The start of the new Serie A season is almost upon us, with Italy’s top flight set to return to action this coming weekend. In a summer transfer window which has seen six of the previous campaign's top twenty performers (according to our own WhoScored.com ranking system) changing clubs, we decided to take a closer look at the top five transfers within the league. With Calcio once again besieged by scandal and criticism of its quality, it is interesting to note that these five players boast 28 trophy wins between them, ranging from World Cup triumphs to Copa Libertadores victories.
5. Rodrigo Palacio (Genoa to Inter) WhoScored Rating: 7.14
Something of a surprising capture by Inter, the Argentine forward ranked as the 27th best player in Serie A last term, narrowly beating out compatriot Diego Milito (WhoScored.com rating of 7.13) over the 2011-12 campaign. He will now be charged with forging a better partnership with the same player, attempting to do what neither Diego Forlan nor Giampaolo Pazzini could and link properly and effectively with Milito. Matching last term’s 19 goal, 5 assist haul would go someway to convincing Andrea Stramaccioni that Palacio and his ponytail are worthy of a regular starting spot. Palacio actually averaged 1.5 key passes per game at Genoa, making those five assists quite a poor return on the 49 scoring chances he created, but the increased quality of his team-mates at the Giuseppe Meazza may see a sharp increase in that tally.
4. Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese to Juventus) WhoScored Rating: 7.16
Consistently and effectively controlling games from the centre of midfield, the versatile Asamoah was linked with Manchester United and with very good reason. He may have netted just three goals – adding a meagre two assists – but the Ghanaian was one of the most dominant players in Serie A last term thanks to his intelligent positioning which saw him record 2.6 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game over his 31 appearances. He also made an average of 50.9 passes per game at a surprisingly high pass success rate of 82.5%, which should see him fit neatly into Antonio Conte’s possession based outfit. He will provide an incredibly high standard of back up to any of Juve’s superb midfield trio of Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, whenever the coach feels the need to rotate.
3. Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina to Milan) WhoScored Rating: 7.29
Fresh from perhaps his most impressive string of performances in national team colours, Azzurri midfielder Montolivo has finally made the free transfer switch touted heavily over the past six months and joined Milan. As the Rossoneri begin to rebuild a squad decimated by retirements and transfers, he has instantly become one of their most experienced players. Yet the ex-Viola captain arrives at San Siro following one of the poorest domestic campaigns of his career in which he managed four goals, two assists and completed 65.4 passes at a rate of 80.9%. His statistics compare favourably with Alberto Aquilani, the man he is charged with replacing in Massimiliano Allegri’s midfield.
2. Lucio (Inter to Juventus) WhoScored Rating: 7.32
Twelve months after capturing a multiple Scudetto and World Cup winner on a free transfer, Juventus Director General Beppe Marotta has repeated the feat. Last year it was Andrea Pirlo, the midfielder going on to become a vital member of Antonio Conte’s title winning side, and this time it’s former Inter lynchpin Lucio. With the Bianconeri returning to Champions League action for the first time in three seasons, the Brazilian will add much needed international experience to a defensive unit (comprised of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Martin Caceres, Leo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Paolo De Ceglie) who, combined, have played less Champions League ties than Lucio alone. Last season, despite Inter’s disastrous campaign, the 34 year old was up there with the best in Serie A in terms of interceptions (4.1 per game), clearances (9.9 per game) and tackles (3.3 per game).
1. Sebastian Giovinco (Parma to Juventus) WhoScored Rating: 7.51
After living in the shadow of Alessandro Del Piero since first emerging as a talented product of the hugely successful Juventus Youth Sector, Sebastian Giovinco now finds himself in prime position to replace the iconic former captain in the Bianconeri starting line-up. No longer an undersized and lightweight trequartista, the 25 year old has developed into an impressive and decisive second striker who recorded 22 goals and 15 assists in his 64 game stint at Parma. He also completed 2.5 key passes per game last season in what was undoubtedly a breakthrough campaign and will need to post similar tallies if he is to finally establish himself at Juventus.