Since Antonio Conte’s return to Juventus, they have been a cut above the rest in the league, and have returned as a threat in Europe.
But since Juve’s re-emergence, the rest of Serie A’s teams seem to have gone a bit unnoticed, as Fiorentina, Napoli, AC Milan and Roma are the standout performers in the supporting cast.
Napoli currently sit in second, and gained a lot of neutral support with their non-stop attacking style in the Champions League this season, but since they failed to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition this season, they seem to have been forgotten about, and if they are mentioned, it’s usually to do with Edinson Cavani and his possible destinations.
Since their run in the Champions League, Napoli have grown as a team, and now have more defensive stability and also have strength in depth with the signings of Goran Pandev, Alessandro Gamberini and Valon Behrami, with Lorenzo Insigne also returning from a loan spell with Pescara.
Although they have a lot of positives, they still have one drawback, which is a brilliant, but ageing goalkeeper. Morgan De Sanctis is one of the finest shot-stoppers in Serie A, but at 36, he will only be around for one or two more seasons, and Napoli have yet to seek a replacement.
The signing of Mattia Perin would get them the best young goalkeeper in Serie A, and would solve this problem.
AC Milan are a club with a massive worldwide following and are also regulars in the Champions League knockout stages, but since the sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, they seem to have lost some of their spark.
But since they have turned to youth, they haven’t looked back. With Mattia De Sciglio, Mbaye Niang, Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, they have four of the best young players in the world, and with Riccardo Saponara’s arrival imminent, the future is bright for Milan, and as they have risen from 14th place to thirdrd, they have shown their potential.
This time last season, Fiorentina weren’t 100 per cent safe from relegation. This season, they are very close to a Champions League place, being Milan’s rivals for the coveted third place.
Vincenzo Montella proved that he is as good as a manager as he was as a player, guiding Catania to their highest ever Serie A finish in 2011/12. At Fiorentina, he has bought in many world-class players in the forms of Borja Valero, David Pizarro, Giuseppe Rossi, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Romulo, forming one of the best teams in Serie A, and one to watch in Europe next season.
Roma have had another typically disappointing season this term. It hasn’t been good for the capital club since the departures of Luciano Spalletti and Claudio Ranieri, but since the sacking of Zdenek Zeman, Spalletti’s assistant Aurelio Andreazzoli has taken over, and has seen Roma return to playing the way Romanisti like it: flowing attacking football.
With Francesco Totti still offering world-class performances, Daniele De Rossi being the most adaptable player in the world, mixed with the signings of Miralem Pjanic, Pablo Osvaldo, Marquinhos and Federico Balzaretti, Roma have one of the best squads in Italy.
Although all of the teams mentioned have points to prove the viability of the title of the second best in Serie A, with all factors considered, it is AC Milan.
The Rossoneri have an appeal similar to that of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and with a little injection of cash, they could be on top of the world again.
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