Milan say team now fit to fight for Serie A title

31 August 2012 08:50

Seven-time European champions AC Milan believe their recent transfer signings have left coach Massimilano Allegri with a team equipped to win back the scudetto.

As the financial crisis continues to bite in a period of uncertainty for many clubs, few big international names were signed by Serie A's big clubs. Indeed most of the big names quit Italy altogether.

AC Milan shocked fans in the summer by selling Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, both to Paris Saint Germain.

Last week striker Antonio Cassano also moved, to city rivals Inter.

Fans of the Rossoneri will welcome the notable signings of Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong (Manchester City) and Spain forward Bojan Krkic (loan, Roma) for a fee of 250,000 euros.

After veterans like Filippo Inzaghi, Alessandro Nesta and Clarence Seedorf quit at the end of last season, Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani believes Allegri's side, runners-up last season to Juventus, is now title worthy.

"These new arrivals allow us to bolster what was already a strong team, and will allow us to push forward," said Galliani.

"Our coach can no longer hide from the fact that we now have a team that can aim for the title, and not just a place in the top three."

Fellow San Siro tenants Inter sold coveted Brazilian defender Maicon to Manchester City, but the Nerazzurri now have Cassano and also managed to retain Dutch winger Wesley Sneijder, who several big clubs had been scouting.

Inter also welcomed back Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, once tipped by former coach Rafael Benitez as "the future of Inter", who had been on loan at Espanyol.

Champions Juventus have been riled by off-field affairs with head coach Antonio Conte handed a 10-month ban by federation bosses after he failed to report suspicions of match-fixing at his former club Siena.

On the pitch, however, Juve had welcomed back World Cup-winning frontman Vincenzo Iaquinta from a short loan spell at Cesena, as well as re-signing Sebastian Giovinco for 11million euros from Parma.

Arguably their best bargain was Udinese pair, Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and Chilean midfielder Mauricio Isla, for a total of 18million euros. On Friday Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner became a Juve player on a one-year loan deal.

Fiorentina are not considered title challengers but many believe La Viola can keep their heads high in spite of Dimitar Berbatov's last-minute snub after they had reportedly agreed terms with the Manchester United striker.

Fiorentina have notably signed Italy playmaker Alberto Aquilani from AC Milan, Moroccan striker Mounir El Hamdaoui from Ajax and midfielder Giulio Migliaccio (on loan) from Palermo.

Despite repeated attempts by Juventus and Manchester City, the Florence side also retained 22-year-old Montenegrin starlet Stevan Jovetic who scored both goals in their opening day win last week.

And as the clock ticked towards the midnight deadline they announced one of the surprises of the final transfer day with the re-signing of one of Italy's most prolific strikers in Luca Toni.

"Fiorentina officially announces the outright purchase of Luca Toni. The striker, 35, returns to Florence after five years. having previously scored 49 goals in 71 appearances," a club statement said.

Roma saw a number of players come and go over the summer, but their biggest coup was fighting off Juventus and Inter to tie 21-year-old Siena striker Mattia Destro to a five-year deal for the princely sum of 12million euros.

Source: AFP