names such as Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Marlon (Shakhtar), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Warren Bondo (Nancy) or Gianluca Caprari ( Hellas). Andrea Petagna (Napoli) and Pablo Mari (Arsenal) have also just arrived. The Lombard club also dreams of Mauro Icardi and will probably make a last attempt during the last days of the transfer window so dear to the “Condor Galliani”. Given the eleven on paper, Giovanni Stroppa, the coach of the Lombard club, will have no room for error. Maintenance is the bare minimum.

What to expect from French players?

In total, there are no less than 31 in Serie A. France is the most represented foreign country there, ahead of Brazil (25) and Poland (19). Who says “francesi” necessarily says AC Milan, where there are no less than 6 (a record). Having started in the second half of last season, Pierre Kalulu is now indisputable in the central defense of the Italian champion club. The former Lyonnais forms a shock duo with Fikayo Tomori and Didier Deschamps could find in him a versatile piece for the Blues by taking a look at his performances. Theo Hernandez, already in stunning shape, still seems to be on another planet.

Elected best goalkeeper in 2021-2022, Mike Maignan will have to confirm, he who should quickly inherit the succession of Hugo Lloris in the France team. Where Olivier Giroud hopes to return, especially in view of the World Cup in Qatar. Whoever has been decisive in almost all major matches for the scudetto (Inter, Napoli, Lazio, Sassuolo…) will try to do better than his 11 goals in 38 matches. And watch out for Yacine Adli, who could well be the surprise of the season on the Milan side after a more than successful summer.
After his decision not to have surgery so as not to miss the trip to Qatar, Paul Pogba will be expected at the turn at Juve. He will recover the keys to the midfield. Happy as a child to have returned “home”, the French environment could regain its luster. Provided that his physique follows. Just like Tiémoué Bakayoko in Milan, Adrien Rabiot is on the start in Turin. For his part, Adrien Tameze is already a taulier on the side of Hellas Verona, to the point that his name circulated in the big clubs this summer. Just like Maxime Lopez in Sassuolo, where the kid continues to shine. Jonathan Ikoné, landed at Fiorentina last January, will have to raise his performance. At 39, Franck Ribéry will try to lend a hand in the new maintenance mission of Salernitana, where Junior Sambia arrived this summer. Finally, let’s not forget Thomas Henry, who left Venice for Hellas Verona, Jean-Victor Makengo and Brandon Soppy at Udinese or the promising Janis Antiste (Spezia).

Olivier Giroud shows the scudetto during the friendly against Cologne

Credit: Getty Images

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