The Future of Serie A
Over the past few years, the glamour and spice of Serie A has gradually been deteriorating. The Italian top flight was the hub of European football just a few years ago, where players dreamt of playing. Teams that were flying top of the league, and competing in the Champions League have now found themselves falling to mid table. But the Italians have a strong hope of a comeback, with the youth that are coming through the ranks. These youngsters have been showing huge promise with their respective clubs and look to break through into the first team in the next few months. And with the Premier League having a history of importing talent from Italy, I have a look at which English club they would suit.
Brazilian born central midfielder Jorginho has represented Italy at the vast majority of youth ranks following his families migration during his childhood. Starting his career at Verona, he had two incredible seasons, playing a big part in their promotion before proving himself in Serie A. A number of the big clubs were interested at the end of this debut season in the top flight. Napoli won the chase and signed the 20-year-old at the beginning of the 2014/15 season. Since, he has broken into the first team and has impressed. Clearly, there is a huge potential in Jorginho and his excellent distribution and vision has seen him play an intricate part of the Napoli team. However, his weakness has been exploited this season, as at times he has been seen as physically weak, but we have certainly seen a glimpse of his future.
Premier League team: Manchester United. Jorginho would fit in well at Manchester United in the future, an Ander Herrera like player, he suits their style, formation and style of play. He would definitely add some spark from the central midfield areas for the Red Devils.
Again, 22-year-old Morata has broken into the Juventus first team this season. The Spanish striker joined from Real Madrid in the summer for a hefty fee of 20 Million Euro. The Spaniard has represented his country at all youth levels and has already made two first team appearances, and he already looks to be a player with a huge future both at club and international level. Standing at 6ft 3in, he’s a big presence in the box, and is incredibly dangerous in the air. After coming through the Real Madrid academy, he made 37 appearances for them and netting 10 times, before sealing a move to the Serie A leaders last summer. In his debut season so far, he has appeared in 17 games and has scored 5 goals, whcih has showed fans in Italy that he is up to the challenge, and has shown glimpses of his goalscoring ability.
Premier League team: Any. Morata has shown that he can fit in anywhere. It is pretty certain that this trend would continue in the Premier League, and that he would be a perfect snap for any Premier League team wanting a goalscorer.
20-year-old attacker Domenico Berardi has been spending the last two seasons on loan to his team of origin, Sassuolo, from Juventus. Berardi can play in pretty much any attacking position, and has been playing down the left, right and centre for Sassuolo. The Italian has also represented his country at U21, and has impressed when playing. He came through Sassuolo’s academy, before being bought by Juventus for 4.5 Million Euro. However, Juventus loaned him back to Sassuolo for two years, where he has impressed even further for them, scoring 21 goals in his stay. In his time he has shown that he can finish chances as well as create them and he also has built up a reputation of being a set piece specialist. However, he has been seen as quite weak on the ball, but this can be worked on. It is likely that he will join Juventus next year and play regularly for them.
Premier League team: Spurs. A Christian Eriksen like player, he would fit in well at Spurs, playing in their style. He looks like a Spurs type of player and in my opinion, would be a revelation in the Premier League.
20-year-old Kovacic has been a sensation at Inter, having already made 60 appearances for them. His form at club level alerted his international side, Croatia, and is also a regular in the Croatian national team, still at the tender age of 20. A central midfielder, who also plays as a holding midfielder, he has netted 4 times for Inter in his stay, after joining from Dynamo Zagreb. It was at Zagreb where his career started, and at a very early age, he was making appearances for their first team. However, in 2013 Inter Milan signed him and has really impressed. He has already been tipped for really big things in the game, and some even say that he has the potential to be the worlds next top player. Big Premier League clubs have been interested in him, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Premier League team: Manchester United. Having been linked with them for a move, he would also fit in to their system, much like Jorginho. A very astute dribbler and passer, he has the glamour to make the cut for Louis Van Gaal’s side.
Keita Balde Diao
19-year-old winger, Keita, has already broken into the first team at Lazio. The Spanish speedster started his career at the Barcelona academy, but after an incident in their youth ranks he was loaned to Cornella as a punishment when he was just 15 years old. Barcelona then refused to accept him back into their youth side, so Lazio pounced. In the last two seasons he has been extremely successful, playing in 35 games, and scoring 5. He has shown that already he has a lot to offer the Serie A side, so the best is yet to come with Keita. He is extremely pacey, and can get down the wing fast, but to really get to the top level he needs to improve his crossing. He usually plays as a left winger, as he can cut inside well, but at times he has been utilised as a right winger.
Premier League team: Arsenal. Rumours in the past have linked Arsene Wenger with a move for Keita, and it would make sense as his style of play fits Arsenal. His creative ability needs to be worked on but he has the potential to be a big star.
The 20-year-old French winger is an U21 Regular for the French and same with Keita, he can play on either wing. He has even been played as an out and out striker by Genoa. His dribbling and crossing skills are both very strong, and he can finish chances very well. He came through French side Caen’s academy, before joining Milan. Since, Milan have sent him on loan back to France at Montpellier, and most recently Genoa. Where in his second game he scored a brace to help in their 5-2 win over Verona. From 2012 he has also played in 30 games for AC Milan, but looks to have a huge future ahead of him. Under all the depression of Milan’s downfall, at least Niang provides a fresh spark.
Premier League Team: Southampton. He seems like a perfect Southampton player, he is fast, quick and can finish. Southampton are known to like a fast winger, and Niang can show this.
The 20-year-old centre-back has been on loan at Sampdoria from Roma and has represented Italy at U21 level. He has been at Roma for his whole youth career and played 13 games for them last season. However, this season he was shipped out on loan to Sampdoria where he has played a huge part in Sampdoria’s impressive first half of the season. His defensive work has been brilliant, and for a 20 year old, his composure has been extremely impressive. He has shown maturity in his defensive work and standing at 6ft 2 inches, he’s strong and is dangerous in the air.
Premier League Team: Manchester City. The defender would fit in well at City, as he is a centre-back made to star in their back four, which has been weak in the past few seasons.
Finally, 21 year old striker Mauro Icardi is probably the single best youngster in Serie A. Icardi was at Barcelona from 2008-2011 as a youth player, before joining Sampdoria in 2011. Here he broke into the first team at just 19 years old. He made 33 appearances and scored 11 goals in Serie A, where he was spotted and bought by Inter for a reported fee of 12 Million Euro. However, he did not disappoint at The Old Lady scoring 22 goals in 44 games. The Argentinian striker has already made an appearance for his country following representation at all youth levels. His finishing and pace have both been huge factors in his hype this year.
Premier League Team: Chelsea. Chelsea is a clear Premier League Team for Icardi, seeing as Chelsea have made clear interest in the last few months. However, they face tough competition from Manchester United, as the big guns battle it out for the wonderkid.